Pete Scully Sketches His Surroundings

Chancellor Gary S. May sits in recording studio, video chatting with Pete Scully
Campus staffer Pete Scully is known for his sketches of landmarks around UC Davis and beyond. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

The next guest on Chancellor Gary S. May’s talk show can often be spotted around campus, having “conversations” with the scenery.

Purple graphic with text "Face to Face with Chancellor May"

Pete Scully, manager of the Department of Statistics, may be better known for what he does over his lunch breaks and time off: sketches, especially of buildings and landscapes on campus and around Davis.

He joined Face to Face With Chancellor May to discuss his process for creating art, why he sketches, what he does with his full sketchbooks and more.

Scully said he started drawing as soon as he was old enough to hold a pen, but really picked up the habit when he moved from his native London to Davis.

I'm 5,000 miles away from home, and in a way, drawing was a way to kind of observe my new city, but also to show people back home,” he told the chancellor. “Here in Davis, I mean, it's perfect sketching weather.

He’s hosted regular gatherings of fellow sketchers and filled numerous sketchbooks with detailed recreations of everything from fire hydrants to new buildings on campus, and in 2016 the UC Davis Design Museum held an exhibition of his work called “Conversations with the City.”

It doesn't really matter whether it's good or bad,” he said. “The whole point of it is to observe what you're seeing, and that way you have a relationship with what you're seeing. And that's why I call it a conversation with the city.”

Watch the full video above to learn more about Scully and his favorite sketches and locations, and hear about May’s favorite artists.

Media Resources

Cody Kitaura is a News and Media Relations Specialist in the Office of Strategic Communications, and can be reached by email or at 530-752-1932.

Primary Category

Secondary Categories

Dateline Society, Arts & Culture Student Life