Before I get into why I made this piece I will give my definition of a McMansion. A McMansion is an excessively large home on a lot that is way too small and contains an over abundance of architectural features that often compete with one another. I do not know anyone who lives in this type of housing but there seems to be a great deal of it being built in “up and coming” areas; therefore, I am bound to meet someone sooner or later who lives in one and piss them off if they ever read this.
Though I have long been aware of the McMansion (see this early post), it was not until I lived in a suburban area where there is a serious shortage of affordable housing and I could witness first hand the destruction of important habitat, that the McMansion really made a serious impact on my thinking. So the McMansion became a scapegoat as my way of raising concern on the issues of over development and the shortage of affordable housing.
I choose the format and the medium very deliberately. First and foremost is the house shape, something I use often in my work. But the look of the house could not be the standard few windows and door that I often depict. The features had to be exaggerated so I made several sketches based on things I had seen. Then there was the number of houses, which I decided to be 25 for no reason except it seems like enough to create the “sprawling” I felt was necessary to convey the loss of land (and I knew I could reasonably make 25 houses without pulling my hair out). I connected the houses to emphasize the lack of a suitable plot of land for such a large house.
Lastly, I choose to use blind embossing to emphasize the absence of any personal
ornamentation, interesting garden or yard features. Ironically, blind embossing is often a medium I equate with elegance and simplicity but it seems to work more in this case within the context of banality. A blind embossing is made with a cardboard plate. Paper is places on top of the plate and hand scored along the relief shapes. It is an underused medium and I do intend to write up a bit more about the medium itself in the very near future.
So I “feature”, or more accurately poke fun at, the McMansion as my newest piece relating to home, housing, and community.