Today, in an effort to become the next Up and Coming Place, cities replace their old Mom & Pop establishments with chain stores and trendy overpriced restaurants. It is almost hard to tell one place from another anymore. So that is what this painting is about. The text on the artwork reads: The city I knew discarded its old clothes and dressed itself in the newest ill-fitting fashions
So here is the finished work. Thank you all for your comments on the last post of this as it was in progress. I decided on a horizontal format and it is currently hanging on a dowel which I have come to realize is a quick answer to hanging most artwork that is not framed. An earlier version of this piece can be seen by clicking here.
There are a few things I would like to talk about. On the detailed image below, I want to bring attention to the house on the bottom row in the middle. My goal with this house was to try to get a very old world structure with a fountain out front. This may seem a bit of a stretch on a row house but many people take great pride in making their small row homes seem grand by mimicking old world style architectural features. I am not making fun of this, I find it very charming. This can also apply to the house in the upper right with the two large planters flanking the door and the several houses throughout the installation piece with the faux stone fronts. More traditional for row homes are bicycles out front as in the house in the upper left, fire escapes (see Detail 2, upper right) and small trees, climbing vines and lawn ornaments (flamingos). You get the idea. Though row homes, like town homes, are traditionally attached, that was where I took some artistic license with this. My hope is that the closeness and the quirky nature of each home speaks to the culture of row house living.
Early in the winter of 2018, I set out to make 60 small houses to fit in a particular box. I did not know what the end product would be like but I set a goal to finish them before April of this year and here they are. Now they are not “complete, complete” yet, it is still a work in progress, meaning, the houses still have to be strung together and I have not yet decided whether that will be a more vertical format or a more horizontal format. And this is a poor photograph to top it all off. (John if you are reading this, I will eventually get that camera!) In any case, I had decided originally that the piece would be called suburban sprawl but the more I worked on it, the more they reminded me of the urban row homes I lived in most of my life so felt that the use of the word suburban seemed wrong. I am still going to make a piece called suburban sprawl but it will be different from this. I plan to complete this piece very soon and will post the final project then. You can read the original post related to this entry here.
Diane was born in Philadelphia, PA and currently resides in North Carolina.
Home for me is a connection to my physical surroundings which not only encompasses visual stimuli but smells, sounds, etc. But since we are dealing with images for this project, I will talk about visual stimuli. My favorite story about how sensory stimuli live deep in our subconscious was when a student asked me what all those “funny cross things” were in my artwork. The student was not familiar with TV antennae. From riding the El (elevated train) on a daily basis with a rooftop view of the world, these shapes etched themselves deep in my subconscious and made regular appearances in my artwork along with street lights, hanging laundry, church steeples, fire escapes and row houses. Then my landscape changed. My new landscape is a strange mix of rural, suburban, and small towns. The air and the light in the sky are different. My new landscape has left its mark on me enough to say it is familiar enough to feel somewhat comfortable and will be added to the images my subconscious has stock piled. So my house that I completed shows the landscape I have known most of my life faded out in the background and replaced by the new.
Diane is the curator of the Cookie Cutter House Project, has enjoyed a long and varied career in the visual arts, and currently works on a vegetable farm in North Carolina. She plans to start printing again in the near future.
Amy Danford was born in Cleveland, Ohio and currently resides in Havertown, Pennsylvania
When I think of the word “home”, I am unable to pinpoint one location or thing. Home has been the Midwest, New York City, New Jersey, and now Pennsylvania. However, home doesn’t necessarily mean a brick and mortar building to me. It’s both physical and emotional – the world I live in, the cities I’ve lived, my body, community, and so much more. Home has sometimes meant living amongst millions of people or living quietly and on my own. At times, it has felt chaotic, confusing or unknown. Mostly, home has helped me understand my place in this world, where I explore and feel inspired, and where I rest my head at night. Home is being at peace, which leaves me feeling whole.
About Amy: I took my first art class at the Toledo Museum of Art in 1980. I was five years old and remember thinking what a wonderful, safe place the museum was. I think I knew then I would someday work in museums. For the past 18 years, I have worked as an art therapist and museum educator in New York City, Cincinnati and now Philadelphia…dabbling in my own art whenever possible. I’m inspired every day by my students, my husband and two boys (ages 11 and 7), and the world around me.
Nancy Barch was born in Philadelphia, PA and currently lives in Delaware County, PA
The smell of wet sidewalks after a summer rain, roofing tar, playing under the water of a fireplug, walking to the library and the movies, playing hopscotch and red rover in the street, these are all memories of growing up in the city.
I was born and raised in a rowhome, you may know it as a townhouse depending upon your age, there were forty to a street, twenty on each side. I would wake up in the morning to see William Penn atop City Hall from my bedroom window everyday. I dressed and walked to public school with my friends. It was a comforting routine. Good citizenship was mandatory and everyone knew everyone else on your street, so you always behaved (until you got out of sight.)
Then, as you got older, you ‘hung out’ at the hoagie shop, went to dances and out for pizza. You many even walk to the drug store for a milkshake with friends after school. Yep, that was home to me then and, to my mind, it still is. You can see Nancy’s website here.
I live in the downtown core of a busy city in a neighbourhood filled with apartment buildings. During the day, I only see lines and grids and blank windows – people and their homes are shrouded in anonymity. But at night, through lighted windows, I can sometimes see the warmth of family life and community around me. Although many of us spend our days in the noise and bustle of the city, we have the pleasure of coming home, which to me, is a place of serenity and light.
About Diana: I started drawing to quiet my mind a couple of years ago and found that I liked it. I share some of my explorations with drawing and painting on my blog: https://asmuchcake.com/
Although I knew this all along, my friend Claudia defines herself as a life long resident of suburbia. The profoundness of this did not strike me until I read the statement on the back cover of her latest collection of poems. How could I have been so blind as to the meaning of this? The majority of Claudia’s art, both written and often her visual art as well, are somehow intertwined with suburban living.
On the other hand, I have pretty much always been a city dweller. Maybe that is why Claudia’s world as a suburbanite was not apparent to me. I have also realized that not only do the landscapes of suburban, city, and rural residents differ but the way in which people behave also vary greatly. I can think of countless examples of behavioral differences but will spare the readers such details and bring up one that very recently came to my attention.
Last week I received a book from my friend Nellie. The book is titled A Firefighter’s Journal: Thirty-Seven Years on the Firegrounds and in the Firehouses of Philadelphia. My father was a Philadelphia Fireman. One of the things that the author, Robert John Marchisello talks about is how, as a child, he recalls making the sign of the cross whenever he heard a fire siren. It occurred to me, after reading this, that I, too, often find myself making the sign of the cross when I see an emergency vehicle. I never thought why I did this or even thought much about it at all until reading this book. It occurred to me that this is not only a behavior of city people, but a very specific sub-set of city people: Roman Catholics. Possibly only Roman Catholics of Italian descent (that I will need to check).
What types of things and behaviors characterize where you live?