Cookie Cutter House Project Summary

The Neighborhood 72
The Neighborhood, 2019

I began the Cookie Cutter House Project early in 2018.  Though I have long been obsessed with the image of houses and buildings in my work, the act of relocating added another aspect to my thoughts on the topic of housing and community.  I started to make paintings and artist books on the topic.  I also wrote several blog posts on topics related to housing and local culture. Then it dawned on me that it might be fun and useful to learn what other people consider to be the idea of Home

I invited many art enthusiasts to participate in an on-line exhibition. Each participant was sent a set of identical house shapes measuring approximately 9″ x 6″. Using at least one of those house shapes, the artist depicted her/his idea of What Is Home and wrote a few lines about their thoughts on the topic. Each participant’s entry was then featured on this blog.  All together, 18 artists from different parts of the US and Canada participated.  Links to the individual artist’s posts are below.

In addition to the on-line exhibition, here are links to some of the current work I created for this project. I will add more as they are available.

Here are a few blogposts related to the overall theme of this project, including very early work featuring houses and buildings.

 

The Local Landscape

When I moved to the south, I left behind what is known as Trash Can Snowstorms.  Now some of you reading this know exactly what I am talking about but for those of you who do not, an explanation is needed. A trash can snowstorm is when you shovel out your car and then reserve your spot with your trash cans (lawn chairs are also acceptable).  Is it illegal?  Yes.  Is it enforced? No.  Do you dare move someone’s trash cans and take the spot? Not if you value your life and your car.

trash can snow - pittsburgh post -gazette
Trash Can Snow

This is what I would call a trait of the cultural landscape; something you only see in particular geographic locations.  I now have access to a whole new group of cultural landscape imagery.  The first one I noticed here is the School Rock.  I do not know if this is a southern thing or a North Carolina thing  but it seems that all schools have a giant rock out front that is continuously painted with the name of some student highlighting something about that person:  a birthday, a sporting victory, etc.   Fortunately, my friend Erin’s son, Cooper,  just had a birthday and they photographed the rock they painted so you can see what I mean.  As you can guess, Cooper likes baseball.

unnamed
School Rock, Lincoln County, NC

I am going to continue to look for new cultural landscape images but want to share a favorite one from my past life:  the sneakers on the electrical wire.  Are there cultural landscape signs where you live?  What are they?

sneakers on wire
Sneakers on Wire, Phila., PA

 

Thoughts on McMansions and Suburbia

CCHP Logo
Hello!

When going through an old sketch book, I came across some notes from March of 2000. The notes basically talk about an experience I had in a printmaking studio on one day when, strangely, nobody else was using the press.  I had made two small etching plates of these goofy looking houses.   The reason I made the goofy looking houses was because this is around the time that McMansions were being built at a record pace.  These houses always looked so strange to me because they were over sized homes on way too small lots.  Nothing like the big beautiful stately mansions you see with lovely grounds and mature trees that can be seen on the Philadelphia Main Line and other areas of the country.

March 2000 journal
Sketchbook Notes from March, 2000

So with the press all to myself, I embarked on a frantic pace of inking and printing these etching plates on pieces of very tiny paper.  The irony of this mad printing session was how I was banging out these etchings  as quickly as developers seemed to be building them and the very small pieces of paper sort of mimicked the very small lots on which these houses were being built.  I no longer have the plates, or any of the prints that came from this session as they were very poor quality (and I also have to wonder about the quality of those homes!)

Suburbia the future
Back of Sketchbook Notes from March, 2000

 

Anyway, the other part of this story is how suburbs have become more than just bedroom communities.  As more people moved out of the city, companies soon followed as well as recreational activities and shopping.  It seems that the suburbs became more crowded than the cities.  The above sketch was my interpretation of where the suburbs were headed.