Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Home Project!

A couple of months ago I had a dream in which a friend gifted me some prints. I thought the prints quite beautiful and interesting. Both prints seemed abstract, but on closer inspection I realised they weren't. In the first print, overlapping layers of translucent colour were actually house forms, where each house was a different colour. In the second print, I realised the Rorschach-type blob was actually the same as the first print, except instead of translucent colourful houses, each house was printed opaquely monotone, such that only the outline was identical to the first print. I decided I should do these prints and made a sketch.

In thinking about the new project, I also thought the houses should have personal meaning for me and decided that I would research all the places that I have lived. I have lived in 19 different houses during my life, in Ireland and in Canada, for both short periods (1 month) and long (18 years). With the help of Google maps/streetview I began the research sketches of my homes. The house I lived in for the firt 2 years of my life was in "Cabbagetown" (so named because it was a huge area for Irish immigrants) in Toronto. Despite only being a baby and small toddler in this house, I have a surprising number of memories associated with it. Most significantly is the colour of the door: red.

My family, still remaining in "Cabbagetown", moved to a different house. The house with the green door. My siblings went to the school across the road from this house and "Walter's" was the cornershop up the street. Riverdale Zoo was only a block away, as was a cemetery and a playground park. Again, even though I was very young and only lived there for two years, I have very strong, specific memories associated with this house. While my siblings were at school one day, my Mum was watching a "parade" of some sort on tv. Suddenly I realised she was upset and crying. I was three years old. John F Kennedy was shot.

We moved to The Beach (now called The Beaches) in the east end of Toronto in 1964. I grew up in this house, spending the next 18 years there. I moved out for good the year before my parents fulfilled their constant wish - to retire early and return to Ireland.

I still have two more homes to sketch out of the nineteen, but I wanted to have an idea about colour and translucency. Using tissue paper I sketched the houses and started cutting them out (I have always loved cut-outs!).

 After cutting out the houses, the project started to develop legs. I no longer thought of it as solely a print project, but could imagine other media as well.

Starting at the beginning:
The House with the Red Door, oilstick & graphite on wood, 23.5 cm x 15.5 cm.

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