I began making papier-maché houses last year. They are not just papier-maché; the main structure is made from sturdy recycled cardboard and then covered with papier-maché to add texture and reinforce the shape a little. Since houses are the main subject matter of my paintings, it just seemed natural that they would also be the first thing I would want to make in 3D.
This leads to the question, why houses?
When I first began painting seriously I was a bit tentative about it. Even though I’d been drawing and painting since childhood and had already put in years of practice, I still felt like a beginner. Needless to say, painting people was out of the question, the forms and depiction of movement seemed far too ambitious at the time.
There was never a conscious decision on my part to paint houses, it just came about naturally. Perhaps because they are one of the first things you paint as a child?
People often like to know about your paintings, about what they mean and why you painted such and such in a particular way. At first I didn’t give this much thought; things just sort of poured out of me. However, more and more people began to ask me this question and so I began to take a closer look and the only explanation I can give is this: I painted houses (and still do) because I was a little uncomfortable painting people and so I think the houses in my paintings are representations of people. The position of the house in the painting is important; the houses’ relationships to one another, their size and even colour are all significant in the meaning behind the paintings.
And so, the papier-maché houses I’ve begun working on lately, are I suppose, also representations of people.
The houses are far from perfect: they vary in size and shape and have ill-fitting fixtures; they are covered in scratches and some have holes and yet, in spite of all these things they are all beautiful in their own way.