Coming March 1, Find Art by Alysia Kaplan! Find Art is a complete kit for all urban kids (or kids who love cities) on the search for street art and design in their cities. The kit will include a field notes notebook, poster that can be cut into 4x4 cards that show great street art in cities, and a blank wall for your child to create his/her own street art. The kit will be $10.95 on our web site and is available for pre-order now.
Here in Chicago, our houses are old. They have provided shelter for many generations of people and as a home owner I know that my home will live on past me and my family. I remember as a child reading The Little House by Virgina Lee Burton, which painted a picture of a house that was loved and cared for and it always made me happy to think of this smiling little house. As an adult, I bought this book for my children and after re-reading it I found that the story is all about how awful it is to live in the city and that the part about "the house being loved" was only a small detail of the larger message.
Being a very proud city dweller, I wanted to hide the book from my children so they wouldn't ever think that living in the city was in fact the dirty, loud, busy world painted by Burton. I resisted the urge and the book has become one of my son's favorites. Now that I have read it over more than 20 times, I am telling the story to my children as a house that was so loved that when it was found neglected by a far removed generation of family member, it was protected and cared for again. This version of the message is the one that I want them to remember as we slowly restore our "old" house.
This story in many ways has influenced me and my work. For quite some time I have been wanting to document all of the houses in my neighborhood. I think I want to do this, to isolate and study each home and reveal how details of time illustrate the home as a character. I realize that I could easily go onto google maps and with street view see every house, but as I zoom past them I see them as representative of a whole. Whether it be a whole street, or whole city, all of the houses start to blur, but each of them is different and unique. I am going to start to post the images of this series which will inform my upcoming doll houses project. My goal is to represent all of the different types of houses we as city dwellers live in and allow our little family members to replicate them for themselves and come to understand this profound love, that I think Burton was talking about.