At The House Of Dreams
A number forty bus took me from Aldgate to the House of Dreams and it only took half an hour to arrive at the front door. Once across the threshold, an alternative cosmos of colour and eye-popping surreal fantasy awaits, transporting you far from the London rain.
Perhaps one of the happiest people I have met, Stephen Wright delights to share the strange but joyous world of his personal subconscious, peopled with a universe of outlandish celestial beings – all made tangible within the interior of a modest Victorian terrace.
For this ever-growing endeavour is no random installation, but an endearingly intimate diary of Stephen’s emotional and spiritual life in sculptural form – as he was eager to explain when I dropped by last week.
“There is no plan – it’s just evolving, like life itself! My house is like a baby that needs constant feeding. It says, ‘Mama, I need more food!’ and I say, ‘Oh, give me a break.’
It began as a response to a series of programmes by Jarvis Cocker about ‘Outsider Art.’ When I saw those, I thought, ‘I’ve found my family, I’ve found where I fit in.’ So I visited a lot of Outsider Artists in France, they were mostly elderly, and then I began work on my House of Dreams in 1999/2000.
At first it was purely decorative, but then it became a response to the death of my partner Donald, and when – two years into it – both my parents died, I found that difficult to deal with. So my work changed and it became a way of grieving and dealing with loss – because I didn’t have a family this became my way of life. I want to leave something behind. Since then I met Michael, ten years ago, and he’s been very supportive. It’s important to have someone on your side.
I’m from the North and I found it difficult to put down roots in London, so I live in this safe house behind a high wall with a gate where I feel free to be me. All the objects in my house carry a meaning or memory for me and many are from places I consider sacred, like Cornwall, Paris, Barcelona, Madrid & Amsterdam.
The design has a South American style because I’m in touch with spirits from a former life when I was a grave digger in Oaxaca. I’ve been to Mexico to visit the place where I was born.
I’m always amazed that anybody wants to come to my House of Dreams but I love it. People come round all the time to visit and I’ve made a living out of being me. I get up and I’m me. I’m me everyday!”
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