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At The House Of Dreams

June 13, 2016
by the gentle author

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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16 Responses leave one →
  1. June 13, 2016

    What a mind-blowing experience to visit the house of dreams – so much to see. It really reminds me of dreams. Great project! Valerie

  2. Susan Levinson permalink
    June 13, 2016

    We visited Stephen’s house nine months ago and it was quite a fascinating and wonderful experience! Also; in addition to the extraordinary visuals, it was really great meeting Stephen and Michael. I’ve long been fascinated with outsider art/etc. and we’ve visited several amazing places in the U.S., but we’ll never forget Stephen’s house. (Btw; I’d read about Stephen’s house in an American magazine and that wasn’t long before our most recent visit to London, so we were very fortunate that Stephen was having one of his periodic Open Houses [there's a very reasonable admission fee] on one of the few days we were in town).

  3. June 13, 2016

    Wondrous!
    And a really nice garden too.
    I love the Christmas bauble balls :)

  4. June 13, 2016

    Hello Stephen; I like your style and way of life, you can escape this high tech world and be comfortable in your dream house and garden, surrounded by colour. Have lots of dream-time with visits to your memory smile and be happy – by the way you can never have too many friends. One day soon you will have to call a halt to your colourful expansionism. Your grieving will go on for ever, you are brave and have learned to live with it moving on now. Stephen stay in the dreamy clouds its nicer there. John writer and poet.

  5. Ms Marple permalink
    June 13, 2016

    i am in awe.

    Mx

  6. Serena Wilson permalink
    June 13, 2016

    Serendipity or synchronicity – what a lovely thing to read today. I walked past Stephen’s house on Saturday in an area that I don’t know at all and had not previously visited. I was intrigued by the outside and am overjoyed to see the inside courtesy of the Gentle Author. What a wonderful place. Thank you. S

  7. Rebekah Bristow permalink
    June 13, 2016

    Magnificent!

  8. June 13, 2016

    Wonderful – may I visit?

  9. Fitzrovia Flaneur permalink
    June 13, 2016

    Wow! As if Niki de St Phalle and Antoni Gaudi had setup house together.

  10. June 13, 2016

    Glorious… and so unexpected. Spitalfields Life – a creation that never fails to intrigue.

  11. Shawdian permalink
    June 13, 2016

    Over the many years of receiving the magnificent “Gentle Author” postings, this has to be the most fascinating and the strangest. I am so pleased for Stephen to have found a Passion as an outlet for his grief for a passion is so Special and is a Privilege to behold. (My Passion Is G B Shaw, he has brought me so much joy and a future for over 22 years) The Dream House is exploding with colour and intrigue, like a huge puzzle, so much to see and explore. Out of sadness has come Stephens beauty and respite. Although the dolls are not my cup of tea, I think it is marvellous when someone actually lives “True to themselves” you are living. As I do not live on the mainland I cannot visit the house, but Stephens website is the next best thing.

  12. Sandra Gibson permalink
    June 13, 2016

    Meticulous love. Perfectly combines image, colour and word.

  13. June 14, 2016

    I’ve followed this artists work for a long time now, wonderful, I always love someone who doesn’t do minimal.

  14. Annie S permalink
    June 14, 2016

    Wow!!!
    Absolutely wonderful – so quirky and original – I love places like that!
    Would love to have a look around sometime.

  15. June 14, 2016

    I can understand why Stephen is so happy. Hopefully I will dream about this house tonight.

  16. Sarah Sutherland permalink
    June 15, 2016

    Wow! Almost speechless – amazing! Absolutely love it. Would love to visit one day.

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