You gotta fight for your right to be arty


It might be hard to tell from the size of the photo – but this is a massively detailed mosaic covering most of the back of a terraced house in Chiswick, London.  It knocks you with a left punch in the eye each time you walk past.  It stands like a sassy siren against the beige brickwork that falls as far as the eye can see to the left and right, proud against the grey sky above and the grey road below.

The blue woman’s speech bubble says ‘You gotta fight for your right to be arty’.


I love that it is confrontational, but joyful at the same time.  It is beautiful and radical.  She is saying, ‘Honey, you can paint the back of your house any colour you like – I dare you’

With houses too often being little more than investments to be traded and upgraded – It is becoming nearly impossible to detect personality or character.  Check out interiors photos on any real estate website.  You’ll see bland white living rooms, mass produced art, sad furniture pinned against the walls. Maybe a cushion with a ‘pop’ of colour in it – if you’re lucky

But what would happen if we decided to live in our houses as if we inhabit them fully.  Let’s decorate them like burrows, or dolls houses! put holes in the walls for art, install high shelves for knick knacks, let the kids draw on their bedroom doors. The worst that can happen is that you paint over it.  The worst that can happen is that you feel at home, and know that no other home looks like yours, because it’s yours!  Which sounds pretty ideal actually…

Of course I have fallen into the sad position of thinking – hmmm should probably paint it in a ‘neutral’ to appease the greatest possible range of future buyers (not that we’re planning on selling any time soon – but still, these imaginary buyers get to weigh in).

Then I would cry bitter tears as another coat of ‘rice cake’ rolled onto the wall.  Aggressively Inoffensive… Lets the light in…..makes the room seem bigger….. yawn.

Let’s all loosen up a bit shall we?  I promise the art police won’t come knocking and tell you to rein it in.

Start by souping up the letterbox with something kitsch.  Then we’ll talk.


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