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'Home on the Run' by Artist Brian Chippendale

Updated on October 22, 2012

The piece is entitled Home on the Run, created by the artist Brian Chippendale. It is a three-dimensional piece made of screen printed paper maché on a wood frame, with the use of various mixed media inside. It has the appearance and structure of a slightly larger-than-child-sized playhouse, but only slightly. It has a sloped roof that peaks at about eight feet or so and a welcoming hole in the front serving as the entrance. The entrance is big enough for me to walk through without touching the sides, but I would not call it large. The rear side has a smaller version of this entrance which resembled a dog door. There is a relatively large, rectangular, grated window on the left side, and a significantly smaller diamond shaped window (or opening) on both the left and right sides. The outside of the house is painted with a collection of blotched yellows, pinks, and reds, but had the appearance of a bright orangey color when viewed from a distance.

The inside contains a similar color scheme of warm colors created not with paints, but an expansive collection of newspaper, magazine, and other media clippings. These were plastered to the wall in an almost haphazard-looking manner, but it was evident that a great deal of thought had gone into the selection and placement of each and every piece. All sides and corners of the inside were coated with these images, creating a visual bombardment of information and color. Though the overwhelming amount of stimulus did make the inside feel a little bit small, the room was still spacious enough for me and two friends to fit and move around comfortably. The ceilings felt high but the floor space was only around 12 or 14ft². Immediately inside on the left were four shelves lined with children’s toys arranged in what was to me a somewhat strange manner. They included a botched Mr. Potato Head, a baby doll with too many legs, and angry looking Spongebob, action figures, toy fish, and a few other odds and ends. There was a single lamp in the shape of the character Spongebob which offered enough light of a dandelion-yellow hue to light up the entirety of the inside.

Upon closer inspection the once comfortable and inviting tone of the room turned a little bit foreboding and grim, even a little bit angry. The clippings on the walls consisted largely of crude jokes and cartoons targeting President George W. Bush and other political figures involved with the war. Chippendale has a quite clear sense of severe disapproval of the activities surrounding the war. Scattered in between the anti-war proclamations were various seemingly unrelated images and clippings including hybrid animals, unknown faces, houses, numbers, mushrooms, simple patterns, children’s cartoons, newspaper comics, and even a reference to Rhode Island School of Design itself (the place it was displayed). Even after realizing the tone of the work, it never ceased to me to be a place of immense creativity and exploration. This is why I chose this piece. Absolutely every part of the room was coated in the artist’s ideas and beliefs and was created with such care and purpose. This purpose still remains partially unclear, but that draws me to it all the more. Through hours of careful observation I can say with confidence that I still have not seen all parts of this piece of artwork. Its intricacies are nearly infinite and just turning around inside opens up an entirely different part of the artist’s mind. To me, it does not feel like a place of escape, because it was not relaxing or mentally settling, but a place of expression and tension relief. Chippendale put a vast assortment of emotion into the design and creation of this piece and I can feel every bit of that the more I involve myself with the piece. The small description (which was not next to the piece, interestingly enough) stated that Chippendale had created this in response to the threat of being evicted from his studio, which explains much of the negative energy that was given off from his art. I do think that this is one of the best ways he could channel that energy, creating a positive experience for the viewer while still expressing his views strongly. Though I am not sure where Chippendale intended the piece to be displayed, I felt as if the positioning did it justice (at least as much as it could in a museum setting). It was centered in a large room devoted to contemporary art. It was in fact the only piece that was on the floor, all of the other art was attached to the walls. There was a small card in front of the entrance encouraging people to enter the miniature house. It gave off a pleasant aura when walked by, but if a viewer were to enter the house, something so much more intimate than just interesting colors would become revealed to them.


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