How craigslist graffiti artists are making my (new!) house a home

By  | May 20, 2015 |  Comments | Filed under: Design

Fun news! In a turn of events too odd and yet too banal to describe, we are getting out of our lease and into a house we’re buying. Bye, other people’s mortgages!

Anyway, we happen to be buying said house from a set of tiny people with giant hearts. They built the place half a lifetime ago and spilled all over themselves to offer us coffee during the inspection. I love them! They warned us of the Christmas traffic on this street, then pointed out the quirks with the stovetop. Also, very seriously, they offered to sell us the giant tapestry hanging on a prominent wall at the top of the stairs. “You’ll need it!” they said. Because it was big. A big, giant, old skool tapestry is the focal point of the house and we needed that tapestry  – something big – so people weren’t welcomed by a sea of blank wall space. A gallery wouldn’t do – too far away. It has to be one, continuous canvas the size of that wall. They were right. But a tapestry?

Maybe I could paint it. Maybe I could spray paint it. Yes! Maybe I could give a little edge to that old tapestry with graffiti and a few cigarette burns. Put a little sex in it, you know? Of course the owners would probably want thousands of dollars for their special family heirloom and that seemed like a lot of money for something I was about to set on fire.

Old boy was right, though. If I bought the house, I would need something mammoth to go in that space – something that said, “HI! YOU ARE HERE NOW!” that was benign enough to not get sick of, yet interesting enough to look at every day. I looked online. I saw things I could afford and they were ugly. I saw great things, but they were, like, four thousand dollars.

Idea! I could build a canvas and hammer this out on my own! Yes! I remember how to stretch a canvas from high school art class. Thank you, Mrs. Doolan, for both having thee most amazing mermaid perm and for teaching me to use a staple gun on sail cloth. Of course, I’m not a real artist, so even though I can make an 8-foot by 3-foot canvas, that doesn’t mean I can apply paint to it and pull off “ironic urban edge”. Wanting to be a dentist doesn’t make you a dentist either. I realized my vision outpaced my ability, and basically, I was about to make something that looked really dumm.

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Hard core, dude.


My usual answer to life is craigslist. Thus, I wrote an ad calling for an artist to fill up my giant, handmade canvas and by extension, my home. The pay was small, but it included pizza. I swore I was not a cop. I just needed some graffiti done and they’d have to come to me. Oh, and the art had to include “love”. Yeah. I’m hard. Dear street graffiti people, please drive to my boring neighborhood, work for pizza and scrawl something cheesy. Love, a midwestern soccer mom. Hey, if one concept is going to dominate my home, it better be humanity’s best emotion.

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Gonna dress you up in my love!

You wouldn’t think it, but good God, how the responses poured in. I’m not kidding. I’m still getting them. How could I pick just one of these outstanding talents who sent me their instagrams, tumblrs, candids, websites and well-wishes? Who knew L.A. craigslisters would be the charming, polite, literary street artists of my dreams?? I was, like, drunk on pouring over their work. There is some seriously unsung talent here. Every time you go to a basketball game, there’s just randomly LMFAO doing the halftime. Sorry, but I’m from the Midwest, where we get popcorn during intermission. Wut?

Anyway, the problem was I only had one canvas. Or did I? Maybe I suddenly hated every canvas in my home* and it was time to revamp this whole place! On Dasher, on Dancer! On Donner, on Vixen! I was in a swirl of love over all the artists willing to work with me and so I ran with it. I would fill this place up to the brim with spray painted comic book characters and giant sad clowns with dangling tongues. MY HOME WOULD BECOME A GALLERY OF THE AGES.

I chose several of the best and nicest artists, gave them my address, handed them a canvas to rework and now I wait for the results.

Somebody. Rock back and forth with me while I wait.

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Stay tuned to see what Susanna Boney does to this sweatshop canvas churned out by a mass retailer.

*Except ones I commissioned off Etsy – those are gold. Don’t you mess with my Etsy artists.

Agree? Or punch me in the face?