We got to spend an afternoon with the amazing Stephen Wright, the creator of House of Dreams. Wright, whose portfolio includes collaborations with brands like Liberty, Harrods and Selfridges but also showcasing his works in Japan and US, has started his "life project" in 1998 after seeing a series of programmes on television about outsider art. Every surface inside and outside his house has been covered with found objects, (like false teeth, old disabled dolls, bottle tops and wigs) but also pieces of his trips to different parts of the world like India and Mexico. Now featured in Time Out's must see in London and part of the National Trust, House of Dreams is a piece of London you cannot miss!
"We get visitors from all over the world" he says. "I love it, sometimes we have queues outside the house and we have people working here too in the summer. My partner and I would go around the house and explain what's happening to this baby. This house is my baby" he continues.
How did you come up with the idea of House of Dreams?
The House of Dreams came about after watching a Channel 4 series in 1998. Jarvis Cocker was doing a series called....'Journeys to the Outside' about Outsider artists and the environments that they had made in their homes and gardens. I thought that it was so moving, and felt that I wanted to create an environment of my own. Reflecting myself and life. I began the house with Donald, my partner at the time. But life got in the way, and this is reflected in the House of Dreams.
Is there a reason why you decided to have different rooms with different names? The rooms tell me what they are called really. The whole project is organic and has it's own energy. I try and direct it! What inspires you the most?
Outsider Art has been a big influence over the past few years. I am not an outsider artist myself, as I went to university for almost 8 years, but feel very much like an outsider. Outsider Art enables me to loosen up and create a world that has no rules and restrictions. House of Dreams has received a lot of press coverage in the past few months. Where you expecting this success?
I make the House of Dreams for myself, so that is my main focus. Anything else that comes along is a bonus. I have never sought any publicity, it just seems to have happened that way!
Can you describe the House of Dreams in 3 words? Challenging, Honest and colourful. Your portfolio is very wide: from sculptures to paintings to a lot of collaborations with different brands. What has been the highlight so far?
The highlights? All of the projects so far have been interesting and challenging. Each one has their plusses and minuses! I like the variety of work for mental stimulation.
How do you select what to use to decorate the House of Dreams? My selection process is purely instinctive. If the object speaks to me, then that alone is the reason why it has to be included in the environment. I need everything within my house/museum to be here for a reason. As I think I said......it is not here just to fill a space, it is here because I love, its' energy has something special.
Where do you see this project in 10 years? Good question! Well I see myself continuing with the House of Dreams for as long as I can. For the rest of my life. Therefore I would presume that there will be more rooms that are completed and there will be sculptures in the garden, which will hopefully be extensive, and many in number.
How do you keep the house well maintained and cleaned? I maintain and clean the house myself. This results in a whole days cleaning, tidying up and mopping before an open day. Life is too short to do this more that that. The occasional cobweb and bit of dust just add to the atmosphere of the place. That's what I tell myself anyway!
You mentioned traveling is one of your passions. Where would you like to go next and why?
Travelling is one of my passions, although it will be curtailed this year for some time I fear. I would love to visit Costa Rica or Argentina next. They are both at the top of my list.
Have you got any advices for young artists who want to get out and be heard and seen? Advise for young artists. Learn to know yourself and who you are. Stick to what you want to do, be strong, energetic, go on a journey of self discovery through your work, develop a thick skin to carry with what you want to do, regardless of what anybody thinks......keep pushing on. It's a wonderful life!
To book tickets head over to
http://www.stephenwrightartist.com/ (bookings available from August only)