Friday, September 27, 2013

Adam Wallacavage's Wonderland

A friend recently turned me on to the work of Philadelphia artist Adam Wallacavage. With a BFA in Photography from the University of the Arts, Wallacavage ultimately branched out into plasterwork, becoming globally recognized for his ornamental octopus chandeliers.

Like a lot of artists, his work extends well beyond his most popular and public. Apartment Therapy toured his South Broad Street home and found a world as easily described as a waking dream. A work of art impossible to entirely absorb.

Apartment Therapy

With its taxidermied fish heads, Victorian chachkies, and Key West colors, his living room might as well be a Steampunk Trapper Keeper painted by Lisa Frank.

"Now we know who's buying everything on eBay." -Will & Grace

Each room in Wallacavage's home is a display window for the best of Craigslist's Curb Alerts.

And I mean all of that as the utmost compliment. 

It's not easy to bridge the gap between kitsch and art. Raised amongst the clutter of flea market shopping sprees, I have a soft spot for nostalgia and shelves of knick knacks that each hold a story, even the ones I make up. Online auctions have allowed me to amass my own collection of nonsense, or as much as a 19th Century Trinity can hold.

My friends say my house looks like that of a 23 year old hipster. A girl. 

Mind you I'm a 37 year old man. I've mastered kitsch, but could only dream of turning my basement finds into the architectural Rabbit Hole that Wallacavage offers his guests.

He's given me the motivation to buy that jackalope I've always wanted, and his house has proven that there's nothing wrong with a seven foot tall hall tree in my very small bedroom.

Thank you, Adam.

Surprisingly Wallacavage is a self described minimalist. Well, he's genius enough to call himself whatever he wants, but I wouldn't consider a totem pole in the Pennsylvania, Minimalism.

With its unorthodox color pallet juxtaposed against gaudy Victorian furniture his home looks like the site of a Katy Perry photo shoot. Would you be surprised to know that it is?

Like a Tim Burton dreamscape, although a little more alive, this unassuming Broad Street Brownstone could be the set of the forgotten Beetlejuice footage of Otho's own Manhattan penthouse.

"You're lucky the yuppies are still buying condos, Charles, so you can afford what I'm going to have to do to this place."

I might be one of the few people who actually liked the Deetz's house after Otho brought Delia's vision to life (or death).

Something tells me Wallacavage might have used the Maitland's Manchurian Tung Oil to finish an 18th Century curio in which to display some of Delia's "dangerous" sculptures, or his own.

Like this with an octopus chandelier and a red velvet chaise lounge from a Tenderloin burlesque house. Okay, so nothing like this.

Wallacavage hasn't gone the way of Isaiah Zagar and opened his workspace to the public, yet. His home remains a home, a place of inspiration for his own personal work. One can only imagine the unused corners of this house, the stacks of inspiration not yet incorporated into his living architecture.

Have you ever seen a Donald Roller Wilson painting up close? That might be what you'd find in his attic.

The Man Has Left the Moon Tonight - Donald Roller Wilson
Or maybe a miniature replica of Winter River, CT. Okay, no more Beetlejuice references, I promise!

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