Trailer Tales is a project that I started with funding from the Orange County Arts Council. The goal of the project was to collect photographs and oral history from trailer parks in the county to understand the place of trailer/mobile homes in the spectrum of affordable living options.
The fact is that trailers, like apartments and houses, range from up-market to dilapidated. Trailer owners (and renters) range from diligent to indifferent. However the dominant feeling in many of the parks and individual trailers was pride in HOME. Even where the exterior was plain, the interiors were inviting and, often, surprisingly well provided with good appliances, furniture, family memorabilia and photos. Outside people were growing all sorts of plants around the skirt of the trailer – a favorite being the mini-gardens emerging from the hitches at the front of the trailer.
Looking for a way to show what I had learned, I got the idea of using the metal printing to make a Photo Sculpture. I started with a traditional 2-d ideas of photographs as walls, but found that too flat. I began to mix it up, pasting prints on metal of the doors or windows on different kinds of siding. Then I found a friend who helped me create a skirt for the trailer that is a collage of trailer-side photos baked onto ceramic tiles. I put the whole thing together around a frame made from sticks to keep it solid but give it a touch of vulnerability to weather.
Each side of the trailer represents a different “level” of trailer living. The front side (02) celebrates the careful trailer homes, with decorations for the holidays bordered between trailer side and skirt by rows of neatly presented homes. The back side (03) shows the other side of things, the raggedy doors and windows held together with duct tape, the skirts used as backdrops for old junk and dying plants. They are both HOME, but show that even in the affordable world, what a family can afford is not a narrow range.