|We’re knocking on doors and taking a look around peoples’ homes to see where your neighbours relax, hang out with their pets, and create! It’s an invitation to snoop, but we’re staying away from their medicine cabinets. Photos: @art3fact|
Our Host: Thomas Anfield
Who’s that? Painter and performance artist living in Vancouver
Beverage Offered: red wine
Thomas Anfield knows that every home ( and piece of art) has a vibe. The artist’s home’s vibe has been developing and changing over the 25 years he’s lived and worked in it.
It’s an old-timer (1910) near Fraser and King Ed, where all the hills crest. Despite its age and the terrain, his home seems to be made of right angles and sturdy workmanship. None of the numerous renos done the house over the past 102 and years have “taken”. It’s the original wood, lathe and plaster that remain.
It’s warm and colourful with a grandeur that isn’t showy. The wooden banisters are well-worn and the floors gleam from heavy use, not from waxing. It’s a bit drafty (what old old house isn’t?) but Thomas is a warm and inviting host, offering us wine and great company. His approach is to just live in his home.
“In Vancouver, your equity is going to grow, so unless we were going to do a real overhaul, insulate and do the whole thing, it was better just to live in it, and raise our kids and just make sure that it’s a funky place to live. It’s always been very artistic here.”
The home was bought as a place to live, but also as a place to work. Thomas and his wife approach their house with an “art comes first” attitude, so whether Thomas is creating a huge mural alongside the staircase, or turning the master bedroom into his studio, Thomas’ home supports his worklife. It’s usually the other way around, but it makes sense when you consider what his work.
“Well, most of my time is just art work. Other than that I play a lot of music with friends — do some recording. We’re kind of dinner partyish people.”
The house feels like it’s made for entertaining. Art pieces from friends make easy conversation starters. The living room has a flirtatious feel with knick knacks carefully curated by Thomas’ wife Melo, who is a vintage clothing picker and creator. The dining room provides an open space to dance, with a sizable table against one wall. Up the stairs are three bedrooms, one of which acts as his studio.
“Unless you can afford beautiful polished steel and glass, then you have texture, so I prefer more texture and bit more funky. Let it rot, let it break, let it chip. It’s beautiful. People love it. Any textured old walls….this wall here for example has 17 different types of wall paper on it.”
He knows this because he’s counted them. His studio is the room in the house that gets the most light and perhaps has the most visible history. It’s also the room where you are most likely to experience pareidolia (that phenomenon where you think you see images or scenes in clouds or pieces of toast) which is something that Thomas has explored in his work.
Thomas says the art he creates gives off a certain vibration that affects the feel of the house. It’s big, it’s friendly and it’s fun. It’s a lot like him.