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Dream House

Dream House is a largely autobiographical installation project about combat exposure PTSD, specifically from the perspective of my father’s life, and my experiences with him that were deeply creatively influential, but also consisted of generational trauma.


My dad lived with undiagnosed PTSD until the age of 79. For most of his adult life he had a cubby tucked away somewhere in whatever house we lived in where he spent time creating exquisite hand drafted architectural drawings with a set of drafting tools he'd had since jr. high. The drawings were all on some form of scrap paper, old xeroxes, the backs of outdated calendar pages, anything lying around. Many times the houses he drew were wildly imaginative mansions for our family, or remodels of the track house we once owned, outfitted with amenities and beautiful spaces visioned and gorgeously crafted for each of us. This was one of several dream worlds my dad created to cope with his PTSD. Some were highly creative, others could be addictive in nature. Years ago he and my mother had to move from a house they rented for 20 years into a small apartment. Dad rolled up the stack of his drawings, stuck them in a tube and one day the USPS dropped them on my doorstep. They are odes to the American Dream that he believed in, but that was ever elusive in great part because of the PTSD he, and our family, endured. 

Dream House has been exhibited in multiple locations in site specific installations regionally and nationally, but the most valuable experience of the project was the opening reception of the first installation at Monarch Gallery in Seattle that my dad was able to attend. Watching his amazement and surprise as the art gallery goers marveled at the beauty and intrigue of his drawings was profoundly honoring. My dad now lives with me and this year, 2024, he turns 96 the day after the 4th of July. Besides his marriage to my mom and being a father, his 18 months of combat in the Korean War is to this day the most defining experience of his life and identity. The impact is immeasurable. 


The Dream House project also included a workshop with the Vet Art Project. Participants created dream collages on 3d paper pillows, and written compositions. The pillows were showcased at a public event where participants also read their written pieces to a live audience. 

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