COLLAGE KIT: SWELLS AND CREAKS

27th January 2021

by Tressa Thomas

I live in a drafty, overpriced, charismatic apartment in Historic Filipinotown in Los Angeles. The building was built in 1920 and in many ways it has remained unchanged since then. It is a modest, two-story structure composed of four white, featureless exterior walls. The hallways are like tunnels, sticky with use and bare. The units themselves are a patchwork of original features and newer additions: art deco, hexagonal patterning in the bathroom, 60s checkered kitchen tiling, and a classic 80s popcorn ceiling that sheds the occasional white crumb.

 

Since I live alone - with the exception of my devious cat - quarantine feels especially isolating. In the absence of an in-person social life, I spend hours upon hours watching my apartment breathe. The living room ceiling swells and creaks under the weight of my upstairs neighbor’s laborious steps. The afternoon sun flickers through the west-facing windows, making shadows dance across the walls like marionettes. The pink window shades ignite and warm pink beams of sunlight reach across the kitchen. The bathtub is sunken into the floor and a mighty trail of ants guards its perimeter. The closet is vaulted into the ceiling, all the faucets leak, and whenever an ice cream truck comes by you can see the single-pane windows rattle in tune.

 

This collage kit showcases the textures, shadows, and architectural features of this apartment I adore - a watchful, comforting presence in an otherwise challenging year. I hope it prompts you to think about your own space and your own deeply unique relationship with it. Send your creations to hello@nearnessproject.com.

Download the first page of Tressa's collage kit here

A fun background options here

And one more here

Tressa Thomas is a visual artist based in Los Angeles. You can find more of her work on Instagram @tressa_tee

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