Wall to wall, friends and all. And yeah, my walls are blue. / by VH McKenzie

From me to you.....


I've been fortunate to have an incredibly loyal following of readers since
I began putting this blog together in the late summer of 2006.
It took over my life, fi true.


My readers come from all over the globe, from Thailand to Tanzania
and Kuwait to Kazahkstan, from over 100 countries. You have
submitted comments here on the blog or emailed me privately to give
me feedback, ask questions, or share their own stories about art,
parenthood and family, Jamaica and NYC. Or just life in general.
Can you even put this experience into words? Seriously, no, I can't.
You, my readers, have made it worth every second. My heart skips a
beat when a "comment alert" lands in my inbox or when my tally of
daily views reaches a new peak. It's a thrill ride every day.


I can't stop The Night Shift.

But despite all the stories I've shared here, I've kept much of myself on
the sidelines.
It wasn't until a reader recently wrote to me and asked, "So,
Victoria, what do you have on YOUR walls?" that I realized I was still
pretty much of a cipher. Or as Churchill might say, "a riddle wrapped in
a mystery inside an enigma." Perhaps taking a look at what I like, what
I hang on our walls, would prove interesting.

So, I'll open up a bit more tonight -- here's a peek into our home. We live
in downtown Manhattan, in the East Village, the best neighborhood in
which to live and raise a multi-culti family like ours in NYC, and our home
base for over 20 years.


Our building with the red front door. We live in a duplex
apartment on the 2nd and 3rd floors

Once inside, the first thing you'll probably notice is that our home is
filled with color. That's probably not a surprise, is it?
For starters, the
entire downstairs living area is painted in a rich, deep teal blue.



Our living room with walls primarily filled with family photographs


The reverse view, more photos and some art...

At the far end of the previous photo you can just barely make out
a
column of 4 framed images. Here's a close up of one, entitled
"L'automne" or "Autumn".






Given my affinity for abstraction and expression,
these are an unlikely,
yet cherished, possession
. These are 4 tinted engravings (or prints/
lithographs, not sure exactly which) that I bought in Paris over 20 years
ago, in an outdoor book stall on the banks of The Seine. Each of the scenes
represents a different season ( Le Printemps, L'ete, L'automne, L'hiver).
They are precious and so unlike me. And I adore them.



And next to my precious French engravings I have my other cherished
piece of art, "Red Room", a monoprint by my dear
friend and teacher,
Beverly Brodsky -- a gift on my birthday.



Red Room


Now a detour to the Lion's Den.

Each of us is fortunate enough to have a "room of one's own" in our
house.
Our girls each have their own bedroom and also share a "work
studio" of their own, where they can paint and spill glue or glitter and
just generally wreak havoc, creatively of course.
As for the King and myself,
in addition to our shared
master bedroom, I have a studio for my art and
my
husband has a den to seek shelter from a house full of female energy.

The bredren gather here daily, whether for a smoke or to take in a kung-fu
flick or swap tall tales from back home. The
patois, like the smoke,
grows heavy and thick.


And the decor is strictly ragamuffin styleee, straight outta yard. Although
we do have both Selassie and Bob Marley
representing in other rooms
of the house, I balked at
the notion of floor-to-ceiling rasta paraphernalia
in every room. A compromise was in order.


So the Lion's Den picks up the slack. I have absolutely no vote on
the decor in this room but am occasionally consulted or called upon to
contribute to the gallery of art and photographs. It's jam packed,
even the ceiling is covered in posters, banners or photos.

By special request, I painted the red,gold & green rasta star (seen in
the photo below) in the center of the wall. Likewise, I
painted the
portrait (far left) of my mother-in-law. You can't
see it in this photo but
my husband has painted all the
radiators and closet doors in broad stripes
of
red, gold & green as well. I guess you could say that we prefer
slightly different
color palettes, but both enjoy surrounding ourselves
with artwork and photographs of family and friends.



On the reverse wall, more dreadlocks -- including one of my pen and ink
drawings and my
"Pirate of the Caribbean" collage.

And the requisite Scarface poster, of course............


Whew -- that's enough for today.

Next time we'll travel upstairs -- where the bedroom walls are a deep
indigo-violet. We'll also take a look at our daughter's
work room where
I've re-created a Matisse painting on
one entire wall. My youngest
daughter's room is "Tequila Lime"
and even the bathroom is
bathed in a deep rich hue.


But today is my birthday and I'm told that my King is taking me
out for a fine evening of sushi and sake to celebrate - the
grand tour of our home will continue later this week.

Hope you've enjoyed the backstage tour -- please let me know.