I interviewed Angie and Mel in September 2015. Mel has lived in Chicago 15 years, and his wife Angie has lived in Chicago for a little over two years. They live together in the upper unit of a two flat, in Andersonville, that Mel bought, with the couple that lives downstairs, about 10 years ago.
Angie and Mel were very thoughtful about about the idea of home, they felt that it’s people and familiarity that make a place feel like home. And as Angie said, there is something indescribable and intangible, that just makes a place feel like home. I really enjoyed that Angie mentioned a smell in their apartment that she associates with the place. I think this is the first time that smells have come up in an interview, but it makes so much sense because smell can so readily conjure memories for me.
When Mel and Angie first started dated, they dated long distance, with Mel living in Chicago and Angie living in the Bay area, in California. Mel and Angie say that they spent a lot of time on the front porch during the first summer when Angie spent time in their current home. The painting depicts this front porch where Mel and Angie shared a first beer and watched thunderstorms, which are uncommon in the place where Angie grew up. I think I was really drawn to paint the front porch because of the specificity of the memories associated with that particular spot in the home, a first beer shared there, thunderstorms watched. Angie also enjoys spending time tending to the garden that they keep in the parkway at the front of their home. The garden lies just beyond the painting, in view of the front porch. Angie said that working in the garden is a good way to meet neighbors and other passersby.
Special thanks to Stefano Vita for use of his music in the audio recording.