The Waffle Art House is a series of paintings and installations designed to show my esteem for high contrast – and waffles, of course. When you love something, you want to share it. It is my hope that my genuine admiration for this institution will be transferred to other patrons, through the paintings, that there would be a shared moment of affection and appreciation for this unique and contradictory object – The Waffle House.
Let me explain.
INTERSTATE OFF RAMP or QUIET CORNER. The Waffle House acts as a beacon – whether it sits glowing atop the interstate off ramp or quietly on a corner amongst other buildings – it calls you. It’s an endless offering of buttery waffles, bottomless cups of coffee, quality people watching and, most importantly, contrasting imagery.
LATE NIGHT or EARLY RISER. As the Lady Liberty of roadside eateries, The Waffle House does not discriminate. She welcomes all – from late night revelers to early morning risers. Clad in anything from suits to sweats, her guests live and breathe contrast. The diverse clientele promises quality people watching and rarely disappoints.
CUBE or SPHERE. The architecture of the restaurant houses the most obvious example of contrast. The building is relatively nondescript. The strong vertical and horizontal lines of the structure appeal to my minimalist sensibilities. Yet inside this cube are large-scale spherical lights in repeating rows. (If you think about it, this is the opposite of a waffle). The grid is repeated throughout the building in its terracotta hued floors, drop down ceiling and white tiled walls. The contrast of the boxy exterior with the globular illumination from within is intoxicating.
INSIDE or OUTSIDE. The buildings juxtaposition of right angles and large spheres is on full view, day or night because of the substantial windows, which act as a picture plane. If you are outside the Waffle House, you have unlimited views of what is happening on the interior. And if you are sitting inside the Waffle House you have a front row seat to the world driving by. The Waffle House allows you to feel as if you are inside and outside at the same time, providing the voyeuristic satisfaction of an Edward Hopper painting.
CULT or CULTIVATED The virtues of the Waffle House can be a polarizing subject. People either love it or hate it. The same could be said about the art world. Both have strong followings and strong dissenters. The premise of the Waffle Art House series contrasts the low-brow cult following of the Waffle House against the high brow culture of art and painting.
FOR ALL or FOR SOME. The Waffle Art House series will consist of small 7” x 9” paintings that are hung in various Waffle House restaurants. The painting is left without permission or promise of what will happen to it. The act of taking a thing that is suppose to be valued – a work of art – and giving it away is the final example of contrast.
INVITATION TO PARTICIPATE The style and execution of the paintings have a documentary quality to them. Like that of photographer, Eugene Atget, or Ed Ruscha’s series Twentysix Gasoline Stations. To continue with the idea of documentation, if you see a painting, snap a picture of it. Post it using the hastag #wafflearthouse.
What Do You Mean You Have Never Been to a Waffle House, Hayden