The wall of the megagallery: Atop the hand-painted walls, the living room is covered in art. by Wayne White sugar tit hangs above the flat-screen TV, here showing an underwater scene, and “the porcelain constructions on the far right are my mother’s,” says Todd Oldham.
Photo: Todd Oldham
The house is taller than it is wide. The living room is about 30 feet tall,” explains Todd Oldham of the “very strange” house he and his partner (in business and in life) Tony Longoria bought in the Poconos in 1997. “We got the house right after it was finished.” It was “a blank slate”, adds Oldham, “so I went to town”.
The house is part of his long-term plans, one of many overlapping creative endeavors he has engaged in over the 40+ years he has spent making the world a more interesting place to live. .
Oldham had his own clothing line in the 1990s (and hosted MTV shows stylish house), yet the unnecessary whims of fashion have always weighed on him. As he was putting the finishing touches on an intricate dress that Cindy Crawford will wear for her final fashion show, he remembers thinking: Oh good? Is this how you are going to spend your time? He decided it wouldn’t be: “I didn’t mind doing as much as I could, but for some reason that dress did something to me.”
He did all sorts of other things besides his fashion line, including producing monographs for AMMO Books on Alexander Girard, Joan Jett, Wayne White, Charley Harper and others and designing dinnerware and fabrics for Fishs Eddy, hotel interiors and children’s craft kits.
Now he turns to his past work. After years of experience in partnership with museums, “I knew how to manage an archive,” he says. “I wanted to make sure that if I wanted to use the countless things we made – hundreds of custom textiles, thousands of handmade buttons – they would be in good condition. I released it about a year ago and started playing. This led to his final attempt: Todd Oldham Maker Shop. He delved into his archives – buttons and textiles and uncut bandana fabric and custom silk prints and more – to create an enduring collection of clothing and home accessories. There are quilts made from fashion textiles, end tables topped with prototype tiles, and crocheted blankets constructed from hand-dyed yarns collected over decades so each one is unique. He will collaborate with artists such as his nephew Presley Oldham, Amy Sedaris, Larry Krone, Kathleen Hanna, Daniele Frazier and She Chimp, who handwrites the text for the website.
As for the house, it “was never finished,” he says, “because I think of design like gardening: you’re constantly doing something. It has been in a constant state of change, the design just keeps piling up.