BARBARIC, UNJUST, SWINDLED and DUPED: just some of the slogans hand-painted on the front of a once-typical terraced house in the Riverside area of Cardiff in Wales. Over the period of several years during my working visits to the City during the early 1990's, I would drop by and photograph what became known locally as 'the scream house'.
At the time, the owner of the house was already a few years into what would eventually become a 17 year-long campaign against the City Council. Over time his lists of grievances - "the nightmare of bureaucracy" he called them - were presented on bold black painted boards, and would become more and more crafted and extensive. Long written lists would eventually be accompanied by household items like sinks, bicycles or flag poles, and various sculpted objects - and all changing in their wording or their design over the years
The 'Scream House' inevitably became something of a notorious local landmark, and was hailed by some commentators as an exceptional example of 'outsider art', until in 2005 the Council finally won a court order to have the boards ripped-down from the house.
Here are my original prints which I'd pieced together about twenty years ago to make a bigger picture of the jumble of screaming words. At the time a sympathetic local councillor who had taken up the case of the householder called this particular campaign "a very sad story". She was right, I'm sure.
|left me to rot|
|the whole house, front c.1992|
|house showing man on bicycle and flags, c.1992|