It’s not often that you get to peek inside the home of your personal heroes, but today, we’re doing just that. Artists
Mimi Pond and Wayne White have been two of my biggest inspirations for almost as long as I can remember. Wayne, among many other achievements, was a part of the team that created the sets for (a childhood favorite) and Mimi was one of the first female cartoonists I discovered in college whose work spoke to me in such an impactful and important way. I’ve been following their work for years now and they both inspire me on a daily basis to stay true to the ideas of creativity, honesty, playfulness, expression and, above all else, having Pee Wee’s Playhouse fun with your work. It’s truly an honor to share their home here today.
Mimi and Wayne have called their 1940s-era Los Feliz, CA house
home for the past 19 years. They raised their two children, Lulu and Woodrow, in this creative space and now share it with their pets, Mabel the dog and Ramona the cat. When Mimi and Wayne were first looking for their home, they wanted to find a space with a view and a big backyard. They were able to find both in this incredible home. While the 39-step entry to their house makes deliveries a challenge, Mimi and Wayne say the walk keeps them in shape and the sweeping view is worth the hike.
When it comes to decorating their home, Mimi says their process is always ongoing. “As artists, decor is the easy part — if you have lots of time. The hard part is infrastructure: the roof, maintenance, painting, repair, etc.” The majority of Mimi and Wayne’s furniture came from thrift stores or garage sales and their talented family’s artwork fills the walls and every nook and corner with something exciting and beautiful to see. As I looked through these photos it was to clear to me just how much their family treasures creativity, expression and each other. It was quite simply a joy to step (virtually) inside their space and see where all of their inspiration comes home to rest each day. Thank you so much to Mimi, Wayne, Mabel and Ramona for welcoming us into their home.
*If you haven’t seen the film
(about Wayne’s life and work) yet, please do. Beauty is Embarrassing
Photography by Caroline and Jayden Lee of Woodnote Photography
Wayne and Mimi in the living room of their LA home, in front of a painting by their friend, the artist
Wayne and Mimi's living room has sweeping views of the city.
The living room has plenty of comfy spaces to sit and read or admire the view of Los Angeles. Two paintings of Wayne’s flank the couch, which Mimi and Wayne bought in High Point, NC, at a sample sale.
The living room table contains a mix of books and wooden figures, made by the artist Alvin Jarrett. Mimi picked them up in the mid-1980s in Rockvale, Tennessee.
Mabel the dog's fainting sofa, which has a spectacular view of Los Angeles facing southwest towards the ocean.
Next to the living room fireplace is a collection of wooden gems created and sent to Mimi and Wayne by their good friend Todd Oldham. In 2009 Todd published a monograph of Wayne’s work entitled, “
Maybe Now I’ll Get the Respect I So Richly Deserve
.” Next to the gems is a primitive unstrung banjo and a cigar-box instrument made for Wayne by a fan of his.
Mimi picked up this chalk figure from a thrift store. Nestled behind it is a Himalayan salt lamp.
The dining room's striking mural is a work in progress that Wayne has been painting, on and off, for the last 15 years. It is inspired by the the 19th century French scenic wallpaper manufacturer, Zuber.
A full view of the family dining room.
A 2011 wood sculpture by Wayne rests in a corner of the dining room.
Mimi's graphic novel, “
”, a fictionalized memoir of her late 1970s waitressing career in Oakland, was published by Drawn & Quarterly in 2014. The second and final part of the story will be published in 2017.
A decorative arch and mural welcome guests into the foyer- as does Mabel the dog.
This sculpture in Mimi and Wayne's front foyer is by the artist
. The door open in the back leads to Wayne's office.
This is Wayne’s office. On the shelf above the window are cardboard letters constructed and painted by their talented daughter, Lulu. "She’s almost done spelling out our names," says Mimi.
A closer look inside Wayne's office.
The piano in Wayne’s office features his four Emmys (three for production design for Pee-wee’s Playhouse) and his two MTV awards for art direction and special effects for the Smashing Pumpkins video, “Tonight Tonight.” In front of those are two paintings he made for Mimi. The one on the left lists the names of the Mitford Sisters, with whom Mimi is "obsessed." The one on the right is an homage to Mimi's graphic novel, “Over Easy.” (“Lyin’ Whore” is a term of endearment from the story). Above the piano on the left is a self-portrait by Lulu done when she was still in middle school. She now is a junior at Cooper Union. On the right are two paintings by Wayne, “Oh Ho,” and “Gotta.” In the middle is a certificate announcing Wayne’s commission as an official Kentucky Colonel.
This is a painting Wayne did for their daughter Lulu for Christmas recently. “Vayz Droppa” refers to an incident when Lulu was three years old and she took a vase and dropped it out the window!
The painting on the right is by Wayne, for Lulu. The drawing on the left below is by Wayne and Mimi's friend Hayden Dunn.
A family portrait taken when Lulu and Woodrow were five and seven years old.
The hallway features a lithograph (on the right) by the Tennessee artist
. Wayne was Red Grooms' studio assistant shortly after he moved to New York City in the early 1980s.
The master bathroom is original to Wayne and Mimi's house, built in 1940.
The bathroom walls are decorated with a collection of knick-knacks Mimi has thrifted over the years.
Mimi and Wayne's son Woodrow's bedroom. Woodrow is now an
living in Oakland, California. Mimi says of his space, "His room has become a kind of overflow storage area. The “Woody’s” sign comes from a local bar that had closed. It was available as an auction item at a local elementary school. When no one bid on it (WHAT?) it was offered to our Woody."
Wayne and Mimi's master bedroom. "Our bedroom is under-decorated and subdued because I think it makes a better sleeping environment. The antique quilt at the foot of the bed is from Wayne’s home state of Tennessee," Mimi says.
The family breakfast nook in the kitchen.
The view from the nook is a reminder of what made Mimi and Wayne fall in love with their home.
Mimi picked up this reproduction of a painting of the American ocean liner, the S.S. America, in a thrift store in the San Fernando Valley. She initially bought it for Wayne to paint one of his word paintings on, but he thought it was, "too nice to despoil." It has hung for about 10 years in their breakfast nook and Mimi enjoys looking at it every day. "The rest of the objects are a kind of pastiche of my fascination with both cocktails and the British," she says.
Mimi and Wayne's kitchen has a sweet, retro feel. "We couldn’t function without our daily cappuccinos made by our 1980s vintage Pasquini Livietta espresso machine", says Mimi. The chrome sugar bowl next to the coffee grinder is a copy of those found in Italian espresso bars and came from IKEA.
Mimi's collection of "things with faces." The “Maw” and “Paw” cups were standard-issue southern souvenirs of the past that she and Wayne have picked up over the years on their trips to visit Wayne’s family in Tennessee and Alabama.
"Our vintage breakfast nook wouldn’t be complete without this corner," Mimi says. The painting on top is by their friend, the artist
. The framed painting and the drawing next to it on the bottom shelf to the left are by Wayne and Mimi's friend, the cartoonist
. The painting to the right of the creepy elf cookie jar is of Mimi, by their son,
Mimi found this “champagne” bar light in a thrift store years ago, sans wiring and shade, for only a few dollars. "I wired it up and was so entranced by it I decided I needed another. God bless eBay! I found another one and they sit on either side of the breakfast nook banquette. I call it 'the drinking light.'" The little statue next to that is Mimi's Inkpot Award from Comic-Con in 2014. It was designed by the cartoonist
. Mimi also collects snapshots of sad thrift store dogs and posts them to her
account of the same name, although some occasionally come home with her.
Wayne's studio in the home's basement. This room contains the cardboard head of Lyndon Johnson that became a feature of the Neil Berkeley movie made about Wayne in 2012, “Beauty is Embarrassing.” To the right on the easel is Wayne’s painting, “Spark in the Void.”
A corner of Wayne's studio with sketches, creations and inspiration.
One of Wayne’s watercolors, another sad thrift store dog, a toy robot and a George Wallace puppet head from another project.
More works in progress.
Details of the cardboard Lyndon Johnson head Wayne made.
A peek at some of the views from Mimi and Wayne's home.
In front of the pool fence (that Wayne built) is a reproduction glider and chair from Restoration Hardware, "back before they got super fancy," says Mimi.
"When we moved into our house, the previous owner had ripped every living thing out of the backyard. He had plans to remodel with three stories, a turret, an elevator and a spa next to the pool. The backyard looked like the surface of Mars. It was dirt up to the back door and all around the pool. Our children were then 1 and 4 years old. The first thing that happened was the pool fence. I landscaped around the pool using mostly succulents and statuary picked up at yard sales. It’s flourished into a verdant jungle since then," says Mimi.
The 39-step path up to Wayne and Mimi's house.