The artist turned his rented home into a museum (7 photos)

8 May 2024
Category: painting, 0+

Since the mid-1980s, Ron Gittis has been renting a flat in Birkenhead in north-west England. Only after his death in 2019, relatives found themselves in the artist’s house and were speechless from what they saw.

For almost 30 years, the Briton occupied an apartment on the second floor of a Victorian duplex, consisting of three rooms, a hallway, a kitchen and a bathroom.

Gittins decorated almost every surface and painted many paintings and murals depicting historical scenes. He sculpted fireplaces in the shape of a lion and a minotaur and even built a Roman oven for baking bread.

Ron died in September 2019 at the age of 79.

According to niece Jen Williams, the uncle was "flamboyant" and "very unusual." He did not allow guests into his house and was a rather difficult person, but his family never stopped loving him.

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The rooms were overflowing with boxes, books, art materials, and food packaging. Jen found many manuscripts, including encrypted ones.

Williams and her husband decided to save Ron's House and launched a campaign that was supported by friends, relatives, and artists. Together they managed to buy the building and ensure that it was given the status of a monument.

“Ron would have been over the moon,” Williams says of his late uncle. “He loved performance art and managed to create his own world in the apartment. He had mental health problems and was unstable. I think it was creativity that kept him going.” ".

Work is currently underway to preserve the works of art. Jen has plans to renovate other apartments in the building to create "a holistic home of art and creativity."

“I found a postcard addressed to me: ‘I want to show you what I’m creating.’ But the address was wrong, and I never received it. And now it’s like I’m making up for lost time,” the woman says.

Ron's House is the first piece of "outsider art" to receive protected status in England.

Outsider art is a movement in painting whose works are created outside of academic traditions. Most often, representatives of this movement are deprived of artistic education and are impervious to cultural influence.

Among the many admirers of Gittins' work is Jarvis Cocker, frontman of the band Pulp.

Williams is proud of his uncle's accomplishments and hopes he will influence future generations: "He convinced me that it was okay to be creative and innovative, and I'm grateful for that. He didn't have a reliable income, but he was imaginative and creativity. We want to share it with people."


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