Clawson resident David Renneker goofs around at one of the displays he created for his roadside attraction.

Clawson resident David Renneker goofs around at one of the displays he created for his roadside attraction.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Clawson resident creates ‘roadside attraction’ in backyard

By: Sarah Wojcik | Woodward Talk | Published July 2, 2021


CLAWSON — Since moving into his Clawson home in February, David Renneker has been adding elements to DavidLand, a “roadside attraction” located in his backyard showcasing the fanciful imaginings of the 53-year-old’s mind.

Renneker, who has an art degree and a master’s in medical illustration from the University of Michigan, utilizes a wood shop and studio in his basement to cut out and hand paint original and existing characters in a colorful, cartoony style.

“One of the main reasons I moved here was because the place had a backyard and I always wanted to make a roadside attraction,” he said. “I lived in Grosse Pointe for four years. First I basically started making the heads to go around my balcony as a little privacy fence.”

He said he eventually wants the whole yard to be filled with “stupid stuff.”

Some of the figures in DavidLand include detectives; Motown, funk and soul musicians; Sears catalogue models from the 1970s; a zombie girl; cats; and Donald Trump. The yard also features a framed “Portrait In Lint” and “the biggest nail in Clawson.”

“I just kind of do anything that pops into my head,” Renneker said. “I try to paint three times a week or so. Each one takes 10 to 15 hours to do.”

Once he completes a new project, he posts about it on a public Facebook group called “DavidLand Roadside Attraction” so interested parties can come check them out.

Renneker’s housemate and friend from grade school, Greg Boes, also contributes to the attraction from his collection of vintage toys and found items.

“He made a life-size big wooden stockade, and he’s working on a guillotine,” Renneker said. “A lot of things are meant to be interactive. You can take pictures and get inside the stockade, just fun stuff like that.”

On nicer days, he said, about 20 people come through the yard.

Renneker said visitors are welcome to walk the grounds during daylight hours seven days a week, and admission is free.

“The neighbors have been very supportive,” he said. “I’ve been doing (art) since I was a little kid.”

Monica Kaufmann and her husband, Bob, live in the same neighborhood and were one of the reasons Renneker decided to relocate to the city of Clawson, as they, along with Boes, are longtime friends.

“It’s so cheesy, but it’s so fun,” Monica said of DavidLand. “His art is just over the top and fun.  Lots of people have visited. I took my grandchildren over there and we took pictures.”

She added that when he told her about wanting to create a roadside attraction in his backyard, her first thought was of the St. Ignace Mystery Spot in the Upper Peninsula.

“In this day and age, with everybody being so depressed and locked down for an entire year, it’s the perfect thing for people to see when they’re out walking, and it’s making people smile,” she said. “I love it.”

Renneker’s home is located at 29 Florence St., near West 14 Mile Road and Main Street.