Truth. Reality. The quality or state of being accurate.

False. Not genuine. Based on mistaken ideas.

In an attempt to balance rumors and innuendo nestled in the depths of Art’s biography, I lobbed up a series of true or false questions. And in accordance with the wide-open nature of the questions themselves, the answers took on a life of their own.

NB: “You played pool with (serial killer) Ted Bundy?”

AC: “He was in a tavern, we were all underage at the time. It was 1973 or so and whenever he had the main table, he was easy to beat. You just had to piss him off and he’d throw the cue down and stomp away. He’d wear a black turtleneck and white jeans. He was actually good-lookin’ guy, but that was right around time he started killing people. But we had no idea, I mean…everyone who lived in the Northwest at the time has a Ted Bundy story. Then years later my girlfriend put two and two together while reading a story in the paper. Maybe we should’ve let him win.”

AC continues: “He used to live in a punk house that my girlfriend worked in and I knew people whose siblings he killed. Washington is a weird place man…a yin-yang kind of place with no middle ground. The entire state is cut in half – it’s really like two different places. To the west: liberals, green, grunge, Seattle and hippies. The east: high desert with sagebrush and rednecks.”

NB: “You were raised in a chicken coop?”

AC: “Truth is, the house I grew up in during my teenage years in Tacoma, it was built by my grandfather. Truly, a poor family…this was my mother’s side. Swedish with ten kids, just dirt poor, and he started to build a chicken coop which turned into a house. It was originally intended to be a chicken coop, but with so many kids, they needed a house.”

NB: “But your father was a Harvard man?”

AC: “He was married seven times that we know about. He hung out with all the Watergate guys. Had a silver star and two bronze stars from his time in the military, too. But he was just a sociopath. Blew his hand off in Normandy, used the GI bill to go to Harvard – I think he was one of only two practicing Harvard lawyers in the whole state of Washington when he started out. Just a classic fall from grace: from entertaining the governor to living in a chicken coop. He was all over the place – my father, he even dealt in cultivating exotic plants. I have Orchids named after me.”

NB: “Everyone thinks Art Chantry is always angry?”

AC: “I have a very, very….dark sense of humor. I think being pissed off – or people getting pissed off – is funny! When you live in a surreal little niche in the world, what’s dark and miserable for some people, well…it’s funny to me.”

AC continues: “Living and designing in Seattle during the grunge years, hanging out with necrophiliacs, children of superstars…your sense of humor ends up becoming a different kind of thing.”

Up next: Art discusses his unorthodox style, designing and dealing with arms dealers and corporate CEOs.

ART CHANTRY ARTIST SERIES HIJINX now available online in limited quantities.

Read Part 1 of the Art Chantry interview here: ART CHANTRY EXPLODES


Newbear Lesniewski


September 12, 2007