by Art Chantry ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
who’s the hottest new diva on the scene? who swivels her hips and bats her lashes at the boyz? then coos into the mike and vamps the crowd into submission while her trusty combo blurts out the chords? why it’s MISTY & THE PINBOYS, of course!
i’ve mentioned several times in the course of these essays that back in the 1980′s/90′s in seattle there was an underground of what can only be described as ‘mad scientist” artists working in the shadows. more shadowy than most (due to his rather hermit-like tendencies) was a fella name of Clair Colquitt (check that spelling, folks.) he’s a seattle fixture since at least the late 70′s clear in through to the present days. his mechanical mayhem graced many bumbershoot arts fairs with mad machinery that was liable to do anything you might never expect (some of it definitely for ‘adults only”.
this little device is Misty & the Pinboys, Clair’s answer to the explosion of local rock and roll in the seattle scene during that period. she was fashioned (i was told) out of the remains of a trashed ‘chucky cheeze’ robot, reconfigured into the lovely Misty, vamp of all vamps. the dorky little Pinboys ( trusty backup combo) all look like rejects from a howdy doody look alike contest. but, the were the toughest, raunchiest rythym & blooze back up band ever bolted together.
for a mere two bits (that’s 25¢ to those young kids) she’d blow out lovely lilting cooing classics. she was so hot she’d steam up yer glasses. and for a lousy quarter! she was the hit of the season. i fell in L-U-V!
clair continues to build krazy kontraptions for the bumbershoot crowd even to this day. the last i heard about him, however, was that he discovered the internet and was feverishly creating lord knows what from his converted gas station studio in his spare time. maybe we should all go have a peek and see what he’s done to the world wide interweb. after all, it’s all just a bunch of tubes, right?
AC:most of his really coolest stuff was exhibited at coca back in the day. he was notorious for showing them once or twice and then tearing them down to build new things. larry reid was once at a scrap yard looking for gawd-knows-what and he tripped across a customized race car shell that looked familiar. suddenly he realized that it was part of a colquitt contraption that had been torn apart and sold for scrap. he almost bought it to have a genuine colquitt race car (i believe it was a sort of “soap box derby” car). that’s how clair preserved his art – not at all. it was all just ‘materials’ that continued to re-configure into new contraptions. Misty & the Pinboys are now probably a few parts scattered about here and there. sad, huh?…
…i’ts not that strange of an approach for these “mad scientist̶
uys. their technology to produce (with no money) means they have to get parts and they have them – in their machines. so, they use them again. the stuff isn’t for sale any away, ya know? it’ what they use to express their ideas and they use what they got. the idea of ‘documentation’ is what preserves them for the future (if any).
visiting their studios was always a trip. they would have all sorts of half dissected and and have built projects sitting around. a lot of them would never ever see any public exposure at all. the stuff was astonishing and beautiful, but never really meant of the ‘art world’ because the ‘art world” didn’t include them. especially in a place like seattle, where ‘fine art’ is based on rather limited economic views and aesthetics. just where exactly would one put a radioactive sculpture, anyway, huh?
so, the trashing and rebuilding was a constant flow of thought and creation to them. it was their reality. survival research laboratories never sold any of their materials – they considered themselves ‘performance art”. but, man, i know a lot of folks who would have killed to have one of their machines. it just wasn’t practical when money is so tight.
man, i remember going to dale travous’s studio and he;d be just fiddling a round with the most extraordinary things. none of it ever saw the light of day (outside his studio.) no interest except with his circle of peers….
…criminey. i have so much sample stuff saved as “documentation’ that i’ll never use, that i’m starting to toy with the idea of a bonfire. it’s sorta stunning how much dross you can produce in 35 years….i’ve never seen him look so vaudeville clownish. maybe he’s become a new persona? i remember him wearing dirty work clothes (covered with grease) and being sullen and touchy cross all the time. he was somebody you just didn’t approach without a good reason. i don’t recognize the clown look at all. a strange new thing for a strange man….