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House & garden > Motor City Cribs and Rides

Motor City Cribs

Chris Pottinger's Royal Oak pad

MT Photo: Doug Coombe
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Published 4/22/2009

After noise musician and artist Chris Pottinger moved to Royal Oak a little more than a year ago, he had problems with solicitors. When he got home from work one day, looking forward to recording some basement jams or working on illustrations, a stream of Jehovah's Witnesses, lawn care salesman and other entrepreneurial freaks kept knocking on the door. Out of frustration, he drew one of his crazed creatures declaring "No Solicitors," posted it, and effectively scared all strangers from his doorstep. Yes, the pen's mightier than the sword indeed.

Some of you probably know Pottinger as one of Detroit's pre-eminent noise merchants. He played with the legendary (now extinct) Odd Clouds (with Jamie Easter) and continues to play solo (as Cotton Museum) and in Slither (with Heath Moerland). But Pottinger is also a frighteningly good artist whose visual work hits the gut like his music.

The musician's drawings and prints — which grace covers of releases on his Tasty Soil label — are wildly imaginative, simultaneously grotesque and playful. Imagine Maurice Sendak crossed with hot rod art legend Stanley Mouse and you might approximate Pottinger's mischievous and slightly putrid art.

"As a kid, I'd flip over logs and look at centipedes or go out and collect toads," Pottinger says. "I grew up near a forest in Lake Orion, and I was into studying how animals looked. I was into creatures.

The Wayne State graphic design grad's work graced art shows in Germany, France and the Thurston Moore-curated Noise/Art. Like other worthy "noise artists" (John Olson and Nate Young, to name a few) noise and art work swimmingly together for Pottinger. "I'll draw a picture and I'll think, 'Man, that'll be a cool record cover.' Or I'll be recording and I'll totally imagine the sound is two creatures talking to each other. It's fun to make up new worlds — anything goes, no rules."

Check out/buy Pottinger's art and music at

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