Monday, May 16, 2011

Chatham looks to reconstruct his life in California

Posted By on Mon, May 16, 2011 at 3:30 PM

A celebratory graduation weekend in Missoula turned up an unfortunate bit of real world news from the Bay Area.

Clark City Press cover of Mile High, Mile Deep, featuring Chathams artwork
  • Clark City Press cover of Mile High, Mile Deep, featuring Chatham's artwork

Celebrated Montana landscape artist, publisher and restaurateur Russell Chatham told the San Francisco Chronicle that he's left Montana and returned to his home in West Marin in hopes of painting his way out of financial ruin.

"My sole possessions in this universe are 10 gray T-shirts and three pairs of overalls," says Chatham, according to reporter Sam Whiting, who adds that barter has become Chatham's favored means of commerce.

In short, Chatham made some bad investments in Livingston real estate. His artwork is still in high demand, but he hasn't painted in years and has no inventory to sell.

The restaurant's gone and he furloughed Clark City Press. He reopened his gallery (shuttered for years) to sell his lithography — and that land.

It's not the first time Chatham's hit a rough patch, but this blow is enough to have him leave Montana behind.

"I'm probably going to end up with foreclosures, and there's nothing I can do about it," he's quoted as saying. "I'm probably going to have to reconstruct my life down here."

The most telling example of Montana in his rear view: He's working on a memoir about fishing. But it's not about Montana's treasured waterways — it's about fishing the San Francisco Bay.

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