Anthony James Cotham is an artist and musician from Hoquiam, WA. Introduced to art by Erik Sandgren in 2001 while attending Grays Harbor College, he went on to graduate from The Evergreen State College in 2004 and currently resides in Portland, OR as a student in the engineering program at Portland State University.
“I got into music later than my friends. They would give me punk rock mix tapes and play in punk bands; but as a kid I had a different idea of what music was. I saw Nirvana happening to the lives of my friends while in school and felt the impact it had on them when they all took that big trip into Seattle to go to Kurt Cobain’s memorial after he died. I just didn’t understand the sentiment until after I tried, and failed, to succeed in life by following the safe example set by an older sibling into a drafting career in Phoenix, AZ. When I moved back home to mom’s house in Hoquiam I found art and punk rock. This mural was a chance for me to showcase two things I love to a community I care about. I was so honored to be asked by Erik Sandgren to help with the Nirvana mural and I am so glad to have finally contributed something tangible to the Harbor.
One of my first thoughts about the project was, “How do we pull this off without turning into complete dorks in the eyes of the music community that I want to continue having a good standing in?” I think we pulled it off. And we did it by being objective, tasteful and well informed. Informed thanks in no small part to the supportive and direct involvement of Krist Novoselic–which I’m still geekily stoked about. We also took a lot of cues from The Experience Music Project’s Nirvana exhibit and two books by Charles R. Cross: Heavier Than Heaven, Cobain Unseen. Even with all this I was particularly hyper-conscious about how important the names of the other rock bands in the mural were going to be; and all apologies to the Nirvana fan boys out there, but among the tens of bands that I’m sure we neglected to include, the only one that I regret having accidentally left off the painting is The Wipers. Maybe on the next Nirvana mural…”