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Bye Bye Brad
So long to signs and music

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Brad Pinkerton installs one of the latest signs he has made, in Winthrop, for the Yakama Nation's new office.

After sixteen years in the valley, sign painter Brad Pinkerton, whose artwork is ubiquitous throughout Winthrop and Twisp, is packing up his brushes and moving on to Westport, Washington. Along with his art business, he’s also taking with him the North Cascades Old Time Fiddlers Contest, an event he instigated that’s been held in Winthrop the last 14 summers.

Pinkerton leaves behind an impossible-to-miss artistic legacy in the valley of some 100 public signs, by his own reckoning. “I never thought in my twenties that I’d be decorating a whole town,” he says.

He’s alluding to Winthrop, though his work can be seen in Twisp at such locations as Tappi Restaurant, the Merc Playhouse, AeroMethow, and Paco’s Tacos. Winthrop’s fire department and post office are among public buildings bearing his signs, as are numerous businesses along the town’s boardwalk. His sign for the Winthrop Lilbrary reads; ‘Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend.  Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.’

Winthrop has a strict Westernization code, and Pinkerton has had his share of dustups with the town’s Westernization committee. “Right now they’re great,” he says of committee members. But, he grins, “I’m the only artist that the Westernization committee called the cops on.” That incident involved his use of language at a committee meeting that was deemed threatening and resulted in a formal warning from the town marshal, he says.

Pinkerton, who will be 60 in March, is a self-taught artist and musician who dropped out of high school before graduating. “I was always a kid that could draw,” he says. Asked if he regrets not having a high school diploma, he answers simply:  “I can hold up my end of a conversation.”

Pinkerton figures he got his fiddling talent from a fiddle-playing grandfather he never knew. He grew up on a ranch owned by his parents in Colorado and spent some of his early years as a sheepherder in southern Utah. For nine winters he was caretaker of a hunting lodge owned by the chairman of the Yale University Classics department that was so far into Idaho’s wilderness that it took two days to get there on horseback. “I had bighorn sheep in my yard,” he recalls. “I loved it.”

Pinkerton has signs on display in Texas, California, Hawaii and even Panama, where they adorn an eco-lodge owed by Winthrop residents Tom and Linda Kimbrell.  “I’m going to be open to coming back” to do more signs in the valley, Pinkerton says.

He first came to Winthrop from Salmon, Idaho, to paint a mural and ended up moving here. “I really don’t want to go,” he says. But his decision to leave was prompted by the unexpected sale of the property where he and his wife Eileen are living, and he adds that they’re looking forward to buying a home of their own in Westport, where Eileen, also a musician, will be working as a librarian.

Click the images below to see a sampling of Brad's work in the valley.
The ever popular put-your-face-on-cowboy/cowgirl piece shown the Grist home page is also Brad's work.


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We'll miss Brad's art, music and sense of humor. Thanks for all you've brought to our community Brad.

The Woodruffs

Never got to experience your fiddling talents, but sure did 'preciate all that time playing in those bluegrass circles. Thanks for the good times and good luck! So this accountant is sentenced to 10 years in jail...

Steve Hirsch

Sad to hear that you're leaving. Thanks for all the fuuny jokes and helping with the classroom signs at MVCS. Good luck on your move.

kavi mitchell

I can't believe you're leaving! We will miss you both; your music, your voices, your enthusiasm. Some of your heart and soul will stay with us. And we thank you for that. We wish you the very best in all that you do next. Thanks from the Thomsons.

Diana Thomson

We shall Miss ya you old geezer.

Noah Ashford

Brad, you will indeed be missed. Much as we love your art work, my greatest admiration for you is that you survived the local Hollywood inspired westernization hassles over the years. Hopefully there will not be a WETport sign ordinance. Bob and Gloria

Bob & Gloria Spiwak

West Boesel

Brad, Thanks for giving so much creativity and joy to the Methow. The spirit/talent at the Fiddle contest is always inspiring & your artistic talent speaks for itself. Happy Trails! Ardis

Ardis Bynum


I'm ashamed that I had to read an article to know you were leaving town! We should play some tunes... yeah the same ones....:)before you go. God be with you! Leah

Leah Kominak


I'm shocked to hear the news, perhaps because you seem so much part of this place. And taking the Fiddlers Contest? Eileen too? Oh my-- We'll miss you, big guy. Good luck and where the heck is Westport?

Nancy St. Clair


The look of our little town will begin to change with your departure. You are an incredible artist. We'll come visit!

Lynette Westendorf


Miss you already. It's easy to remember how long we've been friends- when I first met you I was pregnant with Emmett! Time flies. Come back and visit.

Callie Fink


Rats. Local color just faded considerably. Good luck in your new place.

Joyce Bergen


Sad, sad loss for the M.V. But as you know, your friends MacLeod and Corinna are but 35 minutes away. Plus, Westport is MacLeod's favorite all-year surfing spot! We'll see you and Eileen when we visit the kids. Warmest good luck to you both!

Aristides Pappidas


Aw sad to see you leave. Well, dig some clams and have a good time.

Mary Ann Yakabi

Twisp River Flats

I expect you'll establish Westport's new "Oceanization Committee" in no time, to include an ordinance requiring hand-painted ocean-themed signs. How are you at seagulls? I'll miss you both! -susan

Susan Ernsdorff