Mark James Perry: Bits and Pieces

An Email Exchange w/ Craig Zwicky

The following email exchange represents bits and pieces of memory, some of which may be true, some of which may not. They are fragments of a fragmentary life that is now gone. Mark was a spinner of tales, and it was anyone’s guess whether any of them ever happened.

  • 1 - Craig Zwicky to William Elston

    First name: Craig last name: Zwicky

    subject: friends

    comment: Hello out there; My memories of Mark are similar to yours, however his "CAVE" in Metaline Falls was a 4000 sq.ft. home built by a doctor. Mark and Mella lived there with two of Mark's elderly relatives (both on Soc. Sec.). My recollection is that Mark sold the relatives land on Trent Ave. in Spokane to the "MOB" as he called it, and moved his family into this spacious rental in Metaline Falls. Eventually Mella found retirement homes to send the old ladies to. He is the only artist I ever knew who shut down the principal employer in a small town. He called the EPA on the cement plant in Metaline Falls and that was that. I still have some of his original work, both negatives, transparencies and print work. I gave him the money to move to Seattle, where he apparently deserted his wife and child and tried living on a motor yacht he somehow didn't pay for. Last thing I knew, his wife and child were in Hawaii and Mark was somewhere on the boat. He always liked to reinvent himself. Fun Fellow

  • 2 - William Elston to Craig Zwicky

    From: "William Elston" [email protected] To: "Craig" Sent: Tuesday, June 21, 2016 12:54:33 PM Subject: Re: Mark Perry

    Hello Craig -

    I'm not sure where the cave story comes from. Mela once told me that when she met Mark he was living in a cave. Neither she nor Mark claimed that he lived there for the entirety of his time in Metaline Falls.

    I do have first-hand knowledge of Mela and Mark’s breakup. When they moved to Marysville, Mark decided he wanted to live on a boat. He put together a body of artwork, which included works that he borrowed from me for the purpose, and used it as collateral for a 65 foot ketch. He moved with Mela and son Phalon onto the boat, moored in Everett. The idea initially was to make money doing tours, etc. However, boats usually cost a lot of money, and as Mark began to fall behind he eventually got involved in selling coke. Mela ran off with Mark's coke dealer, and took Phalon with her. It was actually Mela that abandoned Mark, not the other way around.

    As for living on a boat, there were actually a succession of boats. The ketch was lost to the bank, but Mark continued to live on the water off and on until his death. He also lived in Pioneer Square, worked fishing boats in Alaska briefly and lived his last years in Westport with his wife Jennifer, a woman that was half his age.

    I'm still in pretty regular contact with Mark's son Phalon. He's a pretty bright 34 year old, and very much like his old man, whom he also physically resembles. I’m also in contact with Mark Jr [currently a successful realtor in Florida.]

    If you would be interested in scanning or photographing the works that you have by Mark, I'll put them on his website. I would be interested in seeing them, in any case.

    Thanks for writing, and take care,

    • Bill Elston
  • 3 - Craig Zwicky to William Elston

    First name: Craig last name: Zwicky

    subject: re: friends

    I'm really not sure about the cave, when I caught up with Mark and Mela they were staying on the old ladies property on Trent. They got married (family bible style) and moved to Cusick. From Cusick, Mark "obtained" a 30 man army tent and moved the 2 of them to a 20 acre parcel up in the hills. I got a great photo of mark up there. Mela became pregnant and put her foot down, so it was goodbye to living among bears. Another house in Cusick, followed with a scary home delivery and rushing Mela to the hospital in Newport. A bit later came the move to Metaline Falls and the BIG HOME. I would go up for weekends to visit and run around in a Baja Bug. Gorgeous Area. Mark was constantly frustrated trying to do Carbro Prints. He did some photography around the river, but mostly worked on the process, which eluded him due to his lack of proper equipment. A friend of mine, Rod McLean, had a group of valuable signed prints he had acquired over the years. Mark sold one piece to Tony Bomonte, an Elke Sommer. Except for 2 other pieces I managed to retrieve, the bulk of Rod's collection became part of the "bulk of artwork" moving to Seattle. The last time I saw him, they were living aboard the 65' ketch. The last thing I ever heard from Mela was a call I got at work, asking me to move to Hawaii! I didn't and they disappeared from my radar. Rod chose not to prosecute Mark, thinking prison over the amount was too harsh. I'm attaching a small file with some memories of Mark. Take care Bill. Craig Zwicky