Talk of the Town - It's a jungle out there December 11 2003

What you know about the E-A-S-T S-I-D-E?

Pop-up Edward Scissorhands communities may have inside-Perimeter home buyers going bananas, but Ape Man landscaper Cooper Sanchez prefers his 75-year-old Clarkston bungalow. A country boy at heart, he plans to replace the half-acre of kudzu with wildflowers, paint his barn red and clean his chicken coop. Hey, we know what you're thinking, but no roosters cluck at the crack of dawn in his yard.

Creative Loafing: What's the deal with all the monkeys?

Cooper Sanchez: That's how I promoted my business at first. I made these monkey cutouts and put them in Candler and Inman parks and Midtown with my phone number and everything. I got a bunch of business and now I'm selling more monkeys than I am cutting grass.

Did you always want to be a painter?

I just always painted. I never romanticize or made a big deal out of it. I just wanted to make pictures. Here in my studio is where I do illustrations and my girl does Web design. We do freelance work.

Have you done work for any famous people or someone we possibly know?

No. Well, I just did some stuff for YM. You know, that little girl magazine.

And who plays music?

My girl plays piano really well and I mess it up. She plays pretty and I make it ugly on top of that. I bang on pots and pans, play harmonica and sing while she plays.

We head toward a shed with peeling paint.

This here is my shop. I have two companies: Ape Man landscaping and CooperSanchez.com where I sell artwork. I keep my trucks and tools in here. There's an alarm installed. Basically, it's a barn. I have a refrigerator where I keep my beers.

How long would it take you to do all the renovations on your house?

Having landscape work coming and tools and free Saturdays and Sundays, it's going to take me a year to kill all this kudzu back here. I got basically half an acre of kudzu.

So how do you get rid of kudzu — with a huge weed whacker?

No. I'm going to wait until the leaves fall off, which will be in a couple weeks then go ahead and cut as many vines as I can find. I'll cut the low trees out and use Roundup in the spring.

This is the doghouse/studio.

What kind of dog are you getting?

The doghouse is for me.

What was in the chicken coop?

The guy raised chickens and white decorative doves. It was somewhat of a farm that raised different birds and what-not. Before I moved in here, they found 1,500 arrowheads.

So what are they trying to say, that Indians lived around here?

It's either one or two things: an Indian storage place or some Boy Scout's collection that he left behind. We're talking about more arrowheads than I've ever seen.

They didn't find any dead chickens back there?

No, they found chicken bones.


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