If you catch a movie at Harkins Theatre in Bricktown or attend one of the many festivals, conventions and trade shows around the country, there’s a good chance you’ll see street performer, Troy Scott but not realize it. That’s because his main act these days is to look as much like a bronze statue as possible—a bronze statue that will come to life when passers-by least expect it.
The Edmond native usually dons the bronze about twice a week. Some say he looks like Will Rogers with his cowboy hat and warming smile, and that’s just fine with him. He loves to watch people search the podium he stands on for a nameplate; it puts them within prime spooking radius.
Once he has surprised someone with a sudden movement or wave, they usually feel initiated into the act, now that they know the secret, and will keep quiet when another person approaches to let them have the same startling experience. This often results in laughter and spontaneous conversation between strangers.
“That’s what I really like to see,” Scott said. “Sure I want to make money, but I really want people to leave feeling better.”
The costume is made from real cloth coated with rubberized paint, and the whole thing weighs about forty pounds. Every inch of his exposed skin is covered with waterproof greasepaint, he squints to hide the whites of his eyes and he’s even made bronze teeth to cover his real ones when he’s on the job.
He got the idea from a street performer dressed as a mime who would stand perfectly still, then lunge at people and make them scream. His act was basic, but Scott noticed he was bringing in tips, so people were definitely interested.
“I saw there was an appreciation for it and thought, ‘There’s a much better way to do this,’ so I started working,” Scott said. “I wanted to make it look as much like a bronze statue as possible.”
At least the birds can tell the difference between Scott in disguise and a real statue, as they never try to land on him, but he agrees that luring them with a little birdseed on his hat could help further his authenticity.
Scott has been doing this for about eight years; first in San Antonio while he worked as a performer, voice actor, stage tech and makeup artist for Six Flags Fiesta Texas, Sea World and the San Antonio Spurs basketball team.
“I really think of myself as an artist, and I like to do that in all capacities. And ‘like to’ is probably too mild a term. I just do it. It’s how I live,” Scott said.
It has been a lifelong ambition. Scott self-applied clown makeup for the first time when he was in fifth grade, and now he teaches others in his art and performance workshops. You may have also seen him dressed as an elf with a prosthetic nose and ears, performing at UCO’s holiday celebration, WinterGlow, or scaring people in haunted houses. He has also worked at Frontier City and in stunt, puppet, magic and rainmaker shows, while doing various things for Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park, the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum and the Oklahoma History Museum.
If you haven’t seen his living statue, you may have seen Scott speeding around town in his street-legal, continuing art project, “Community Driven,” which was once a 1977 Ford LTD and is now a mishmash of the artistic contributions of more than 250 creative minds.
The psychedelic “iron behemoth,” as he refers to it on his website, www.outstandingshows.com, was born at Tulsa ArtCar Weekend in June, where Scott persuaded attendees to take up brushes and transform the normal car into what it has become, covered in drawings and writing in seven different languages, complete with Styrofoam tail fins on its roof, flippers riveted to its sides, rubber duckies stuck to its hood, plastic cowboys and Indians glued to its trunk and Girl Scout patches all over its exterior.
Scott still uses the vehicle to get from point A to point B, and people wave and snap photos with their camera phones as he drives past. His wife was pulled over by a police officer while she was driving it but he just wanted to take pictures. One of Scott’s four children has now turned sixteen, but thankfully, Scott said they have more traditional cars for him to drive around in.
After all the work that’s been done to it, there’s still some original beige paint showing that needs to be covered, so he encourages people wherever he goes to add a little something.
“The whole idea is to promote a spirit of creativity and friendship,” he said. The idea came to him when he saw the reaction and interaction of people sparked by his Living Bronze Cowboy Statue.
Scott said people have thanked him and said, “This city needs this.” Some have asked, “What are you doing here? You should be in Vegas.”
To this, he responds, “I’ve been to Vegas. I like it here.”