After a windy, rainy spring, Long Neck artist Holly Fields-Scott has now completed a two-story-tall Kraken mural, bringing spectacular color to what had been a blank, black wall towering over the courtyard that links Dogfish Head and Chesapeake & Maine.
Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione recalled that from the beginning days of the company, it’s always had a do-it-yourself, nautical theme.
“I used to hand-draw the shark and shield in my basement, and then bring them over to the Cape Gazette for our ads,” said Calagione, during an interview May 21. “This Kraken is very much complementary to those beginnings – just on a much larger scale.”
The Kraken is a mythical monster of the sea said to torment sailors, and Calagione says it represents the company’s Rehoboth Avenue space well. He said the location is geographically close to the ocean, there’s the distillery, beer brewing, live music, Chesapeake & Maine’s seafood and Brewings & Eats offerings.
It’s a multifaceted location, said Calagione.
Sitting in the outdoor patio at Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats, with the face of the Kraken and one of those arms holding a beer looming down, Fields-Scott said the space was challenging. Because of all the glass showing off the distilling operation, little of the wall actually connects to the ground, she said, and the building is tall, but the space is limited, meaning from some angles the Kraken is stretched out to fit the space. The building is also black, which meant the ability to use shadows to create a 3D effect was limited.
“We couldn’t go any darker. Believe me, we tried,” said Fields-Scott, who has done street art all over the country and world.
Adding to the difficulty was having to work on scaffolding during the windy spring, said Fields-Scott.
“It was a challenge, but I was excited to do it,” she said.
Fields-Scott got some help from her daughter, Nevada Scott, who Fields-Scott said has been working with her since she could hold a brush.
“She came from college six weeks early because of COVID,” said Fields-Scott. “Having her really saved me.”
Scott, who is attending Rochester Institute of Technology to become a medical illustrator, said she’d be on the ground telling her mom a line needed to be five inches in one direction or the other to make sure the painting worked. Hundreds of pictures were taken to make sure the piece was working, she said.
Despite the challenges, Fields-Scott said, she thinks the painting should last as long as the cedar siding on the building lasts. It was great to paint on because the paint really soaked into the wood, she said.
Fields-Scott said Sam and Mariah Calagione contacted her last summer about the project. Something to bring color to the space between the two restaurants, she said, showing off one of the first sketches that included the Kraken’s arms down onto the glass.
Calagione said the piece of art is intentionally interactive. He said the 3D experience, with the arm coming out onto the concrete, will create a place for people to post photos on social media.
Physical work on the project began in early April, weeks ahead of the scheduled start. Fields-Scott said she hadn’t planned on working on the project until late April or early May, but when COVID-19 hit, her employer at her real job, Southern Tide Group, allowed her to move up the timeline.
It worked out well for everyone, because she said now some of the restrictions have been lifted, and she’s able to get back to her other work.
Calagione described having the piece painted during the pandemic-induced shutdown as kismet. It kind of spoke to the hopefulness and renewal that everyone will be seeking when this all passes, he said.
“We’re happier beyond our wildest imagination,” said Calagione, adding the company has a future plan to name the Kraken.