Those who pass by Barrier Brewing Co. while riding the Long Island Rail Road through East Rockaway will soon have a bird’s eye view of a unique mural that is being painted to ring in the establishment’s new outdoor patio area.
On weekends, Brooklyn artist Chris Jehly is often found surrounded by dozens upon dozens of cans of spray paint near the patio — his makeshift workstation — using the wall as his canvas.
“I’ve never seen an artist bring so much paint to one wall,” said Brad Devins, also of Brooklyn, who has photographed the progress of the mural. “The dude has like hundreds of cans of spray paint just to make sure he has the right shade for any color to get the right detail.”
Devins founded Owley, an art and media collective based in Bushwick. It was through the creation of the business that he met many local artists, one of whom told him to connect with Jehly. When he finally did, Devins recalled, he was quite taken by his artistic vision.
“I reached out and he was just the most positive, hilarious and incredibly bright person,” Devins said. “He has knowledge of movie quotes and movie scenes like no one I’ve ever met.”
The two continued to connect at art shows and Devins said people are often impressed by Jehly’s work. Devins said he has enjoyed going to Barrier Brewery and is pleased with the artistic taste they display on their beer labels and happy that they sold local art inside. He contacted them about possibly painting a mural and asked Jehly if he was interested in creating it. Both sides agreed, and Jehly has been working feverishly on the artwork, which depicts colorful sea creatures and waves.
Devins said the goal is for Jehly to finish the mural by the end of the month and that there have been talks to have an unveiling party and pop-up art sale at Barrier to celebrate the new patio, which will have outdoor heaters during the winter.
Devins said he has enjoyed photographing the journey. “I really appreciate artists who give back,” he said, “and they’re always growing and they appreciate a challenge and are excited about a challenge, and Chris is definitely one of those people. He’ll take on basically anything.”
To learn more about Owley, visit itsowley.com