“Seattle has an enormous number of dogs per capita,” artist Ariel Parrow says with a laugh.
Parrow, a 30-year-old Seattle artist who works under the moniker Chaotic Aquatic, was honored to highlight the region’s large community of pet parents – and celebrate some of Chewy’s earliest customers - with her latest work.
The 15 ft. tall, 50 ft. wide “Ultimate Pet Portrait” is a heartfelt community gesture to herald the arrival of Chewy’s new corporate offices in Bellevue, Washington, and is inspired by Chewy’s beloved practice of surprising and delighting pet parents with personalized portraits of their pets. When the mural is unveiled on March 22, those customers will have the chance to see their pets’ larger-than-life likenesses themselves.
“It’s a really simple composition with a neat background, and there’s a sense of playfulness,” Parrow says, describing her homage to local pets.
The “Ultimate Pet Portrait” is the third Chewy installment of its kind, following murals in Miami and Boston painted last year in honor of the company’s 10th Anniversary. It is the latest of Parrow’s street art creations in Seattle, which also include a larger-than-life apple mural at Pike Place Market and a pickup truck adorned with tropical plants at Tiki Motors car dealership, among others. In fact, this isn’t the first time she’s shown the city of Seattle a little puppy love. During the pandemic, Parrow helped shine some much-needed light on downtown Seattle, where many stricken businesses had boarded windows, by painting a mural of puppies on the plywood boards outside of the Palihotel Seattle.
After all, she laughs, “Who doesn’t love puppies?”
Parrow is from Missoula, Montana, and was drawn to the cultural vibrancy of Seattle while studying art at the University of Montana. She dabbled in animation and video production before focusing on painting.
She enjoys the challenge of completing a large-scale projects like murals, and also appreciates that murals are free, public art for an entire community to enjoy. It’s an honor, she says, to create part of the visual landscape where people live and work.
“Everybody gets to experience it, and I think that can really help add a level of shared conversation to a community space, and to be a visual landmark,” she says.
For “The Ultimate Pet Portrait,” Parrow spent several months concepting, designing and painting the work, which she finished March 10.
While Parrow says she is still refining her artistic style and voice, she is adept at channeling pet personalities and developed a fondness and familiarity with each character she painted. The bright hues of the mural are a natural expression of the warmth that pets bring to her own life.
So far, Parrow says, the reception has been enthusiastic from both people and pets alike. “Everyone was so sweet and excited!” she says. “We got an overwhelming amount of positive feedback, which has been really cute.”
So, if you’re ever in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, take a moment to visit Seattle’s newest mural and appreciate Parrow’s pet masterpiece. And hey, if you want to bring your pup and hang out at the dog park afterwards, even better—bringing pets and people together is what this work of art is all about.
Visit “The Ultimate Pet Portrait” at 1532 Broadway, Seattle, Washington 98122.
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