When artist David Chatowsky was commissioned to paint Jersey Barriers at the ongoing HarborArts outdoor exhibit at the Boston Shipyard and Marina on Marginal Street he was encouraged by locals to paint a clipper ship.
“Everyone kept telling me ‘you have to do a clipper ship’ and I kept hearing about the Flying Cloud,” said Chatowsky, a Rhode Island native. “So I researched clipper ships and their history here in East Boston. I read about Donald McKay and his work and the importance of this ship the Flying Cloud.”
So as Chatowsky was planning his mural he put the Flying Cloud in the back of his mind for a few weeks.
“Then the people from HarborArts kept asking me if I had chosen a clipper ship to paint,” he explained. “I told them I had not.”
That was until one day, by chance, Chatowsky found himself in a consignment store in Wakefield, R.I. poking around some of the antiques.
“So there, in the basement of this shop in Rhode Island behind a few pieces of wood and facing the wall was a painting,” said Chatowsky.
He walked over and turned the painting around and found it was a Dutch painter’s painting of the McKay’s most famous ship.
“I immediately called HarborArts and told them I was doing the Flying Cloud as my mural,” said Chatowsky.
Chatowsky’s mural is symbolic of the new age of environmental stewardship. The image of the Flying Cloud clipper ship returning to Boston Harbor at dawn represents mans’ long awaited return to his original role as the steward of creation. The dark colors represent the negative environmental impact man has had in the past. The warm colors of the rising sun signify our future environmental successes. The three dolphins herald the return of man to the role he was created for – steward of the oceans.
Chatowsky is also working on other pieces in and around the shipyard and hopes to be able to work with local kids on art and environmental awareness.
He is currently painting a mermaid mural on the side of one of the shipyard’s buoy tug boats.
“The guys here at the shipyard have been great,” said Chatowsky. “It’s been a lot of fun working down here and meeting all these great people from East Boston.”
Chatowsky was born in Rhode Island but was raised on Florida’s Gulf of Mexico. There he gained a deep appreciation for the environment and the sea.
“It’s always been part of my life since I was a little kid,” he said.
Before painting the mural here Chatowsky spent time in Nicaragua teaching poor kids the fundamentals of art.
“That was a rewarding experience,” he said. “But I left there for Miami and drove from Florida to here to work on this mural.”
Chatowsky been in Eastie ever since garnering support for his unique work here and other seaside hamlets.
“I have a 100 ft. long mural painted on Jersey Barriers where the ferry lets tourists off on Block Island in Rhode Island,” he said.
Chatowsky wants to be able to take the mural he did of the Flying Cloud and try and do other 3D art in murals throughout the neighborhood with the help of local kids.
“I’m talking right now with the Salesians Boys and Girls Club and seeing if there are some classes I can do over there with the kids,” he said.