Kraken’s second annual “Green Night” will feature familiar artist’s Pacific-deep green hues in a seaweeds-turned-creature ‘S’ and a fluorescent-red look from ocean depths — by Bob Condor
Local artist and community engager Angelina “179” Villalobos was commissioned by the Kraken and Climate Pledge Arena organizations before either was officially named. A couple of years before any puck was dropped at center ice between the twin video boards, she painted a “giant wave” mural on the arena site’s outer construction wall not far from the International Fountain on the Seattle Center campus.
Fittingly, Villalobos’ art comes full circle this week when the Kraken wear her specially-designed warmup jerseys to honor Green Night presented by Puget Sound Energy Thursday against the Arizona Coyotes. The customized and player-signed jerseys will be available for live auction bids during the game.
Villalobos’ jersey artwork is inspired by the “murky greens of the Pacific Ocean” and the Kraken brand’s intentional decision to “show the eye or one tentacle, but you never see the whole Kraken.”
Here’s what immediately came to mind for Villalobos: “I thought, ‘oh, this is like when kelp touches you. Because if you’re swimming in the Pacific Ocean, you can only see maybe six feet down. Underneath that, it goes dark and murky. There’s all this free-flowing seaweed and kelp. If it catches your feet, it’s, it’s sort of scary, foreboding, like the Kraken.”
The stunning result is a fluttery-seaweed “S” in multiple green colors (nice touch given the four hues of Kraken blue) easily imagined as a creature too. “Green Night” merchandise at the Kraken team stores includes sharp t-shirts (short- and long-sleeve) and hats.
While Villalobos confides she likes to include all sorts of colors for her murals, along with the greens she wanted to honor the Kraken brand’s dip into red.
“I decided on almost a fluorescent red to be like that burning passion, that burning eye [of the Kraken “S”],” said Villalobos during a recent phone conversation. “We have that eye to insinuate, like the Kraken, it is looking at you through the depths of the ocean. I wanted to keep that because when you’re in the Olympic rainforest, it’s dead silent – one of the most silent places in the world. I just wanted to keep that air of mystery. I used it in the anchor logo too.”
One more color choice: the warmup jersey will feature letter and number colors in bright oranges that “capture the danger and excitement sometimes found in nature.”
“I just wanted to make sure the names of the players stood out the most,” said Villalobos, “because sometimes on jersey’s name are a little more hidden. I wanted those names to be out there.”
Villalobos is a muralist who got her artistic start with Panels for Progress and also as part of Urban Artworks at the Inscape Building located in the International District. She currently is a member of Vivid Matter Collective in Capitol Hill (“We’re the ones that did the Black Lives Matter mural”). The collective will be presenting youth workshops this summer and has a gallery space to share the art.
Villalobos aims to “help people process all the colors that they see in the world.” As a Seattle native, she loves sharing with non-Seattleites the “spectacular falls, evergreen winters, neon springs, and golden summers of the Pacific Northwest.”
“I spend a lot of time outside in nature just trying to find my place in the order of things as an artist,” said Villalobos. “I wanted to capture the beauty of the green that is surrounding us, plus how much we rely on the energy of nature. Not just physically, like we burn wood and we have wind turbines.”
“I did a project with Puget Sound Energy to paint a wind turbine for them. I wanted the feel of the collective energy of just being outside and breathing in the fresh air. For the jersey, I wanted to do something green and stay true to the underwater ocean roots.”
Villalobos’ through-line with the Kraken and Climate Pledge Arena includes painting a commissioned mural for the American Express Hall at the arena. Her work inspired the Seahawks to reach out for two different projects, including a game-day poster.
“I feel like I’ve worked so hard in the beginning part of my career that now I’m starting to reap the benefits,” said Villalobos. “It’s not just being able to show my work. I was able to leave my full-time job and pursue art full-time.”
Rejoining the Kraken and Climate Pledge Arena for a third time, with the tangible products of jerseys and swag, is a fitting turn: “This is such a unique opportunity. “I’m still just so blown away.”