If you’ve ever dropped by The Bearded Lady, Chimera Brewing Company, or The Collective Brewing Project, then you’ve seen Kacey Dowd’s chalk art. Her bright swirls of pastels and custom lettering have adorned the Bearded Lady’s bar for two years. More recently, Chimera and CBP have hired her to gussy up the breweries’ wall-mounted beer menus.
Dowd stumbled upon the gig two years ago while working at The Bearded Lady. A co-worker decided to draw Halloween-themed doodles on the bar’s chalkboard that fall. Dowd, who had previously trained to be a tattoo artist, asked if she could take a stab at it next. Over the next weeks, customers began noticing and commenting on her intricate drawings. Perhaps they noticed her precision or maybe her natural grasp for visually branding each beer.
“The name goes a long way in informing the image,” Dowd said.
As we sat chatting at Chimera over beers, she pointed toward a moon-like picture she had drawn on the beer menu.
“That’s Plutoweizen,” she said, referring to the Chimera-brewed beer. “So, naturally, I drew Pluto.”
Bearded Lady co-owners Shannon Osbakken and Eric Clayton realized early on that Dowd should be remunerated for all the time she was spending on the art. Soon after her Halloween debut, she started focusing a lot on her chalkwork. Two years into the venture, Dowd has become somewhat of an expert on the limestone-based artform.
Her weapon of choice? Nothing fancy. Crayola soft chalk does the trick, she said. The sticks are soft enough that blending colors doesn’t become a chore, she said.
There are a few downsides to chalk art.
“Sometimes, I hate it,” she said with a laugh, adding that sometimes the chalk “dries out” her hands.
And then there’s the blanket of chalk dust that followers her home after work. And then there are the eight hours or so she spends standing on a ladder to see each project through. But she admits there’s nothing she’d rather be doing. Dowd is an ardent supporter of local breweries and Fort Worth’s micro-brew movement. The fact that her art supports local craft beer breweries and pubs is just gravy, she said.
Slowly but steadily, Dowd’s reputation has grown. Each drawing is bittersweet. At some point, most, if not all, of her drawings are erased and replaced with new images. She always takes a commemorative photo before saying adios, though.
“But it gives me a chance to do something new,” she said.
On Tap this Week
Rahr & Sons Brewing updates: The Fort Worth is now available as a year-round offering in cans and on tap starting this month. The Fort Worth is named in honor of the naval ship the USS Fort Worth, and a portion of sales are donated to the USS Fort Worth Support Committee. The brewery will host a special tasting on Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 21, during which Rahr will present a check to the support committee from sales of the beer’s initial release last August.
Also in May, Rahr & Sons will release seasonal favorite Summertime Wheat in cans for the first time. The brewery recently installed a new canning line that has doubled the brewery’s canning capacity.