Be on the lookout for Brownsville Marina’s new sea monster

Sometime in the next few weeks, anyone visiting the Brownsville Marina or swimming in its waters will have to be wary. A new sea monster is moving in.

BROWNSVILLE — Sometime in the next few weeks, anyone visiting the Brownsville Marina or swimming in its waters will have to be wary. A new sea monster is moving in.

Colleen Dobbin, a house artist with ArtSLAM studio in Silverdale, and her family are installing a Gyarados statue that will shoot water from its nose and light up.

“A couple years ago, my dad and I made this skull to put on the end of this wave barrier (in the Brownsville Marina), because we’d always looked at the wave barrier (and thought) that looks like the skeleton of some monster. And my dad said, ‘Well, it needs a skull,’ ” Dobbin said.

That skull was damaged recently, however.

“It got hit by a boat and there was a storm … we had to take it out,” Dobbin said. “We were trying to decide what to do with it when (J.B. Morrison) said, ‘Why don’t you make it into some kind of Pokémon skull?’ And my dad was like, ‘Oh yes!’ So we decided to go ahead and turn it into this Pokémon skull.”

They picked Gyarados because, as any Pokémon fan can tell you, Gyarados is one of the fiercest sea monsters in the Pokémon lexicon, evolving from a nigh-useless, unassuming Magikarp.

So for the last couple weeks, Dobbin, her father and her two oldest children (ages 15 and 19) are working with recycled foam, fiberglass and bilge paint to create the head of a monstrous Gyarados. While Dobbin isn’t a big Pokémon fan herself, she said her four children and husband are. The two oldest chidren “grew up on it,” she said.

“My kids could have very easily spent their entire summer sitting at their computer, and they would have, happily,” Dobbin said.

Instead, they’re outside working to create this community art project, which will include glowing eyes and a water spout, thanks to an underwater power cable.

Dobbin said the project is partially an effort to bring more people to the Brownsville Marina.

“We’re trying to encourage kids and young people in our area to get out, exercise and learn about the incredible resources they have right in front of them.

“I grew up in Kansas, so Puget Sound, to me, is magical, because it’s got sea life and it’s beautiful. I grew up in a place where we had giant mud holes they called lakes … and you swam in them because it was the only thing available.”

She said that if a Pokémon statue can help draw youth to the marina, then she’s happy to have a hand in building it.

“The Brownsville Marina is really such a beautiful spot … it’s a really gorgeous marina that we’re trying to get more people to come down and spend some time appreciating,” Dobbin said. “If making a giant Pokémon skull will help with that, help get kids more interested in the environment and taking care of the Puget Sound and our oceans, then its worth it.”

Dobbin said much of her art, which is regularly displayed at ArtSLAM Studio in the Kitsap Mall, is fan art, featuring things people can recognize from “Doctor Who,” “Supernatural,” “Alice in Wonderland” and more.

“A fellow artist said the cool thing about my art is kids come in and they’re bored … and they see my art and go, ‘That’s a Tardis! I know what that is,’ ” Dobbin said. “It makes young people want to do art, because they see it and think, ‘Wow, art isn’t just boring landscapes. It can be anything that inspires you.’ ”

And that’s Dobbin’s goal, and the goal of ArtSLAM, she said: bringing art to kids.

“My goal is to make sure that every kid in this community has access to art,” she said. “To make sure all the kids, and adults, have access to affordable art classes, taught professionally.”

Making the Gyarados sculpture, she said, is just one more way to bring art to the community.

“(We’re) basically just trying to open up to the community a whole new accessible art, and to start with the kids,” Dobbin said. “You start with the kids because if you learn art when you’re young, it’s something you’ll do for the rest of our life, because once you get the knack of it and the hang of it and the love of it, it’s just something you never let go.”

Will she and her family create more Pokémon statues in their community? Well, Dobbin said they’ve already discussed the possibility of building a Pikachu statue.

“We really would like to do more artwork, in general, more outdoor artwork down at the marina to make it a place you can go to see sculptures,” Dobbin said.

“Art is something that, when you’re an artist, you can’t not do. You have to have a project in the works. At least one, if not more. I have several.”

Colleen Dobbin works on the skull of Gyarados for the community art project she’s completing with her family. The statue will be in the water of Brownsville Marina, attached to a wave protector Dobbin described as looking “like the spine of some sea animal.” Photo by Michelle Beahm