Alumni Spotlight: Scott Clendaniel

J. Besl

B.A. Art ’09
Hometown: Spokane, Wash. (but in Anchorage since age 7)
Fun Fact: Scott and his wife Maria have traveled the entire Pacific Coast from Washington to southern California on a tandem bike.

Disappointed by Hawai’i? Jazzed about Pennsylvania? Scott Clendaniel sees the world a little differently. For someone as invested in beer brewing, it makes sense— Pennsylvania is home to the nation’s oldest active brewery, whereas heat contamination is a constant threat in the tropics. “Hawai’i was kind of a bummer for beer,” he shrugged.


Beer, art and business blend together for Scott, who has worked as a full-time artist for nearly nine years. Together with his wife and business partner Maria, the duo are tackling their largest challenge to date. It’s a new year’s resolution with a following—release a new beer portrait every day for an entire year.


He kicked off his aptly-titled Year of Beer series in late December near Caribou Creek at Resurrection Pass. Scott and Maria were holed up at a forest service cabin on the Kenai only accessible by ski trails when he broke out the oil paints and started the series. The painting project has since continued in Hawai’i, at the couple’s cabin-in-progress in McCarthy, the tasting room at HooDoo Brewery in Fairbanks, and will carry over to the fertile crescent of American brewing—Pennsylvania—on a trip this fall. Why Pennsylvania? “There are more breweries in the one city of Philadelphia than there are in the entire state of Alaska,” Scott said.


Most of his work, though, takes place in his home studio. With a refrigerator full of beer humming in one corner and an easel gifted from the UAA painting lab in the other, the small studio space is a clear indicator of his two life passions.


Cheers to UAA


Scott has been painting since his AP art classes in high school. He continued painting on his first forays in higher education (both at Westerns—first Western State Colorado University, then Western Oregon University). After a few rudderless years, he opted to leave university life and return to Alaska. That’s when inspiration struck.


“I was working at the brew supply store [in town] and decided I needed to do some paintings right now,” he said. “So I quit the brew supply store and did these paintings [his first beer series, called The Color of Beer].” The first batch was surprisingly well received, and Scott had found an unexpected niche spanning the worlds of both art and craft beer. “It was cool to see just how popular beer paintings were,” he said.


With a first taste of success, Scott decided to enroll at UAA and complete the art degree he had started years earlier. “I was paying my tuition by selling paintings at the time, which I thought was fairly remarkable,” he said.


“I learned a lot. Some of the most important things I learned in life were during those last three years. UAA has some of the best professors. The art program was really awesome, the building is fantastic, the painting lab has these huge ceilings.” Scott’s final project, on a 10’ by 6’ foot canvas, took full advantage of the cavernous space.


“Every year in college is great, but the last three were probably the best” he said, hoisting a pint of his homebrewed cream ale.
“So cheers to UAA.”


99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall


Scott continued painting beer while at UAA, juggling his diverse classes with an ambitious personal project dubbed 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall. “I was coming home and doing all these beer paintings. I didn’t get any credit for any of the beer paintings but I was definitely honing my skills during that project. It took like four years, but I did successfully make all 99 of them.”


Again, the beer portraits received a lot of support. Scott credits his wife Maria for the positive response. “She’s my wife and business manager. She does everything for me,” he said. After Maria earned her M.B.A. from Alaska Pacific University, the duo decided it would be best to team up—Scott would paint, Maria would manage the business, and both could continue their adventurous free-spirited lives together. For 99 Bottles, Maria revealed each painting online one day at a time over a three-month span, ending with a show at Midnight Sun Brewing Company in their recently completed loft space.


The rollout generated buzz and attention and his opening turned into one of the more memorable moments of his career. Barb Miller, one of the owners of Midnight Sun, toasted the special occasion with a rare bottle of M—historically among the most expensive beer ever sold in the world. Scott estimated that, at the time, a single bottle was worth around $1,000. It’s since sold for over $1,700. Clearly, this was a big moment for a beer nut.
The overwhelming success of his personal side project set the path for his current quest—adding 365 new beers to the wall.


Scott continued painting beer while at UAA, juggling his diverse classes with an ambitious personal project dubbed 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall. “I was coming home and doing all these beer paintings. I didn’t get any credit for any of the beer paintings but I was definitely honing my skills during that project. It took like four years, but I did successfully make all 99 of them.”


Again, the beer portraits received a lot of support. Scott credits his wife Maria for the positive response. “She’s my wife and business manager. She does everything for me,” he said. After Maria earned her M.B.A. from Alaska Pacific University, the duo decided it would be best to team up—Scott would paint, Maria would manage the business, and both could continue their adventurous free-spirited lives together. For 99 Bottles, Maria revealed each painting online one day at a time over a three-month span, ending with a show at Midnight Sun Brewing Company in their recently completed loft space.


The rollout generated buzz and attention and his opening turned into one of the more memorable moments of his career. Barb Miller, one of the owners of Midnight Sun, toasted the special occasion with a rare bottle of M—historically among the most expensive beer ever sold in the world. Scott estimated that, at the time, a single bottle was worth around $1,000. It’s since sold for over $1,700. Clearly, this was a big moment for a beer nut.
The overwhelming success of his personal side project set the path for his current quest—adding 365 new beers to the wall.


Scott continued painting beer while at UAA, juggling his diverse classes with an ambitious personal project dubbed 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall. “I was coming home and doing all these beer paintings. I didn’t get any credit for any of the beer paintings but I was definitely honing my skills during that project. It took like four years, but I did successfully make all 99 of them.”


Again, the beer portraits received a lot of support. Scott credits his wife Maria for the positive response. “She’s my wife and business manager. She does everything for me,” he said. After Maria earned her M.B.A. from Alaska Pacific University, the duo decided it would be best to team up—Scott would paint, Maria would manage the business, and both could continue their adventurous free-spirited lives together. For 99 Bottles, Maria revealed each painting online one day at a time over a three-month span, ending with a show at Midnight Sun Brewing Company in their recently completed loft space.


The rollout generated buzz and attention and his opening turned into one of the more memorable moments of his career. Barb Miller, one of the owners of Midnight Sun, toasted the special occasion with a rare bottle of M—historically among the most expensive beer ever sold in the world. Scott estimated that, at the time, a single bottle was worth around $1,000. It’s since sold for over $1,700. Clearly, this was a big moment for a beer nut.
The overwhelming success of his personal side project set the path for his current quest—adding 365 new beers to the wall.


A Year of Beer


For this yearlong series, he’s focusing on craft beers, whether they’re from the 49th state or around the world. “I like to keep it local, because the beer is best when you’re close to home,” he said. “The beer here [in Alaska] is world-class in my opinion.”

Read more about Scott and his "year of beer" on UAA's Green and Gold News site. For daily updates as the Year of Beer unfold visit Scott's blog where he release a new painting every day, and to purchase Scott's work visit his Etsy page here.


J. Besl
J. Besl, UAA Office of Advancement