Bottle labels are, to me, very important. They express the thought and care that goes in to every part of the process. In a world where beer styles can blend in to each other, labels stick out, catch the eye and provoke a curiosity in the beer. Hell, myself and I’m sure many of you have purchased a beer based purely on the label art and have had excellent results from it. Collecting label art is a hobby of many as well. It’s a part of the beer-making process that is incredibly important and shouldn’t be overlooked.
The idea for this post came to me in two moments. The first was shortly after I was talking to the owner of a brewery about bottle label designs. He expressed an interest in a particular artist I knew (Manny Hernaez, who did my wonderful header). I sent an e-mail to both of them introducing each other and felt pretty damn good about hooking up an artist with work from a brewery that wants to use him.
The second moment came to me when I was visiting my friends Katelan Foisy and Melissa Dowell (the latter of which has a Narwhal BBQ Skewer Kickstarter you should all get in on) in a bar in Astoria. A beer was ordered and there was some frustration at a particular bottle that was quite ugly, with very little thought or skill put in to it. From there it went to me thinking of matching up some people via e-mail again, but then it REALLY hit me that I would be able to get a wider group of people, breweries, homebrewers, bars, promoters….anyone who needs an incredible beer label or poster or, in many cases as well, a web site, by making a post. So here we are, part 1 of a series of posts on artists I love whose work should go on a beer label.
NOTE: I’m not a rep for these artists and am not the one to talk to regarding inquiries. So I have included for you their web sites with portfolios, contact info and social media links along with a description from their site on their work (along with a few personal words from me). If you’re interested in their work and would like to commission a label or other piece of work, contact the artists individually. I can also confirm that every artist I put up in this series has experience with design and can design the label from a technical side as well as artistic.
Recognitions: American Illustration 32, Society of Illustrators Student Competition 2013, Seattle Erotic Art Festival Juried Exhibition 2013, The Kennedy Center Certificate of Merit
“Yao’s work is published in anthologies, magazines and featured in prestigious collections such as American Illustration and the Society of Illustrators. Having a foundation in oil painting and sculpture, Yao makes vibrant, graphic and narrative images that are influenced by her diverse experience. She has found herself on a week-long bus trip across the US at one moment and drawing portraits at a secret speakeasy in 1920’s garbs at another. She enjoys that her work covers a wide variety of subjects–ranging from posters for underground parties, editorial illustrations for world travel magazines, and even to covers for adult novels. However most importantly, Yao likes to tell stories. Yao Xiao believes that stories are a basic form of communication that helps to bring people together, and that in every story there is personal truth. Her job is to create these personal truths through her art, drawing upon real characters and emotions, but not being limited by the conventions of reality as we normally observe it.”
I’ve been a huge fan of Yao’s for a while now. Her art ranges from simple and beautiful to complex and exisquite. I’m always left breathless when she produces a final piece or even when she posts progress photos on her twitter page (which she does frequently).
“Katelan Foisy is a visual artist who specializes in collage and acrylic mixed media paintings. Her ruminative mixed media collages often evoke a gamut of emotion through the rich layers and textural combinations. Her illustration clients have included, The Grammy Awards, Out Magazine, The Progressive and many others. Her collaged portraits and mixed-media paintings have graced the pages of Scholastic Books and the walls of Young & Rubicam. Ensemble Studio Theater even had her work grace their stage. She was the art-director for Constellation Magazine from 2007-2010.”
I feel very blessed to consider Katelan a friend. Since first meeting her a few years ago I can definitely say that she has a way of bringing out artistic inspiration in others. Her work is very honest and beautiful, sometimes evoking the luxurious decadence of the cabaret and absinthe lifestyle, but never forgetting the dark side of things. You never feel just one emotion with her pieces, and I really appreciate that. And although I did mention it up top, I have to thank her here as well for being an instigator in my thought process for this post.
Bill “Oddbill” Cunningham
“I Iike the way the chalk feels, the clouds of loose technicolor dust I have to blow off the paper, talking to the women who sit for me, translating them into completely nonsensical colors. What I hope is that there is something engaging about these pictures, that they catch your eye the way they did mine as I drew them. It’s really no more complicated than that.”
There are many things that stick out about Bill’s pieces. The line work, the shading…but for me the colours he uses are what stay in my mind long after I’ve seen them. Each piece instantly catches the eye and you find yourself wanting to see more.
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