Local Beer-Label Designs Offer Unique Canvas For Artists

By Allison Ward
The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) We don’t often think of the artistic value of that beer can we are cracking open. With that said, you may want to look twice before you take a gulp. For some artists, beer labels have become a terrific way to express artistic creativity.

The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio

The proliferation of craft beers has yielded a broad mix of art to accompany the scientific brewing process.

The canvas? The can itself — or, in the case of bottled beer, the label.

Brewers, after all, hope to entice customers to choose their brands from among the ever-growing number of choices in the typical supermarket.

“Beer labels used to be an afterthought,” said Mira Lee, a co-owner of the Actual Brewing Co. on the East Side with her husband, Fred.

“(But) brewers and breweries are now taking the aesthetics seriously.”

Some artists spin a story with a design; others tell a joke.

Regardless, the personality prevails.

So, today Life & Arts takes a closer look at the art on a sampling of homegrown brews.

East Side

Designer: Mira Lee, a co-founder of the brewery

Style: “People say it’s art deco, but they often overlook the medieval manuscript,”she said. “I’m merging the 1500s and the 1920s — which is difficult to do. “Each has an animal and a woman and at least one science joke on it. They are all built out of fairy tales — some more than others.”

Inspiration: The influences include silent-film stars and circus performers, burlesque and theater.
“I work from reference photos from the historical past. Some of the girls (on the bottles) are friends, wives, women I have sit for photos.”

Process: With a name selected by her team, she chooses a color and an animal. Research consumes most of her designing time, given the usual difficulty in finding a decent photo of an animal. With ideas in hand, she begins the illustration on a computer.

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