My job as an artist is to document life and to make art that people like to look at. I paint beers, because I am into beer. I also paint trucks, planes, trees, mountains, and animals, because that is what I am surrounded by. If you release a product out into the world, and I run into it, I might decide to put it into a painting.
A pretty famous California brewery recently told me I am no longer allowed to sell paintings of their beer. They told me they want to keep anything with an image of their product strictly under their control. I understand this and respect their decision, even though it frustrates me that they decided to let me know after I have already made 6 different paintings (all original compositions) of their beers. I even painted live at their brewery’s taproom with their permission. Now that it has been revoked, I feel a little cheated. It’s hard to describe, because I don’t really feel like I have done anything wrong, but I do feel like something negative has happened here. I don’t intend to stop making paintings of beer, but I also don’t intend to drink any more of that brewery’s product, which is fine, because it is actually pretty hard to get, especially in Alaska.
I will continue to make commissions of any beer you want (excluding the breweries that forbid it). I like to tell a story when I make a painting, and a successful painting causes a response from the viewer. I want to evoke positive responses. Normally, beer paintings make a viewer thirsty for that beer, bring up a memory of a good time, or simply bring joy to the person who is looking at it. That is all I really want to do. I never want to offend.
I hope there aren’t many more unpleasant messages that come my way, telling me to stop doing my work. I will continue with the exercise of documenting life, and telling visual stories with my artwork. The good news is that there are a lot of small breweries and 99.99% of them value my work. So, I will work with the ones that like what I am doing.
So, a toast to positive future vibes, and I hope you all continue to view, purchase, gift, and enjoy my art, as I intend to continue making it.