You may have noticed that a lot of my beer paintings portray beer labels, which are often registered trademarks, protected by copyright laws, or whatever the legal terminology is. Most breweries are flattered by my paintings, and many of them have bought one, or more, but a few select businesses have decided to hold the letter of the law against me. Well, I haven’t actually been sued (yet), I’ve just received many “cease and desist” notices, and one phone call. The offended entities include, Heineken, a motorcycle group of thugs (I’d rather not mention its name), Dogfish Head, Lawson’s Finest Liquids, and Naturdays. New Glarus Brewing called me to let me know they’re on to me, but said I could keep selling prints of Spotted Cow as long as I didn’t go too far. To be fair, when I met Sam Calagione at Dogfish Head, he told me he loves my Year of Beer Paintings series, so I think the “cease and desist” had nothing to do with Sam, and came from one of the brewery’s lawyers who had nothing better to do that day. The motorcycle thugs talked about litigation, after I questioned why they asked Etsy to take down my painting of Midnight Sun Brewing’s Fallen Angel only because one of the tags (SEO keywords) mentioned the group’s name. So they extra suck. I deleted the keyword, and renewed the listing.
Art should not be censored! The art I make with beers from breweries actually helps the breweries sell more beer. It is free and positive advertising. I write a blog post gushing over the brewery whenever I release a new painting. I have to like the beer to spend hours of my time making a painting of it, so of course my review will be positive. Many people who have purchased a beer painting from me have told me they buy way more of that specific beer after they hang the painting. It’s sticklers for the rules that just make life a lot less fun.
I only have one original oil painting left of the “censored” paintings. The rest all sold before they were discovered by lawyers. This Heineken painting (see below) is 12″ x 24″, oil on panel, framed in a natural wood frame. If anyone wants it, I’ll sell it to you for $195, and domestic shipping is on the house.
I hope you are staying safe, eating right, and drinking quality craft beer! I toast to the breweries who are supportive of the arts and know that partnerships and collaborations are the way to go!