Art and beer. Beer and art. Beer is art. Today's For the Love of Craft Beer is a unique one. It's unique in the sense that this is the first post that isn't featuring a local brewer, instead we're featuring a local Austin artist, Angi Wilkes. Angi Wilkes is originally from Germany, so it goes without saying she thoroughly enjoys beer. Her art revolves around reflections, reflections off of beer glassware that is. Art truly is a reflection of a person's life and a person's ideas. So what does Angi say about her artwork? What does she say about how beer and art go together? Let's find out!
What made you decide to do art revolving around beer?
“This is what happens when you combine your two passions in life!”
I've been a beer drinker since the time I was allowed to drink (not really a surprise growing up in Germany!). But was I passionate about it? Probably not at the age of 16. It actually took me quite a while to really get excited about a good beer and not just want to drink it for the sake of drinking it, but savor it. Art, on the other hand, I always had a lot of interest in seeing new works.
Growing up in Germany (and my parents) enabled me to travel Europe with and without them ever since I could walk. With every trip there was at least one visit to a museum gallery and also (usually more than one time) to a bar for a beer. So, not knowing at the time that one day this "knowledge" will come in handy, my like-and-not like-list of different beers began to grow. When I moved to the US and lived in GA for four years I basically stopped drinking beer because, well, sorry to say this, I couldn't find anything but this light yellow-colored "rice-water".
However, that changed when I bought the first home brew kit for my husband a few years ago. We began learning about the different styles and characteristics. We went to tastings and were in the search for new beers around town. It wasn't just about drinking the beer anymore; it was the aroma, the appearance, the flavor and the mouth-feel. We had turned into beer-snobs! Along with that I took pictures of the different beers, glasses and bottles we came across in our search. I don't remember the exact day when it hit me, I was probably just doodling or editing pictures when I thought about using my beer-photos for my art. That was about one and a half years ago now. Since then I took hundreds of pictures, did lots of research, tasted I don't know how many beers (thanks to Untappd I now know it's a lot!!!), and currently have my first show hanging in the tasting room of a local brewery, which makes me think that my life is like an "Überraschungs-Ei" (Slogan: "Something exciting, something to play with AND chocolate"). I see my life, but not what will be in the future, but there always be art and BEER!
Do you think beer and art go hand-in-hand?
Isn't making beer a form of art? At first, brewers come up with an idea, which they “sketch” out, then make some sort of template (test brew) and with the use of different techniques and compositions they come to a result. For me it is exactly like making a new piece of art. It does go hand-in-hand, and I don’t say this because I use beer or actually beer-glasses for my subject matter. Just think about it, especially as a beer enthusiast you see “beer-art” all the time. You know a brewery by their logo and a beer by their label. Breweries like Sierra Nevada, Dogfish Head, Rogue or Jester King, only to mention a few, commission the same designers/artists for their label designs. The purpose of the labels is to reflect the beer before you get to see, smell and taste it and it should resemble the name.
Do certain beers, or beer styles, help you in getting inspiration?
No, not really. Of course I have my favorite beers, but, as mentioned before, my art is more about the glasses and the reflections than the actual content. I’m obsessed with reflections and I love the different shaped glasses of certain beers – if you’ve been to Belgium you know what I mean. I do have to say though, that I keep going back to snifters. I experimented with pint glasses before, but they’re just not interesting enough. Beer brings people together and I believe it is the reflection of their culture, as my art reflects me. The main idea behind my style is to combine and fuse my past and present. But instead of the beer you see a reflection of a place or event, which plays or played a big role in my life. If I really enjoy a beer I start to reminisce about my life and what made me to the person I am today. I get inspired by the moment, and if I’m having a beer when that happens even better. When I’m out taking pictures, it has to feel right. Most of the time they just happen and when I feel like I have a couple good images I start editing. Within the next couple month I will make some additions to my art besides screen prints and digital prints. But I’m still just at the beginning and I hope there’s a lot more to come.
Do you have a favorite style of beer, or a favorite beer?
I do like the majority of styles, including Ciders (Apfelwein) and Meads – especially Apfelwein, but that’s a different story.
My favorite beers will always be the ones I grew up drinking: Spaten Dunkel Lager and Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier. Besides that I think my favorite styles change with the seasons. This past winter I couldn’t get enough of smoky spicy beers and currently it’s the Sours I’m looking for.
Where can we find your work in Austin?
Currently six of my pieces are hanging at the Gallery Black Lagoon. On August 18th I will be in a showcase by RAW: AUSTIN at The Belmont. I will have a solo show at The Dig Pub in Cedar Park in October and there is a chance I will show somewhere in September. But you can always check my website www.angiwilkes.com to see my latest prints.
To find out more about Angi Wilkes and her art, go to her website here.