In search of a refreshment to enhance our carport grilling experience, Danny Rampage & I faced the heat yesterday with a sweltering stroll to the neighborhood liquor store. We gazed inside the beer cooler at the dazzling array of selections, and I noticed for the first time, that a hell of a lot of effort goes into the exterior of those cans. Going beer shopping is like going to an art museum.
Until yesterday I had never paid much attention to the packaging around my favorite yeasty drink. Granted, it could have just been the heat, but I was utterly captivated by the artistry. Some of the cans were statement pieces- simply designed, yet demanding attention, while others were so intricately detailed that I had to get right up close to admire each & every nuance. I pictured an artist, clad in a cute little smock and a black beret, listening to avant-garde music, flinging paint from palate to canvas with abandon! This went on until Danny snapped me back to reality and we walked home to enjoy our purchase. I actually felt kind of bad throwing my cans into the recycling bin when I was done. I had a moment where I thought maybe I should save them and put them on display somewhere in our apartment, but then I decided that those are likely the types of thoughts that go through a hoarder's mind right before things get problematic...
As Danny & I sat drinking in the carport, I had to wonder if perhaps the beer can artists feel a little resentful about the fact that they're essentially making visually striking garbage. Or maybe (like many artists) they're just happy to have their work on display for the public- no matter the fate of their designs. Last summer, our cover of Rocketman was played during several of the MN Twins home games, yet there was no announcement that it was Hot Pink Hangover performing... In fact, we wouldn't even have known it was happening had one of our fans not caught it on film & shared it with us! Nonetheless, we were pleased as punch to be getting played in front of so many people, even if they had no idea who they were listening to! I scrutinized the can in my hand, futilely trying to find the artist's signature. It seems that until someone decides to invent Shazam for the visual arts, beer can designers will remain a mystery.
To help bring to light all the creators who both make the beer & design the alluring labels, I would like to erect a Beer Can Museum. I envision that it would be constructed from a large barley silo and painted on the outside to look like a monstrous, yet inviting beer can. One would grow thirsty just looking at it! Inside, there would be a wing dedicated to growler art, another to bottles & cans through-the-ages. There would be a featured brew on tap, where the artist who designed the label would be on-site, clad in a little smock & black beret, flinging paint & doing signings. It will be the happiest place on earth.