April 7, 2010

Portland's Upright Brewing Brings Nudity to Label Art

Since it's my third post, I guess it's a good time to mention that art is supposed to challenge people sometimes. And that I firmly believe that anyone who appreciates art and aesthetics should also recognize the beauty and worthiness of the human form when it comes to depictions.

Read: If you're squeamish about nipples, now's the time to stop reading.

Via Beernews.org, again:

Upright Brewing in Portland, OR, is celebrating their first anniversary with "Four Play," a Belgian-style sour, using bretts and cherry puree along with Pinot Noir barrels. Sounds delicious. But the label art will certainly cause a buzz:

First, the quality of this work is excellent. Looks like digital design, and the butterflies really pop against the topless woman who is the background. The designs in the wings serve as a good venue for lettering (though some of it looks understanably a bit forced), and the overall color palate is a nice, hot, summer look.

And since we're talking about hot...

I think the use of the bare-breasted woman biting her finger is great. They actually manage to evoke sensuousness, rather than just making the body an attention-grabber (which, obviously, it is). In art, depicting the difference between eroticism and just naked people is one of the harder things to do. Anyone can paint a nude, or show some boobs. It's much harder to create an image with a feeling under it, and the "Four Play" label does that.

Now, since there might be someone out there with a problem with this, there are two things to remember:
1) Beer is a controlled substance, even in Oregon. You have to be 21 to buy it. 21-year-olds have been able to buy pornography for 3 years.
2) There is a difference between porn and art. Even supposing a 15-year-old (with no Internet access) sees this image, and it is miraculously the first time he's seen an image of a topless woman, that does not mean he is corrupted. It means his parents have an opportunity to talk with him about art, and people. That's good. Also, since his parents took him to a place where they sell beer, they're probably pretty liberal.

Still, if anyone has a major issue with this, I'd love to hear it. Comments section awaits...


  1. Aaarrrggh!!! My virgin eyes!!!

  2. I started to make a crack about the fact that my office is so laid back that it is itself NSFW, then something occurred to me: I routinely test a website with some crazy edgy images all over it. Like hard bondage scenes that sell in major galleries for four figures.
    Exhibit A: Google Nobuyoshi Araki. I won't link without the consent of this fine blog's author.

    Compared to this stuff which is collectively agreed to be "fine art," Upright Brewing is practically putting Hello Kitty on its label.

  3. I didn't even see the "four play" on the butterfly wings until I started reading the post... Will people like me start calling it "the nipple beer"???

  4. Hey,
    I am the artist on this label. Just came upon your review while searching google.
    I think your review is spot on, I wanted the label to be sexy but tasteful. Emphasis is definitely on the face and not breast though naturally people focus on that. And yes its all digital, typically I hand draw something and digitally color but I wanted this one to have a bit more of a stylized feel to it.
    Thanks for the review.