December 10, 2010

Three (Relatively) New Labels by Lost Abbey

Lost Abbey has given us some things to write about lately, but I thought it might be okay to actually look at their art for arts' sake, rather than a potential controversy. Though, given Tomme Arthur's brewery's tongue-in-cheek relationship to religion, I suppose any of the art runs the risk of offending someone, somewhere.

The Lost Abbey artist is muralist Sean Dominguez. This is his painting work for the Deliverance:
From the press release:
Sean Dominguez worked overtime on the painting for this label. It is perhaps one of the darkest and most disturbing things he has painted for us. So demented in fact his wife Paige expelled it from their home the moment it was completed.
I don't know that I'd call it "demented," though I can understand not wanting it in your living room. A little Bosch for most beer labels, especially since the angels carrying the guy away from hell don't seem particularly nice. The color contrast of the little blue patch of sky with the largely red and dark, threatening foreground gives it the eerie look.

Next, let's look at the Cuvee de Tomme. First, the art on the wall, then the label:
The melting clocks are an obvious homage to Salvador Dali's "The Persistence of Memory." It's paired with an hourglass of cherries (with which the beer is brewed) and barrels (in which the beer is aged). The label art makes clear that this is a beer with quite a relationship to time. The bright sky both brings out the depth of the barrels and makes the label significantly more welcoming than, say, the Deliverance label.

Finally, we'll look at the Amazing Grace Ale:
This appears to be a version of the common "St. Jerome in His Study." Closest one I can think of is the etching by Albrecht Durer:
The 4th Century Saint Jerome was responsible for translating the Vulgate, or Latin Bible, and so is usually depicted working hard over a desk. In this case, the image retains the soft blurriness to show candlelight, and he's got a nice glass of beer to help him translate. I kind of like that the Lost Abbey version of amazing grace is not a massive glowing epiphany, but quiet work done late at night. Shows you a little bit what they Arthur and others might think of brewing as an art; that true revelation comes about through hard work, rather than sudden strokes of divine inspiration.

I think Dominguez is one of the best artists working in the craft beer industry, but Lost Abbey's art is some of the hardest to find online. They have good high-res images of the bottles themselves, but the art is not always easy to come by. Which is why I was very pleased when brewery spokesman Sage Osterfeld told me in an email that they're putting together a comprehensive art gallery for those - like me - who want to see more of the very fruitful Lost Abbey-Sean Dominguez partnership.

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