A guest post for Omnified by Hana and Hugh Eckermann
Saturday night: For some people, it’s the perfect opportunity to watch a movie, enjoy a candle-lit dinner, or go dancing at a club. For us, the idea of a delicious beer, Scottish snacks, and art sounded like heaven – and it was all possible, thanks to a Berlin Beer Week (BBW) event which took place at the the bar, “Das Gift,” in Neukölln.
“Das Gift” may sound to English speakers like “the present,” but in fact, it translates to “the poison.” For us it is both, since we can answer the question “What’s your poison?” with no hesitation: Ours is beer.
Robert Dunsmore, who works in international sales and marketing at Edinburgh Beer Factory, joined us for a couple of pints to explain the inspiration behind the brewery’s artwork and “muse,” Eduardo Paolozzi. Paolozzi, widely considered the pioneering leader of the pop art movement of the mid-20th century, was known for re-imagining the found objects of everyday life into surrealist pop art.
Hugh Eckermann (HE): Why did you choose to use Paolozzi artwork?
Robert Dunsmore (RD): Paolozzi was our inspiration. He was a Scottish artist born in 1930’s. He became a father of pop art. In 1952, he released the BUNK! collections and collage series, which basically launched pop art as a concept. He had this really global, outward-looking, open-minded perspective that we thought was the best representation of modern Scotland.
Scotland is an outlooking nation, very cosmopolitan and a progressive country. It voted to stay in EU. You go to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and these places are hubs of industry and innovation. And that’s what we wanted to represent. And that’s why we chose Paolozzi, because we thought he represented that with his art.
Hana Eckermann (HaE): How does pop art link to your beers?
RD: We also thought about pop art as an inspiration because pop art takes popular culture and then re-represents as art. And it takes things that lots of people at the time consider kind of passé or low art. [The] mundane and banal of everyday life. And he re-represented it – this is important. This should be a part of your daily visual landscape. Take it seriously. Take cinema seriously, take magazines seriously because they are important and they represent what the everyday culture is processing, what the psyche is processing. And some of it is beautiful. And that is what we are trying to do with our lager. If you do it properly, do it with the right level of care and attention, it could be a beautiful thing. It is actually a real craft making a proper lager.
HaE: In principle, everything is a piece of art. It does not have to be high art. Whatever people produce, when done properly, with love, creativity and attention.
RD: Yes, it has some kind of value. There are so many things dismissed as invaluable, as BUNK!, which actually are valuable.
HE: Your lager is indeed excellent. It has got a nice golden color, thick foam and a perfect bittersweet balance.
HaE: Your other beer, the “Cherry Saison” tastes awesome, too. The cherry flavor comes really full at the back, so I am amazed the beer does not take the color from the cherries.
RD: It was a real debate that went on in the brewery, since everyone gets to taste a new beer. And some people said it’s not pink. I think it is really nicely balanced, with the subtle cherry taste. The “Cherry Saison” has the word “POP” on the label, and basically this was the first use of the word POP in connection with pop art.
HE: How did you actually get to use the Paolozzi artwork?
RD: Paolozzi Foundation is a trust which manages all Paolozzi artworks and his estate. Lichtenstein and Warhol are so much more known, so we wanted to bring attention to Paolozzi, who is actually the founder of pop art. We talked with the Foundation and we are allowed to use his art and his image in all our products. We then give a donation for each of our beers we sell and they invest it in young artists and projects which encourage creative art across Scotland.
A wonderful feeling – with every pint we drank, we contributed to the support of young Scottish artists and to creative projects. All in all, a great Saturday night – full of inspiring conversation, excellent beer, and contributions to a good cause. Our thanks to Edinburgh Beer Factory!