Miami Artist Freegums Lends His Work to Beck's Beer

Categories: Art
freegums-becks.jpg
Freegums' label design.
Germans don't do romance, they do beer -- at least according to Beck's Beer radio and TV advertisements from the late 1990s. And now, apparently, they also do art.

From May 7 until the end of June, Beck's beer labels will be decorated with art created by London-based singer M.I.A. as well as American artists Geoff McFetridge, Willy Chyr, Aerosyn-Lex -- as well as Miami artists Bert Rodriguez and Freegums.

We spoke with Freegums about how beer labels came to be his canvas, whether he actually likes the taste of Beck's, and what's next for the artist.

Cultist: Why do you call yourself Freegums?
Freegums: Freegums is a made up word that I used to use back in the day to tie in some house parties I used to put together. I stopped using it, and then later on when I was trying to create a business on two separate occasions [using a different name] I got cease-and-desist letters. That's when I decided to bring back Freegums. It was my own word that no one had, and I could use freely.

How did this Beck's gig come about for you?
 Becks got a hold of me and, considering the project, I jumped on board.

Why did you want to put your art on a beer bottle?
I saw it as a cool opportunity to introduce people to my work in an unconventional manner.

Are you happy with the final product? Was there a theme or idea behind what you came up with?
Yes I am happy with the product. One of the main themes of my work is about getting lost in it. Those lines are painted lines from a piece I have that depicts a worm hole for people to jump in and tune out.

Were you inspired by anything or anyone in particular?
I take inspiration from a lot of things around me: patterns, black and white comic art from the 60's -90's, Yayoi Kusama, Hieronymus Bosch, Keith Haring, and so on.

Do you like to drink Beck's Beer?
I like Beck's. Lagers are good and light, great for many occasions, and I also love pale ales as well.

What was it like creating art for a beer bottle?
It was pretty simple, really. I took a [portion] from an existing piece and adapted it for the label. It lent itself pretty good with the theme I was going for: Getting lost in the artwork.

Was there a particular challenge?
The main challenge that presented itself was the fact of making something cool for the subject at hand (no pun intended).

What else are you working on?
I'm working for a solo show in L.A .at HVW8 gallery during September. I can't wait to build all the pieces and create a crazy installation. It's going to be mostly sculptures.

What do you think of the Miami art scene?
The art scene down here is great. There is a lot of energy behind it from the gallerists, artists, collectors, institutions, critics, observers, and it just keeps making new things happen. Being a part of it is amazing. Seeing and contributing to the ever-changing and growing community here, I'm pretty grateful to be here now.

Do you have a day job?
I had a day job as a designer for an ad agency for a long time. It showed me the corporate side of brands and mega structure. 

-- Erik Bojnansky

Follow Cultist on Facebook and Twitter @CultistMiami.

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