Some artists rely on a pint of ice cold lager for a bit of inspiration, but Chicago-based illustrator Kyle Bice actually uses amber brew to create his signature beer portraits.
Kyle Bice graduated from the American Academy of Art with a degree in traditional oil painting, but since he didn’t really believe there was much of a career for him as a painter, the young artist turned to illustration. After making a name for himself in advertising and the world of comic books, Kyle met with Fred Bueltman from New Holland Brewing, who had seen his work and asked him to redo a bunch of labels for the company. It was during this time that he discovered his passion for craft beer.
However, it wasn’t until two years ago that Bice realized he could actually use his favorite drink as a medium for his art. He and other illustrators do this thing called ‘Drink and Draw’, where they get together at a bar, have some beer, chat and draw. One day, Kyle forgot his paints at home and got the idea to dip his brushes into the stout beer he was drinking. The painting came out better than he had expected, so he decided to explore beer painting.
“It’s very similar to watercolor painting,” Kyle said in an interview with Draftmag. “You’re essentially staining the paper with pigment. It usually takes several layers to get it dark enough so it looks like something. It’s oddly challenging because unlike watercolor or acrylic, if you put too much on the paper, it’ll start coming back off. Sometimes you just have to stop because the paper won’t take any more beer.”
Bice does point out that you need to use dark beer, like a porter or a stout for the artwork to actually be visible on white paper. He prefers New Holland brews like Pet Stout or Dragon’s Milk.
“After going on a promotional tour with New Holland Brewery in the fall of 2014, I realized that I could combine art and beer into a full time career,” Kyle told Bored Panda. “I now interview and paint the portraits of some of the most interesting people in and around the world of craft beer, including bar owners, brewery owners, musicians, comedians, chefs, farmers, and some of my fellow artists.”
Kyle Bice’s ongoing project is regularly updated on his website, aptly named Beer Portraits.
Photos: © Kyle Bice/BeerPortraits.com