After our recent interview with Down the Road Brewery, I fell in love with their beautiful beer label art concepts and illustrations. Check out how the artist behind the designs, Nikki Rossignol, got into creating the beer labels and where the magic comes from.
How did you get connected with Down The Road Brewery about creating their beer label art?
I participated in a weekly drawing contest on Facebook called Mythical Beast Wars (which is still going and a ton of fun). One week the subject was the Boston based legend of the Pukwudgie. Well, somehow my Pukwudgie made it’s away across the internet and landed under Donovan Bailey’s nose.
What was your inspiration for these illustrations?
I am inspired by much more than I could ever list but to name a few, I receive incredible insight from the forest in which I live, and from the written lore I stumble upon while researching beings. The habitations I draw are often inspired by the cultures and history of the beer style conveyed to me by Donovan Bailey and Brendan Van Voris (our wonderful tale turner/resident literature virtuoso… he probably has a different title but that’s what I shall call him here).
The most literal form of inspiration that I have used comes from my daughter, Elke. Elke is the Feyborn Berliner Weisse, and is unmistakably an indigo child.
Who came up with the names of the beers? And what part did your artwork play in the storytelling?
My work with Down the Road is a lovely collaboration with many individuals and after I send off the final image the piece will come to life though Brendan and Donovan’s words and through Becca Sayre’s beautiful graphic design.
Mainly Brendan and Donovan come up with the titles. Usually the title comes after my work is complete which is actually the most wonderful surprise of all. I initially title a piece as a reference and a new title will emerge with the help of Brendan’s wordsmith mastery. Some of the earliest titles were of Donovan’s inventions.
Where else can we see your art?
Where do you work? Is there anything interesting about your rituals or work space?
I work in an enchanted forest. Well, sort of. My studio is within my home and happens to be an atrium filled with plants, crystals, drift wood, twisty sticks, and, at the moment, a fancy Elmo tea party. The room daylights as my daughters playroom and moonlights as my studio. I work at night mainly, I often blame my daughter’s high energy for this but I believe working into the wee hours is my way of stepping halfway between dreamland my imaginarium. This is my best footing as it sparks the creativity necessary for me to move through the stages of illustrating and painting.
I read on Down The Road Brewery blog that many of your sketches come from your dreams…how often does this happen?
It’s true, lucid dreaming is real and it has become my portal down the rabbit hole. I can literally dream in the colors I will apply the next day and if I’m lucky I might even spot the main character of the painting or have a little chat. I’ve gotten to know Mr. Pukwudgie quite well by now though our Ladies Undine remain quite elusive.
What is your favorite beer?
My palette is a bit unusual when it comes to brewed beverages. More often than craft beers, I typically go for Prosecco, dry ciders or specialty ginger brewed beers. My husband is usually the one enjoying, or evaluating craft beers. I should add that I haven’t yet tried the Down the Road line of beers, because of interstate shipping regulations (I live in Montana). I would be very interested in trying one of my illustrated beers, perhaps it would help me improve my taste for craft beer.