Beer in Art #12: Mieko Anekawa’s Beer! Beer! Beer!

Today’s painting is by a Japanese artist, Mieko Anekawa, who grew up in Kyoto but now lives in New York City. This painting is called Beer! Beer! Beer!. It’s an acrylic on canvas and measures 11″x14.” Apart from the fact that she won’t sell the painting, that’s about all I know about it.

The choices she made for the panels are interesting to me. The first is, naturally, a can of Kirin from her native Japan. The only other Japanese beer is Hitachino Nest Beer. Two others are imported, but the majority are American craft beers. Only the can of Genesee isn’t. Of the dozen panels, seven are beer bottles, two are cans, one is a full pint glass, one is a growler and the only non-beer panel is of a bag of Utz potato chips. Sadly, the chips appear to be the “Red Hot” flavor, whereas I’m a purist when it comes to potato chips — only potatoes fried in lard (or oil) with salt added for me. As a hardcore chips geek, I can’t abide flavored chips at all.


A Self-Portrait
From the biography at her website:

She began her studies in Graphic and Product communication design in Kyoto, Japan, at Seika University, and later photography in Osaka. She moved to New York in the winter of 2004 to seek more creative opportunities and to experience a different, unique approach to art. She started working for the Japanese artist HIROKI OTSUKA, as well as the artist MALCOS, in various painting and sculpting projects. She was hired in 2005 by the New York-based graphic design company Berrymatch, LLC and Nooka, Inc., a high fashion designer watch company owned by Berrymatch, doing graphic and product design, corporate identity design, and advertisement. She began to work for Adoah, LLC in 2008 designing modern fashion rugs and carpets. In her latest work she is doing illustration of movie frames and image boards, website design, graphic and logo design for the upcoming independent movie “Uwaki” by Devin Haqq. However, her passion remains for painting.

Also at the website is her statement as an artist:

Being an artist doesn’t always mean making a pretty piece. Art should be able to give people a powerful impression, a full frontal impact. And in my opinion, what gives people that great impression is color contrast and dynamic composition.

My hometown is Osaka, Japan. Osaka has lots of excitement and people there love bright, powerful colors. There is a strong feeling of energy when you go through the streets. Our city is insanely using crazy colors for anything. People wear bright colors, stores are decorated in high tones, and there is color everywhere in advertisements and magazines. It is a beautiful place. While I grew up there, I observed and absorbed that energy, and I think it comes through in my art. It was my inspiration for the animal series with the bright checkered background and color contrast. It’s a representation of me and my life. I think I can give people some of that excitement, that energy, with my art.

After I moved to NY, I was doing a lot of graphic design and layouts of typography for part of corporate identity designs. I found beauty in the straightforward, uncomplicated images of logos and typography. I wanted to include that beauty of simple objects in my paintings. My goal was to combine 2-dimensional, flat objects without depth or shadow gradation with more realistic 3-dimensional images to create contrast.

There isn’t much more information about Mieko Anekawa, except for an exhibition at New York’s ICO Art & Music Gallery, a nice article in a student newspaper — The Pendulum — from Elon University, and her Facebook page. You can see a lot of her work, though, at her own website.



  1. says

    Wow! Nice piece indeed. Any artist that includes a jug of Blue Point beer and Utz chips in a painting gets my vote for artist of the year.

    Great post!

  2. says

    I love these two sentences:

    “I’m a purist when it comes to potato chips — only potatoes fried in lard (or oil) with salt added for me. As a hardcore chips geek, I can’t abide flavored chips at all.”

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