Today’s works of art are by a variety of artists. The common element is that all of them were created for a concept bar in Japan called Beer Hall Heartland, a part of Kirin and a separate brand of beer they make.
The beer was first brewed exclusively for the bar in 1986. It has a proprietary green bottle.
Every other year, beginning in 2003, they’ve sponsored an art contest through the Wakita Museum of Art. Known as the Heartland Karuizawa Drawing Biennale.
The painting below is the first one I discovered, the one that led me to the rest of them. It’s called Aneuheart and is a watercolor pencil by Kazuhiro Kikuchi. It’s one of the 2007 winners.
Here’s what the artist had to say about it:
The subject was Heartland Beer, so I drew it with this thought in my mind: “Let’s create a new, cool 2007-version heart symbol.” However, this was very difficult, and it was hard to get away from the traditional kind of heart symbol. I went through some trial and error before eventually settling on a design that uses the traditional shape. I think the overall picture represents the concept of Heartland Beer, which is “the original values of things that are not at the mercy of fashion or popular opinion.” This picture is also a personal favorite. The title should be read as “a new heart,” meaning new or fresh heart. My commitment when I drew this picture was to create something for which I could congratulate myself, like: “I love this picture” or “this one is so cool,” after completing the work-and that is what I always have in my mind.
It reminds me a bit of Keith Haring, but with more pastel colors.
Another one from 2007, entitled “Carbonated Bubbles of Heartland Beer” by Ryosuke Matsuya. It’s also done in watercolor pencil.
Matsuya explains it:
I named this picture “Carbonated Bubbles of Heartland Beer” because I sensed some pathos in these carbonated bubbles. First they fizz and burst out refreshingly, but when it comes to an end, bubbles disappear and even the taste changes. I thought “this resembles a person’s life,” holding a Kaki-pea snack and a beer in my hands. I like this picture very much.
And here’s yest another one from the 2007 winners. This one is called simply “Beer,” a watercolor pencil by Ken Tajima.
Here’s Tajima’s description:
In times of celebrations and delightful events, people loudly open a liquor bottle. For us, opening the seal on a drink has a special meaning.This time I drew exactly that moment of Heartland Beer. I tried not to make it too dramatic because life is not totally filled with delightful events. Even when you are feeling bitter about something, the crown caps on beer bottles will pop. However, in either case, each of those moments is a happy moment to a greater or lesser extent. It would be a great pleasure for me if those who look at this picture can feel and taste these moments.
All of the 2007 winners can be seen at Heartland’s website or at the Wakita Museum.
Here’s my favorite from the 2005 contest. It’s called “Bomb” and was created by Kentaro Izumi in acrylic paint, spray paint, and oil-based ink.
This is Izumi’s take:
By drawing beer bottles spreading out into all directions, I rendered the great taste that spreads throughout the mouth at the moment of drinking beer. I think the situation when people drink, differs according to each person, but basically, I used beautiful colors to describe a type of beer that can be drunk pleasantly and delectably.
All of the 2005 winners can be seen at Heartland’s website or at the Wakita Museum.
From 2003, the watercolor pencil work below is called “837 Heartland Bottles (a year’s worth)” and is by Jun Mochizuki.
This is Mochizuki’s biography:
Born in Tokyo in 1955. Wins the Gold Prize at the JACA Japan Illustration Exhibition in 1984. Started work on as an illustrator. He has held personal exhibitions at venues including Space Yui, Ikebukuro Seibu Atelier Nouveau, Yurakucho Seibu Creators’ Space, and Shinjuku Gallery Genkai. From around 1990, he has been engaged in developing computer software, and currently he mainly creates web content, and also likes playing with his dog on the beach at Minami-Boso.
The remaining works of art are also from 2003 but I don’t know the artists either because they aren’t given or because I can’t read Japanese.
The one below is called Dream Time.
And this last one is “Untitled.”
All of the 2003 winners can be seen at Heartland’s website or at the Wakita Museum.
Thanks for these Jay – very cool. And you reminded me of a forgotten beer I had in Japan a little while ago- I was like – what is this Heartland? Now I know.