SPECIAL EDITION - Kasper Ledet - Graphic Designer and Art Director at To Øl

SPECIAL EDITION - Kasper Ledet - Graphic Designer and Art Director at To Øl

1) Background Info about you and your art

My name is Kasper Ledet. I’m a self taught graphic designer and photographer who lives and works in Copenhagen.

2) How would you describe your aesthetic

I guess that the graphic design tradition of Denmark plays a part in my work. Designers like Bo Linnemann from Kontrapunkt has shaped the public and corporate visual landscape of Denmark in a kind of humanist aesthetic through typefaces, layouts and sigs. This aesthetic approach can properly be traced back to mid century modernist like Arne Jacobsen and Poul Henningsen (maybe even earlier) and is deeply tied to the Social Democratic welfare state which also conquered the other Scandinavian countries. I believe it is important to be critical of this aesthetic even though I’m a strong supporter of the welfare state. Public Danish institutions like schools, kindergartens and libraries was marinated in this visual language when I was growing up so it has definitely influenced me and my work for better or worse.

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3) What is your process (like the mechanics of your work) - i.e. illustrator? photoshop? hand drawn or a hybrid

The photography is done with digital cameras. Post processing, layouts and typography is done with the Adobe programs. Additionally I’m using a Wacom drawing tablet.

Since most of the designs are conceptual in one way or another the process often starts with thinking and researching. Drawing is not a very central tool in my creative process. For me drawing works good as a way of communicating ideas fast to others, but drawing as a way to develop form or ideas is something that I almost never do.

The point is that the tools you use in the process affects the final outcome. In that sense I don’t consider drawing to be a neutral tool for all creatives to use. It is basically biased. It will yield curtain results, just like a more intellectual approach is also biased and drives the work in a certain direction. I don’t really think it is important which approach you use just that you are aware that the tools are not neutral.

This point of view is actually a bit controversial in Denmark particular within Danish design education. Traditionally Danish design has been closely linked to craftsmanship. Many of the mid century architects and designers had backgrounds as carpenters, cabinet makers or other artisan crafts. For them drawing was a natural extension of their background. They achieved world wide recognition and success for their Danish furniture and architecture. Since most of them used drawing as a central way to achieve and develop form this was elevated to be the only acceptable tool in Danish design for many years to come. It almost led to an anti intellectual discourse among the design elite and educational institutions. Luckily things are starting to soften up with newer generations of designers also embracing critical thinking and philosophy as a way to understand the world around them.    

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4) How did you come to work with To Øl ?

I attended the same high school as the founders of To Øl. Back then they started to experiment with brewing small batches in the school’s kitchen. At the same time I also started to play around with graphic design and illustration so they asked me to do a label for them. It was done on a xerox machine and pasted on the bottles by hand. This was back in 2006-2007. In 2010 To Øl produced their first commercial beer and they called me again to do the artwork. I have been onboard ever since.  

5) Process with the Brewery

   - Do you have artwork that you present to them and they pair it with a beer

It is always a process that involves discussion and sketching. It could very well be that we end up using a photo that I have shot years before but seems conceptually right for a certain beer.

   - How much time / notice do you have from discussion to release?

Usually we are about half a year ahead of release.

   - Do the brewers have a vision or theme they want to be represented in the art?

The brewers usually has something they want to express with the beer and we have a discussions on how that vision can be incorporated into the artwork. These discussions can be really abstract. We actually often use music as an analogy. Is this beer a dark post punk track or a happy nineties dance tune. It is a sessionable pop song or a challenging avant garde noise recording.  

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6) How / Is creating for a smaller canvas like a can or bottle different than you a typical project?

Their is of course some technical differences but I would like to question the usual notion of scale on a more conceptual level. I studied for a brief period at The School of Architecture here in Copenhagen. Everything was divided into their apparent scale. Furniture and graphic design at one end of the spectrum, buildings in the middle and urban planning in the other end. Of course a can of beer is smaller than a building but as opposed to most buildings a can of beer may be reproduced in several hundred thousand copies and distributed all over the world. Just think about the cultural impact that some pieces of graphic design, like record sleeves, has made. The cover for Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon is probably a lot more influential than many buildings even though it is just two 12” pieces of cardboard glued together with a record inside. The conservative notion of scale can be helpful to sought out practical problems. But on an artistic level it is really counter productive. I very much regard graphic design, architecture and even fine art to be part of the same interconnected whole.  

7) Are there other breweries and related artwork that you really like or admire    

Manchester based Studio DBD is doing some nice work for Track Brewery and also has a strong portfolio of other projects.

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8) Working with a brewery has to have it perks - do you have favorite beers or styles?

Porters and stouts all the way!

9) In my former life I was a radio DJ.  What type of music do you play when creating or looking to be inspired?

New Order and the rest of the gang from Factory Records, early nineties dance, Warp Records stuff, dark wave / post punk, Beck’s folk music records, David Bowie (including Let’s Dance - best pop record ever made). Bruce Springsteen, Copenhagen underground stuff, Kate Bush, all those great eighties / nineties one hit wonders, Lust for Youth, Moderat / Apparat, Tears for Fears, Massive Attack, Bjørk, Brian Eno, Talking Heads, occasionally Philip Glass, occasionally dark minimal techno.

10) Current projects

Some beers, some merchandize. A record sleeve for a band and a lot of secret stuff.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 8th 12-pack of Artists

ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 8th 12-pack of Artists

Shelton, CT, June 6, 2018–  We here at The 16oz. Canvas are happy to announce our seventh 12-pack of artists today. Each week we introduce our audience to artists, designers and illustrators from around the world that help bring our favorite beers and breweries to life. Each week is an exciting introspective into an important but niche piece of the industry. The beauty of this project is not only do we learn about their process, but their stories of hard work and entrepreneurship that inspires so many.

FEATURED TAOCB ARTIST: Jess Graham of The Alchemist

FEATURED TAOCB ARTIST: Jess Graham of The Alchemist

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JESS GRAHAM

Hometown: Morrisville, VT
Websitejessgrahamstudio.com
Instagramjgstudiovt

Breweries: The Alchemist  /  Collective Arts 

One of your favorite Label Artists: From this series— I find I’m drawn to the line work of Lisa Sotero, Stony Creek and Kevin Cimo of Trillium. I am also a fan of Howell Golson who designs labels for Wicked Weed in Asheville, NC.

When the art on beer labels first came across my radar (about the time when I discovered craft beer— late 1990s), I was a fan of the Unibroue labels (Chamblay, QC) — they transport you with narrative-rich imagery. I also liked the wood-block-like style of the Dechutes Brewing Co out of Bend, OR. And finally, I like just the simple Miller Lite can. It just reads “Lite” but we all know it’s a Miller. Brilliant.

Fun Fact: I was a server at the Alchemist Pub & Brewery back for a short time when I was 26 (15 years ago!). I ran into Jen & John (co-owners) while conducting a paint-by-number mural activity for wayward kids at the local ski resort. They hired me to create paintings of peeing people at the pub. My first paid public mural. I did little projects for them here and there (including an oxygenated water logo and a kombucha logo) until I got hired on full time five years ago as the Art Director at The Alchemist.

Bio: Jess Graham, born in 1977, grew up in Morrisville, Vermont, USA. After a stint in Brooklyn, NY and travels in the States, Eastern Europe and the Caribbean, she ended up where she began.

She started Jess Graham Studio, in 2007 creating illustrations for hire and schlepping prints of her paintings to regional art fairs. Now she juggles creating designs, murals and paintings for a growing client base with working as the in-house designer for the Alchemist Brewery.

Jess Graham’s work is expressive, irreverent and textural. Her life as a mountain biker, snowboarder and (novice) surfer influence the lines and energy of her work. As do many people who call the mountains their home, she finds when out-of- doors she is more fully infused with life.

FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT THEARTOFCRAFTBEER.COM