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Local Relic puts local doodlers on display 

click to enlarge GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
There’s a world of colorful and creative beer cans and labels out there, but downtown brewery Local Relic approaches their bottle wraps uniquely: Every new beer the brewery produces features an original piece of art. And since the small outfit doesn’t do flagship beers, that amounts to a lot of art.

Co-owner Melissa Howard’s solution has been to say please, asking the Springs’ amateur artistic community to contribute their works. Their pay: two bottles of whichever beer they use the art on, plus name, website and social media info. It’s not pro pay, certainly, but they aren’t looking for pro artists. They’re looking for hobbyists and doodlers.

“The response has been overwhelming,” says Howard. “I think we have 160 artists we’ve worked with to date.”

That’s how they came to work with Ezekiel Villa, the first artist whose work graced a Local Relic label. Circumstances found him doodling in a notebook with some frequency, and Villa started to take a liking to what he was drawing.
Location Details Local Relic at The Carter Payne
320 S. Weber St.
Downtown
Colorado Springs, CO
270-0077
Breweries/Wineries/Distilleries

“He really found a passion for these doodles, and they really started to evolve,” says Howard. He agreed to let Local Relic use his pieces on their labels and, for their first year in business, he was their label artist. “He kept producing more art and coming up with more stuff... and as things evolved and Grant [Goodwiler, brewer] started making more and more and more beer, it was harder for one person to keep up.”

So Howard and co-owner Jeff Zearfoss decided to open things up to the community at large, setting up a portal on their website for people to submit small art works for featuring on their bottles. So far, their bottles have a huge range of art: fiber arts, multimedia works, photos of spices and even an origami church made by the 9-year-old son of a regular.

“We get people who come in, and they’re super excited to see their work in a public forum,” says Howard. “It’s like, in a small town, if you made the news.”

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