The Sydney craft beer scene is a place of open collaboration. Alex Latham, the artist behind some of Nomad Brewing’s bottle labels, talks about this collaborative spirit and his process.
Just two of the great things about the Sydney craft beer community is the willingness to collaborate and the opportunity available to people willing to have a go at something.
That’s exactly what happened with the bottle labels for Nomad Brewing’s limited release US-collab beers.
Alex Latham, the artist
Alex Latham is the young, Sydney-based artist responsible for some of the label designs that have jumped out at you from a bottlo refrigerator.
Graduating in 2013 from the National Art School in Darlinghurst, Alex kick-started his artistic practice in the same way many brewers start up. He got together to collaborate with a couple of mates and he “hasn’t really stopped since”.
Collaboration with Nomad Brewing
Pictured above, Nomad Berry Cubana, one of the beers for which Alex designed the label.
The collaboration with Nomad came about a bit by chance.
Alex says, “I was spamming just about every craft beer company in Sydney, trying to get some alcohol sponsorship for the exhibition we were putting on – to no success!”
“Nomad replied, saying they were keen to collaborate with some up-and-coming artists on some label design work and asked if I was interested.”
Anyone who’s seen the labels will recognise what a good job Alex did with combining the brands of both Nomad and the US breweries they collaborated with.
“Nomad usually give me a brief outline of the kind of brewers they’re collaborating with and the sort of imagery they want representing the beer. I’ll have a look at the sort of imagery the US brewers use and try to marry both their’s and Nomad’s artistic directions, along with my own interpretations.”
Alex modestly admits that he’s “pretty rubbish when it comes to design based software”. He describes his process as starting with sketching up a few ideas to run past Nomad, and then scanning hand drawn images into Illustrator.
From there he creates various mock-ups and emails them off to Nomad.
“There’s usually a few little things to smooth out but when we’re both happy with the image Nomad do the rest.”
What now for Alex?
In August 2015, Alex held his first solo show at Cool Mac Cafe in Kirribilli and he’s keen to pursue more opportunities of this kind. Although he loves it when a brief is completed, he doesn’t consider himself a designer.
He says: “Right now my focus is developing my own personal, artistic practice. I want to collaborate with as many up-and-coming artists, and exhibit as much, as possible.”
While Alex concedes his interest in craft beer previously extended to drinking it for free at art shows, he says, “I do, however, have a greater appreciation for craft beer in terms of their supporting of the arts and creativity in general. I think that’s really important.”
A sentiment I couldn’t agree more with.
See more of Alex Latham’s work
Why not subscribe so you can have stories from the Sydney craft beer community delivered directly to your inbox?