I'm very excited to finally share this - my work for Grolsch, celebrating their 400th anniversary!
It was early September when I received a call from Sarah, my contact at Grolsch - we had been in contact quite a bit over the summer, as I had completed a glassware project for Grolsch and had just completed some button and banner designs for their TIFF promotions. She asked me what my timeline was in the upcoming month or so - I had no set plans, having just come back from my honeymoon.
The team at Grolsch was apparently quite pleased with the work I had completed for them up to the point - my contribution to their glassware project and the aforementioned TIFF buttons and banners - and were wondering if I maybe had the time to go to Amsterdam, to, y'know, represent their Canadian market and contribute work to the Grolsch 400 project. I'd fly out to Amsterdam and spend 4 days seeing the sights, painting, and soaking in the amazing culture. What's more, the trip would happen in a mere 20 days or so from the phone call.
I said yes, of course.
Having never been to Europe, I was immediately excited (and, frankly, amazed) at the opportunity. To be chosen as one of 28 or so international representatives from Grolsch's worldwide markets made the opportunity to travel even better - perhaps the greatest combination of work and travel ever!
Amsterdam itself is a beautiful city. The houseboats, canals, architecture...everything there was wonderful. I spent the majority of my time there working, but did manage to take a sunny Sunday mostly to myself, biking around the city, and visiting the Anne Frank house (which was truly a moving experience).
The workspace Grolsch set up was...well, unreal. Set up in Amsterdam's North End - which used to house a massive shipbuilding industry - our collective studio was housed in a ship construction building, which is perhaps the largest single room I've ever been in.
As mentioned, I was selected as one of 28 (or so) international artists from Grolsch's markets around the world, and turned out to be the only North American. Russia, Poland, South Africa, and France were among the other countries represented, along with a large contingent from the Netherlands (obviously).
The atmosphere was something I hadn't encountered since my last year in school - a huge collection of artists, all working, talking, sharing ideas, and really having fun. It was electric.
I wish I could say that I actually paint more than I do, with most of my work being digital - the Grolsch 400 project really gave me the chance to cut loose and play around with painting ina way I haven't done in years. One of the most interesting (and relieving) things was how easy, and natural, it felt translating the images in my head onto canvas, and how (surprisingly) close it was to my usual work process. Over the few days, I produced two paintings that I'm VERY happy with.
I'd be remiss if I didn't also mention the fantastic generosity of Grolsch. Aside from the amazing workspace and art supplies, they were amazing hosts - a post-painting beer tasting session introduced me to the MANY varieties of Grolsch. There are like...6 different kinds. I had no idea!
As I said, I'm very excited, and very proud to finally share this experience - it's really something I'll never forget.
Here's my video segment for Grolsch 400:
And one of the special cans being produced - my work is featured on the 500 mL can, the 330 mL cans, and the 330 mL 6 and 12 packs!
As they say in Amsterdam - Cheersch!