CHEK Upside: Phillips Brewing label artist branching out with Madrona Gallery exhibit

CHEK Upside: Phillips Brewing label artist branching out with Madrona Gallery exhibit
WatchFor the past 19 years, Shawn O'Keefe has created eye-catching designs for Phillips Brewing's cans and labels. Now he's taking his talents to the world of landscape paintings.

The man behind Phillips Brewing’s colourful labels is now tackling landscape paintings.

Since 2001 Shawn O’Keefe has partnered with Phillips Brewing to come up with eye-popping designs for the company’s craft beer cans.

“Initially it was just to design a logo and four labels for his first beers and then it kind of just blossomed into a longer gig,” says O’Keefe.

For Phillips Brewing owner and founder Matt Phillips, meeting O’Keefe relieved a lot of stress regarding his company’s branding.

“I really didn’t know what to do about graphics. I was thinking about buying a box of crayons,” laughs Phillips. “He did the original logo and the first three labels and he was so great to work with and I was like this is great.”

From Blue Buck to Tiger Shark and everything in between, O’Keefe has been an integral part of making Phillip’s cans and packaging unique.

“We kind of broke free from the sort of just traditional beer label look and started to get a little more artistic and just kind of played with the characters more,” says O’Keefe.

“Sometimes he comes up with the name, sometimes we come up with it collaboratively,” adds Phillips.

“We bring staff ideas in but nevertheless eventually Shawn puts his thumb on it.”

Along with his graphic art, O’Keefe enjoys tackling a different challenge, the world of landscape paintings.

“I’ve really been sort of feeling the landscape painting and really getting out and doing a lot of hiking around Victoria, all over Vancouver Island,” says O’Keefe.

“There’s just so many beautiful spots.”

His work recently debuted at the Madrona Gallery in downtown Victoria and the exhibit has been a huge success.

“Shawn is somebody that we’ve been wanting to do a show with for quite a long time,” says gallery director and owner Michael Warren.

“We were really happy to see that it matched up in terms of his timing for an exhibition and our availability and it seems like it’s a good pairing so far.”

O’Keefe’s work will be on display at the Madrona Gallery until Oct. 31st.

Cole SorensonCole Sorenson

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