Our Beer + Art series, Project X, is peaking just in time for the holidays with a radical new look and aggressive West Coast-style Hazy to match.
Conditioned Reflex features the soul-stirring artwork of Portland, OR-based artist Corrie Clark, also known as Rekkless Effekt. The metallic label showcases a rabid, salivating animal bearing its teeth, foreshadowing the drinking experience within. We sat down with Corrie for a brewer to artist Q&A to find out more about what inspires her work.
Q: What inspires your work and how did the label for Conditioned Reflex come to be? A: I'm endlessly inspired by nature and the supernatural, and oftentimes, both of those things at the same time. My work can range from peaceful to unsettling pretty quick, it just depends on my mood that day. Back in the days when I was honing my style, I often shied away from drawing creepy, angry, or vicious subjects in order to produce more "digestible" work for my portfolio. Once I shook that fear off, I really felt I had an artistic freedom I never had before and gave me a subject range that seemed endless. When I drew the artwork for Conditioned Reflex, I was actually sitting down to draw my boyfriend's dog, Stilgar (named famously after the character Stilgar in Dune). I had this idea that I wanted to show something seemingly normal and familiar and transform it into something you think twice about –relay the underlying primitive nature that's in all creatures, just under the surface.
Q: What medium are you typically working with? Can you explain a little bit about the artistic process?
A: I work across all types of mediums, my main focuses being ink, digital, and charcoal. I usually let the idea take the lead when choosing a medium, but more often than not I'm actually using all three to produce work. For this piece, I sketched it out, inked it, and brought it into the digital space to add color. The red background is actually a manipulated photo of lights shining on redwood trees at night in Northern California - just going to show that nothing is always what it seems!
Q: Have you ever worked on other projects similar to this one?
A: This is my first beer label, and hopefully not the last! I'm always drawing, though. Sometimes for a project and sometimes for no reason at all other than to stoke a healthy skepticism in what's real and what's not.
The beer impresses in equal measure, with a pineapple and passionfruit aroma explosion at the forefront and a juicy, yet more assertive finish than the Series’ former selections, thanks to heavy-handed late additions of Mosaic and Vic Secret hops. The net result is something that is aggressive inside and out and should satisfy hop heads feeling disconnected from today’s sweeter examples of the style.
"For the last Project X of the year we really wanted to create a beer that appealed to those looking for more oomph in a Hazy while not going totally off the rails. I think we were able to strike a nice balance between a West Coast IPA and the juicier offerings folks have come to expect. This is really kind of a hybrid IPA that should appeal to anyone that loves hops. ”
– Chris Baker – Director of Brewing Operations, Mother Earth Brew Co.
Conditioned Reflex is available in 16oz cans and on draft where independent craft beers are sold or at the our tasting room in Nampa, ID. Customers may also use our interactive beer finder. Click for more info on the beer, artist, and Project X Series.