North Coast Brewing Company has always supported regional creative talent in the distinctive beer imagery that goes with each of their brews. When it came to the creation of the Brother Thelonious beer, we sought out the talent of local Mendocino artist Eduardo Smissen. The resulting packaging design by Colored Horse Studios featuring his spirited painting of Thelonious Monk as a Belgian Abbey Monk highlighted one of the most successful beer launches for North Coast Brewing, and won a Gold Medal in the Creativity Category from the Beverage Testing Institute’s World Beer Championships Packaging Competition. More of Smissen’s work can be seen on his website at http://eduardosmissen.com/
Why is a skull on the Brother Thelonious label?
From Eduardo: It’s a “memento mori,” a Latin phrase that may be freely translated as “Remember that you are mortal,” “Remember you will die,” or “Remember your death.” It names a genre of artistic creations that vary widely from one another, but which all share the same purpose, which is to remind people of their own mortality. The chief thrust of “memento mori” was the theme of “carpe diem,” “seize the day,” which entailed the advice to “eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” And as the motto for North Coast Brewing is “Carpe Diem Vita Brevis”—”Life is short, seize the day”—I thought it an appropriate Style for the Brother Thelonious label.