I love it when a beer label artist reaches out to me like Albert Ugarte did recently. When I wrote about a Three Floyds label last month, Albert was kind enough to let me know, “Hey, head’s up, I did the drawing for Battle Priest.” The purpose of this site is to connect the dots between label and artist, and I will jump at the chance to do so. Small or large, any brewery’s label has the opportunity to be, as Albert puts it, a “12 and 22 0z masterpiece”. 3 Floyds is not small, and their labels are indeed all masterpieces.
Three Floyds has a reputation for being really freaking metal. This translates into some dark and evil label imagery. The inner Dungeon Master in me revels in the images of undead warriors, barbarian frays, and other carnage.
“Floyds works with a pretty diverse stable of sweet artists that I’m lucky to be a part of.”
Beer Labels Art: My favorite label you’ve done is Chevalier Bertrand Du Guesclin. Can you tell me the story behind its conception?
Albert Ugarte: No real story behind the Chevalier drawing. Three Floyds founder Nick Floyd is a big Dungeons and Dragons and role-playing fan, so I came up with several images with that sort of theme. He ends up naming them so I’ve usually no idea what it will be called or what sort of beer. Sometimes he will give me some specific vision of what he needs, but not on this one. Zimmer Design did the colors, text and added some nice background elements.
BLA: What is your favorite label you’ve done so far for 3 Floyds and why?
AU: My favorite label may be Man-O-Awe or Zes Zes Zes. The drawings turned out nice, and the beer is damn good!
BLA: How did you get started making labels for Three Floyds?
AU: Nick Floyd saw some paintings I had hanging in a great little whiskey bar in Chicago 3-4 years ago, Delilah’s (one of top 5 whiskey bars in nation with 500+ available!) and he got in touch with me. From there I started doing work for them.
BLA: Do you have a list of labels you’ve done?
AU: Zes Zes Zes, Stack N Stabb, Man-O-Awe, Chevalier, Crescendo of Doom( w Galactic), Skull Ole (crazy sour), recent 2015 dark lord coffee release, Black Hole Necromancer, and the Three Floyds BBQ sauce, Head Hunter. Also did a hoodie image for a small Floyds event and beer release called Level Eater, real rare. And the as-yet unreleased Battle Priest.
BLA: Where are you from and where did you learn to be an artist?
AU: I’m from Chicago and studied at the Art Institute of Chicago where a few teachers truly disliked my work. I studied primarily painting and animation. I’ve been drawing since I’ve been a little kid.
BLA: What other art do you make?
AU: I paint and draw and occasionally some collage work.
BLA: How can your fans find you and your work? Can they buy your art?
AU: I have a website, www.ugarteart.com where I display some stuff, but I need to add a big batch of new work.
BLA: True or False: The best beer label art looks like it could also be Magic: The Gathering card art.
AU: Probably true. Seems to be lots of tattooed role playing beer lovers out there and I see lots more label art using fantasy and Heavy Metal imagery. I think Floyds led that parade years ago. Nick has a great eye for bad ass art and continues to use some truly disturbed yet brilliant artists.
There are some 12 and 22 0z masterpieces out there, and I’m glad you can spread the word.