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Meet the Finalists: Kevin Romero

At the top right corner of Kevin’s entry in Beer Is Culture is a motto we can really get behind: “Grab a Beer! Influence the Future!” As far back in history as beer dates, there’s always looking ahead to its future as well. And his sleek graphic timeline expertly portrays this lineage with understated, yet bold style. We think this Brooklyn-based graphic designer is off to a bright future himself. Here’s more from Kevin below.

As the artist, tell us a little bit about your entry. What is the inspiration and story behind it?

KR: After learning about the history of beer, it seemed as though beer was the spark that ignited the development of civilizations, moving us away from a hunter gatherer way of life. I wanted to showcase how important of a discovery it was in the timeline of human history. Visually you segment off history into major developments in technology which also happen to correspond with beer. I attempted to display this in a pure design sense. Communication without extra bullshit.

Do you have any academic or formal artistic training, or are you self-taught?

KR: I have just graduated from the Pratt Institute with a major in Graphic Design, although I was originally in fine arts. I had to play catch up with graphic design, I knew very little about it.

Even before civilization, there is evidence of cave paintings by early humans. Flash forward to today, perhaps the most significant innovation and development for the artist in the past 30 years was the invention and proliferation of the personal computer, which has a remarkable efficiency in generating art. How does art generated by the artist on a computer relate to some of the more conventional art forms?

KR: Strictly computer generated art lacks human touch, and it is that human touch that draws me into something like an illustration or a painting; but with design I’m looking to see how well it communicates. Going straight to the computer when designing is sometimes a good idea, but an even better idea is to put pencil to paper and sketch. Sketch as much as possible. When you use a computer you often find yourself getting hung up on small details without considering whether or not the overall design is actually working. I believe it was Wim Crouwel who said “you can’t do better design with a computer, but you can speed up your work enormously”. I’ve always found this to be true.

Who are some of the artists who have influenced you the most?

KR: My first influences came from pre 1990’s Disney. As I grew up I began to pay attention to street art which got me sketching daily. As I learned more about the history of art I started to really be influenced by Matisse, Picasso, Rembrandt. But as I moved out of fine arts and into design, I really started to connect with the artists that emerged during the Futurist, the Constructivist, and the Modern graphic design movements.

We believe “Beer is Culture” given the synchronized parallel between the explosion of civilization, art, and culture and the cultivation of cereal grains by the earliest human societies. When you hear the phrase “Beer is Culture” what does it mean to you?

KR: Beer is the vehicle that drove the development of civilizations and is the social lubricant which promotes collective inspiration.

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