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Calling All Artists: Surly Feature Artist Contest

Surly Call for Artists

Five years ago Surly Creative Director Michael Berglund won a coaster contest. Now he wears a lot of hats and is responsible for all things creative at the shiny new brewery. “It’s all you can eat. It’s a wonderful job” he says. Now he’s in charge of choosing this year’s artist who will create the artwork for SurlyFest, Darkness, and the anniversary beer.

The contest runs through Wednesday, February 17th this year and the process is long. First the major players at Surly get to review the portfolios and whittle it down to thirty. Then they are sent out to the former winners of the contest who will vote on it. Then Omar and Todd get to decide who wins. Berglund loves that it’s the fans of Surly that get this opportunity to create the artwork for these big events. “I think we should see what the fans are doing” he says. “The hardest part is that we can only have one winner. Last year we had to turn down 139 people.”

That’s right, there were 140 entries last year. Every single entry was seen by Berglund and he seems to take pride in that. “It’s a professional call for artists. What’s your connection to Surly?” Surly has always supported local artists and they seem to maintain good standing relationships with them even after their time is up. Some of those talented artists are Adam Turman, Josh “Jawsh” Lemke, Brent Schoonover, Aesthetic Apparatus, DWITT, Nic Skrade, Erica Williams, and Brandon Holt.

Speaking of supporting local artists, when Surly moved into their new markets in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa—Michael came up with an idea where the locals would design the poster in their respective markets. He hopes that artists in these markets will also show their connection to the brewery and what it means to them. “There’s no better way to show the spirit of Surly than allowing local artists to contribute.”

Well stated Michael.

Submit your portfolios here by Wednesday, February 17th: