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Tequila Gives Art a Shot

Tequila Gives Art a Shot

Sarah P. Hanson / ArtInfo

March 12, 2010

A slug of tequila has always offered a certain measure of support to artists toiling in obscurity. However, that point has rarely been made as literally as by Proximo Spirits, which has been giving emerging artists a platform through the Essential Artists editions series for its best-selling 1800 Tequila.

The 1800 bottle’s design has always been functional — the stopper doubles as a shot glass — but this limited series features street-smart art meant to look as good on a bar as it would on a wall. Buoyed by the overwhelming response to last year’s debut collection, Proximo sent out a nationwide call for emerging artists and graphic designers to send in their designs for the series, eventually receiving 15,000 submissions.

The 11 winners chosen include Ian McGillivray, who contributed a trippy fractal portrait in his self-described “Pop Mortem” style, and Chad Shore, whose My Angel depicts an eerily faceless woman with the red puckered lips and striped shirt of an 1980s Gaultier model. A tattoo-inspired 12th design was commissioned from the Shepard Fairey–founded Studio Number One to round out the collection.

The Essential Artists series adorns bottles from 1800’s premium Silver line, made from 100 percent blue agave grown on family-owned ranches in Jalisco, Mexico. After a two-step distillation process, the spirit matures in French and American oak barrels, so don’t worry about forsaking your palate for your artistic taste. And if you miss out on this round, more will be served up in the future: the distillery is still a long way from the stated goal of featuring 1,800 artists.

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