The Making of a Label


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For Real Ales Tales wordpress page size 22


When it came to designing the labels for our range of beers, there was only one person who we wanted to take on the project. Artist, Mark Burrell has a style which incorporates a rich pallet of colours, together with an attention to details that at times require the viewer to take up a magnifying glass. Mark’s paintings can be best described as magical realism. Imagined stories exist throughout the work, but these stories do not need to be understood to be enjoyed, because they are full of feeling, atmosphere and colour (a place of light and shadow, subtle and mysterious). One is reminded of old stained glass windows as light seems to shine out of some of the paintings in the form of sunsets, full moons or some magical source. Some of the paintings depict fairgrounds and circus folk, although imaginary, they do seem like real people, with real life concerns behind the masks and props of a circus life. There is no doubt that the work has a magical quality but there is also something of our own lives, struggles, and hopes in these paintings too.

We wanted Mark to incorporate into the labels some of the vivid colours and forms that he produces in his stunning art works and he has not disappointed us as you can see.  The paintings are just 80 mm square, that is just over three inches in old money and are scaled down to produce the required image size for the label. Next time you pour yourself a glass of our beer take a few moments to marvel at the skill that has gone into the picture!

In the past ten to fifteen years Mark has had in excess of one hundred mixed and solo exhibitions. Throughout his career, he has already exhibited in many London galleries including the Royal Academy of Arts, with exhibitions held in Europe and New York, USA.

Along the way, he has featured on television several times, winning first prize on the television program ‘Moving Art’ hosted by George Melly and Bill Oddie. In this program he was also interviewed by Sister Wendy Beckett about his work. Among his other awards the ‘Lucy Morrison memorial prize’ at the Royal Overseas League. His work has been reproduced in books, catalogues, newspapers, magazines and CD covers. Recent commissions include the design and painting for a musical, a topographical townscape, which includes Benjamin Britten in a boat in the 1953 floods, drawings for the book “The Iron Bridge” by singer songwriter John Ward, and fine detailed portraits.

We are very proud he agreed to take on our commissions to provide the images for our labels.

As you can see from the label images above, our newest brew “Trinty Gold” is still needing the Mark Burrell touch, but to give you a taste of what the label will look like, here are some preliminary sketches :

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Study for label by Mark Burrell

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For further information, please contact Mark Burrell :

T: 07961297460

or visit: