For the last six years, art galleries have been receiving the research services, direction and management of Sophie Schwabacher. She’s a University of San Francisco alumnus who began her rise in the art world studying art history and management. Currently, she is the gallery manager at Salt Lake City’s Modern West, which, in combination with Salt Lake City artists, has motivated Schwabacher to display her own art with her first-ever publicly displayed art series. What is the object and medium for her series? Beer cans depicted in watercolor.
Two experiences largely contributed to Schwabacher choosing beer cans to be painted in her series. The first was drinking an AriZona Green Tea on her porch on an enjoyable afternoon with her boyfriend. The pretty and intricate details of the cherry blossoms on the classic teal can caught her attention. She saw their correlation with branding and thought, “It might be interesting to recreate in watercolor,” Schwabacher says. All of the cans that would eventually make up her series caught her eye in a similar manner, with eye-catching, classic branding.
The second experience was seeing the billboards and company signs around the Salt Lake City area for the first time. Schwabacher has only been in Salt Lake City since October of 2020 and felt like she was seeing something from a different era, nostalgic and out-of-place. “Beer cans were similar to that,” Schwabacher says.
Schwabacher’s materials and design method for her art are simple. “It’s really important for me to use materials that [are] really accessible and not expensive,” she says. “It’s just watercolor paper and watercolors.” She keeps a small watercolor traveler set and the paper—“no stress regarding the materials,” Schwabacher says with a smile. The only other component is the beer itself, as her paintings turn out best when the object is right in front of her.