Milwaukee artist Alyssa Borkowski – aka Neat Cool Fun – has the rare opportunity to be able to go to her neighborhood store and see her artwork printed on cans of beer for sale.
Borkowski, a UW-Milwaukee graduate, is one of 10 winners of Pabst’s 10th Edition Art Can Contest, which means her artwork adorns cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon and she gets $10,000, too.
Since it started the program of printing artists’ work on its cans, Pabst has given more than $150,000 to artists and put their art on more than 400 million cans of PBR.
“My friends and I will casually see them in the stores while buying other stuff,” says Borkowski.
“It feels so surreal. I have the can and the original painting side by side in my room and even then it doesn't feel real.”
Pabst says it received about 7,000 entries from countries around the globe. Borkowski learned she was one of 25 semifinalists in February.
Borkowski’s design, rendered in the required blue and white, conjures a computer screen with a series of open windows, including one showing a cat atop a toilet seat lid, a lounging skeleton and a PBR logo.
“I'm a big fan of vaporwave, so I was really digging the computer setup concept,” she says. “And I also enjoy incorporating cats and skeletons in my work, two great loves.”
Asked if she’s a fan of beer can art, she namechecks a New Belgium classic.
“VooDoo Ranger comes to mind,” she says. “Always so vibrant and eye-catching.”
In addition to seeing her cans in stores, Borkowski also gets to see a billboard congratulating her win on Miller Park Way and National Avenue. And she’s got that bit of extra cash, too.
“A big thing I did was upgrade my computer, which will be a great help for future creative endeavors,” she says, “and I've certainly been treating myself a bit.”
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.