Asheville Artist Earns Second Place in Annual Pabst Blue Ribbon Can Contest
By Emma Castleberry
Asheville local Holden Mesk was the runner-up in this year’s Art Can Contest hosted by Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR). The brewery hosts the contest annually, soliciting more than 4,000 entries from artists across the world this year. “It’s so wild to me and I am honored to have made it as far as I have,” says Holden. “The outpouring of love and support I’ve received throughout the voting process has been incredible and I’m forever thankful to all the wonderful people who’ve helped me out.”
While his work won’t appear on the cans, Holden’s second-place status earned him a $3,500 cash prize, and along with the other 25 contest finalists, his work will be commissioned by PBR in the future and his design will be featured in a capsule merchandise collection. “My can design was inspired by the isolation and heaviness of being in quarantine during a global pandemic,” he says.
“I wanted the can to be a dreamy, good-vibes utopia oozing with positivity, freedom and fun. I am really happy with how it turned out.” While brainstorming the design, he thought about how the can would look in the beer cooler at the grocery store or in the hands of a concert-goer. “I think it’s important to think of the human connection that folks will experience when interacting with a product such as a can of beer,” he says. “It’s definitely a challenge to fit all my ideas into a little label, but I think it’s really rewarding to see it all come together.”
Raised in Hollywood, FL, Holden moved to Asheville in 2005. “I’ve always loved being creative and would draw all the time as a kid,” he says. “When I moved to NC, I started making videos and expressing myself through that medium.” In college, he started dabbling in collage art, cutting up vintage magazines and pasting them back together to create new worlds, then sharing his work on Instagram. “After a while of only making collages, I decided to go back to my roots and play around with drawing and illustration work,” he says. “The rest is history. Today I enjoy doing a blend of illustration, collage and video work to flex my creative muscles. I am always working on different projects for people and it’s the most fun thing ever. Album covers, clothing, enamel pins, logos, personal commissions—there’s always something on my to-do list that makes me excited. I consider myself extremely lucky to have these opportunities to work with awesome people doing awesome things. ”