Ralph Steadman – The Wine Lover, The Artist

bth_flying-dog-gonzo-imperial-porter-21350578If you are a beer geek like me you probably have heard of Ralph Steadman.  He designs the artwork for Flying Dog beer labels.  But Ralph Steadman’s work goes well beyond the controversial beer labels.

Did you know he is a wine lover as well and has written three wine books? I didn’t.  But let me back up a bit.

Ralph Steadman was born in Wallasey, Cout thheshire, on 15 March 1936. He started off as a cartoonist for Manchester Evening Chronicle.  Steadman continued as a freelancer for various papers into the early 60s.  He did some printing and graphic arts studying into the mid 60’s  In 1970 he visited USA and did some work for Rolling Stone.

That same year he met who would become a lifetime friend, Hunter Thompson, to write about the Kentucky derby. He illustrated for  Thompson’s 1971 book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Steadman returned to England and illustrated for The Times for the next six months and was asked to leave due to his seditious cartoons.  This would not be the first time Steadman would offend people with his art.

By the next year his style changed and became more visceral and frustrated with America.  He contributed work to Rolling Stone, Radio Times, Black Dwarf, New York Times, Times Higher Education Supplement, New Scientist, Independent, Guardian, Observer, and Sunday Times.

Steadman eventually lost interest in Political cartooning. He continued to offend and had a poster banned – a photomontage with guns and a headless man spattered with blood.

Steadman would go on to win a pretty impressive amount of awards but in his 50s Steadman would enter a time where wine passions would take over.  Ralph was asked to illustrate for Oddbins wine catalogue which led to Steadman and his wife traveling the globe to discover the true culture of wine.

Steadman’s journey eventually turned into a book called The Grapes Of Ralph.  I recently 3832915757_c178fbe899_tpurchased the book and was blown away with his fourth dimensional writing and his bold illustrations.

“The  individual  souls of these resilient little creatures are now one and they must suffer in torment as they do, at a maintained temperature of 29ᵒ-30ᵒC (84ᵒ-86ᵒ F), occasionally prodded, added to, and Theived” to test for specific gravity and tasted for flavor and potency.  As time goes by it, for “it” it must continue to be now, grows older and perhaps philosophic in its dark silent world, united and fermenting to perfection, a stranger to itself.”

Talk about bringing wine to life.

Ralph Steadman also wrote The Wine Buyer’s Record Book and Untrodden Grapes.  Steadman has taken his passion home and maintains a small vineyard as well.

bth_ZinHe has illustrated wine labels for Oddbins, Falcon & Hippo, and Bonny Doon (Madiran Heart of Darkness and the banned-in-Ohio Cardinal Zin label).

You just never know how opportunities can lead to new adventures and new passions.

If you get a chance check out more artwork from Ralph Steadman at his homepage.


6 comments on “Ralph Steadman – The Wine Lover, The Artist

  1. Pingback: Ralph Steadman – The Wine Lover, The Artist « West Coast Review

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