Street artist creates outdoor piece to get people drinking again – from a safe distance

Shepard Fairey’s ‘Studio Number One’ teamed up with Stella Artois for the piece of art that is designed to maintain social distancing. But rather than use stark signs and barriers, the artwork will subtly guide drinkers to colour-contrasted circles that will allow individuals from different households to meet safely to share a beer together. The 28×14 metre artwork, unveiled at London’s Truman Brewery, allows drinkers to enjoy a glorious pint together, many of whom haven’t had the chance to do so in months.

The work borrows techniques used in op art, urban planning, architecture and design to manage people’s movements and make keeping socially distant obvious and easy, without the use of off-putting physical barriers.

There is a careful combination of circles, flowing lines and bright, contrasting colours, set within a representation of a woman enjoying a beer, creating a design that is both functional and artistic.

The result is a piece of art which transforms an otherwise featureless space into a pleasant place to linger safely over a drink.

Shepard Fairey, creative director and co-founder of Studio Number One, found fame in 2008 with his ‘Hope’ artwork supporting Barack Obama, and the studio’s work is recognisable by its graphic style and use of strong blocks of colour.

He said: “With galleries and exhibitions closing their doors during lockdown, people have been unable to experience and appreciate art in the usual ways.

“My team collaborated with Stella Artois to create socially-distanced art to be publicly accessible, but also to facilitate safety as people reunite.

“I have a history at the Truman Brewery, so I’m excited that this debuts there.”

Stella Artois will share the designs with pubs and bars across the UK to help them manage their own social distancing as they finally welcome back customers.

It is not the only initiative from Stella Artois to support the UK’s hard-hit pubs and bars.

The brand, part of Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I, launched ‘Save Pub Life’ in March, offering a platform for pub-goers to buy gift cards to use in their local when it reopens.

The group is also providing a package of re-opening support for pubs and bars across the country, which includes access to an on-demand ordering platform, operational safety support, as well as barware to help with the demands of post-lockdown opening.

Ali Humphrey, marketing director, Stella Artois Europe, said: “Social distancing doesn’t need to be anti-social.

“We’re using art to bring people together, safely, rather than using barriers to keep them apart.

“Using street art we can make sure this moment we come together again is still one we can savour.

“Despite the mounting anticipation for that first post-lockdown beer with a friend, people are still risk-conscious.

“Would-be pub-goers need reassurance that pubs will be safe spaces.

“But they also don’t want to lose the social atmosphere that makes them so special, which means trying to make spatial guidelines something drinkers can take pleasure from, rather than feel restricted by.”

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