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The magical art of Ed Org

PUBLISHED: 16:09 08 August 2011 | UPDATED: 19:49 20 February 2013

Ed Org's sketch for a T-shirt design of Wychwood's Hobgoblin beer.

Ed Org's sketch for a T-shirt design of Wychwood's Hobgoblin beer.

Ed Org's art explores the world of faeries, elves, witches and the unseen natural world. Candia McKormack visits him at his Cheltenham home and is enchanted by what she finds

Entering the realm of faery

Ed Orgs art explores the world of faeries, elves, witches and the unseen natural world. Candia McKormack visits him at his Cheltenham home and is enchanted by what she finds

Of course, youre already familiar with Ed Orgs artwork.

Visit any good pub or off licence and youll see his supernatural creatures peering out from the shelves, enticing you to drink deep of the intoxicating brews within the bottles they inhabit. As the artist behind Wychwood Brewerys distinctive beer and cider labels, Eds work is seen and enjoyed by many, including none other than the President of America (David Cameron presented a case of Hobgoblin beer to Barack Obama at the G20 Summit).

Ed believes in going the extra mile to find the inspiration needed to produce the flights of fantasy seen in his intricate paintings and drawings. In the studio of his Cheltenham home, the detailed large-scale pencil drawings give a glimpse of what would appear to be the natural habitat of the fae, and Ed reveals the very down-to-earth nature of how he gets the other worldly scenes he excels in.

I have a tendency to disappear into the undergrowth to find my inspiration. For this drawing, he says, gesturing towards a large, painstakingly executed pencil drawing, I walked along a path that leads down to Conwy Falls at Betws-y-Coed where all the tourists go, and I nipped over a fence, slid down a bank, nearly falling into a ravine, and found this, he explains. A few years before there had been a terrible storm which had taken down several trees, and now there are lichens, moss and toadstools growing over the area it was like something out of an enchanted land.

Eds Estonian ancestry, of proud people living close to nature among its forests and lakes, must surely have helped shape the man we see today. He grew up, however, in Shropshire. Born in 1955, the landscape of his childhood the wild beauty of the trees, the fields, the ancient orchards, the disused railway tracks, the untamed landscape gave way to the urban development that is Telford New Town.

It was a paradise when I was growing up, he says, showing real emotion at the loss of his childhood playground. Its all gone now theres absolutely nothing left, its all roads and houses. My parents were very keen to teach me about wildlife which I probably took for granted at the time, but I so appreciate what they did for me now.

After embarking on an art foundation course at Shrewsbury College in 1973, he was introduced to JRR Tolkiens The Lord of the Rings which sparked something deep within his creative psyche. Ed went on to take a BA Fine Art course at Cheltenham College of Art in 1976, which culminated in a BA course based on the writings of his beloved Tolkien.

While working for several years in Cheltenham as a graphic designer, he came across the Sealed Knot English Civil War re-enactment group and felt inspired to produce drawings based on this period in history. Also, in the early nineties, graphic design was being produced more and more on computer which spurred him on to going back to his roots and producing art by hand, selling online and at craft fairs across the country.

And what of the famous Wychwood commission? I was exhibiting at a craft fair in Abingdon when this young guy came up to me and said Im starting this brewery up; will you do a picture of a goblin for me? Ian Rogers was only 27 when he sold his house to set up in partnership with Chris Moss, and Ed remembers fondly visiting the brewery office which was then effectively a garden shed. From humble beginnings

Ed carried on to produce designs for other Wychwood brews, including Black Wych and Fiddlers Elbow, and his artwork can now be seen on beer bottles, pump clips and T-shirts the world over.

As well as, of course, in the hands of prime ministers and presidents.

Ed Org has a solo selling exhibition from August 8-21 at the Pop-Up Studio, New Brewery Arts, Brewery Court, Cirencester, GL7 1JH, tel: 01285 657181,

Many of Eds beautiful pieces of art can be bought as originals or prints from his website


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