Justin in Indy Star - 10 behind-the-scenes jobs in craft beer

I get a really cool mention in this article in Indy Star.  Check out me at number 6, but also make sure you check out a lot of the others listed in the article.  There are a lot of really cool jobs in this Craft Beer industry.


Day 3 to Vote for Justin Jay McIntosh - Sun King Brewing

Today is another day that you can vote for me for Nuvo’s Best 2-D artist of Indy here…/best-of-indy-2016-is-here/BestOf… and while you are there, you can also vote for my beer group @TheDumpBuckets for best Twitter feed. I mention The Dump Buckets in today’s post because the painting below is a major influence in why my friends and I started the brew crew.

When I first moved to Indy, I tried to make a name for myself in the art community. I quickly got frustrated. College taught me how to better my painting technique, but I realized that I did not know how to sell my work or market myself.
Around the same time I tried to start an art career in Indy, my friend Tony was getting me into craft beer. I went to my first craft beer festival in January of 2009, around the same time I finished the first escalator painting. I was still really new to drinking, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to try beers that I never tried before. That is when I found out I really liked Barleywines. Not being used to the high alcohol brews, I ended up passed out at a table with an hour of the fest left to go. My only other memory of the night was my friend Mike drunkenly wearing cardboard boxes, pretending to be a robot as we left the fest.
The next day, I had a horrible hangover, but I also had an appreciation for the people and culture of the craft beer industry. The more places I went, I got the opportunity to meet some really cool people. What was cool for me, the people I talked with had an interest and fascination with the art I was creating. I was grateful. The craft beer community kept me going when I was having thoughts about not doing art at all. People supported what I was doing and encouraged me when they just met me moments before. I reassessed my career goals and came up with a plan to work on a series of work that excluded people and focused more on spaces and lighting, as well as focus on work for me rather than to sell. While I was coming up with this new art direction, I was also going to my second beer festival the summer of the same year. I handled this festival much better than my first.
Just by chance, my second festival also happened to be the same festival that I believe Sun King Brewing debuted. We really like their beer. It was easy drinking and a highlight of the festival, but one of the reasons that they stood out to me at the time were their tap handles. They were hand forged, metal sculptures. Each tap handle was a piece of art, and that stuck in my memory long after the fest.
With my growing love for beer, the awesome people, and my new art direction, I though what better way to show my appreciation for the craft beer industry than to do a few pieces of art. The inside of the breweries fit the direction I wanted to take my art. I though the reflective surfaces, large interiors, and interesting lighting would be a great challenge, and the first place I thought would let me paint was Sun King because of the artistic tap handles I remembered from before. After a few emails, I found myself at the brewery taking several photos.
The painting below is the result. It is the first brewery paining that I have completed, and I was happy with the finished product, and Sun King was happy too. I let them know it was complete and asked if they wanted me to bring it in to see. I did the painting with the full intention of hanging in my kitchen until it sold, but the next thing I knew, the brewery bought the piece and were getting ready to hang it in preparation for their 2 year anniversary. I was honored.
And now back to how this painting is responsible for the Dump Buckets. High on life for selling the Sun King Brewing painting and the 2011 Microbrewers festival weeks away, I had the idea to make a promotional video by bringing a camera to the festival. I planned to ask people about the art of beer in order to get inspiration for future pieces as well as keep track of the beers that we drank. While at the fest, my questions were not really going anywhere but I knew I was having a good time. Luckily Tony’s brother Jimmy was at the fest too. I was turning on the camera, pointing it at Jimmy, watched him talk to strangers, and was getting amazing responses. The camera died early into the fest, and I had no idea how my footage would turn out. A week later, we had our first beerfest video out on YouTube. It wasn’t really about art, but it was amazing. At that point, we decided to keep bringing a camera in hopes to celebrate the craft beer industry that welcomed us all with open arms.

If you would like, you can watch the first video below.


Thank you all and dont forget to vote for Justin Jay McIntosh for best 2D artis at

And while you are at it, vote for my beer group @TheDumpBuckets for best Twitter Feed of 2016 as well.



Day 2 to Vote Justin Jay McIntosh for Best 2D Artist of 2016 is another day that you can go to…/best-of-indy-2016-is-here/BestOf… and vote for the best of Indy. And if you can, please vote for Justin Jay McIntosh for "Best Local 2-D Artist". It will really help, and I would greatly appreciate it.

Below is a piece of writing I did a few years ago about the first major piece I attempted to paint after graduation from Indiana University. In relation to yesterdays painting post, this is the piece I decided to cut people out of my work in order to work on the backgrounds of my art. It was around the same time I was getting into craft beer, and my next major piece was the start of the series of Bar, Brewery, and Beer related work that I am still doing to this day.

Something I did not write about below, when I was half way done with this piece, I became really frustrated with the blue kiosk on the left hand side of the painting. I must have painted and scraped off that section about 10 times. I placed the piece in a closet for a few months to get out of my head. When I finally went back to the piece, I realized I was worried about nothing and it looked good.

"My work in early college primarily focused on the human figure in various positions. The person would take up most of the space within the frame of the artwork, and the background would be overly simplified. With this being the main focus of these images, the pieces started to become more closed off than I wanted them to be. I decreased the size and importance of the figure, becoming more interested in the area around the figure at the same time. The experimentation continued to adapt, and it eventually developed into a series of works that I am still working on and adapting. This painting is the latest in a series that illustrates unique views of expansive interior locations containing figures interacting with the space.

When thinking about locations out in public that would fit this series, one of my first thoughts was the shopping mall. Malls are magnificent spaces that contain long corridors and unique architecture. Most of the time, these spaces are overlooked due to the concentration on shopping. People are running in and out of the different stores, concentrating more on their next purchase or the other people around them. The shopping centers of my youth were the places to go for social interaction, assortment of cheep food, and nearly anything that you wanted to buy. Bright lights and large store front would draw the spectator in for the next acquisition. Rest areas allowed the visitor to catch a breath before continuing.

This painting is of a stack of overlapping escalators that can be found at the Circle Center Mall in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. When I first arrived at the location to do some shopping, I was motivated. This mall had many areas that were visually compelling to me. I chose this view because of the out of the ordinary structure and the five levels of the shopping center that can be viewed from this location. I had not done a large painting for some time, and I wanted a challenge. I found this location visually complex and interesting. The intertwining cool and warm colors of the location were subtle but distinctive. This was a result of the multiple natural light sources that became more artificial in the areas lower levels. I also was drawn in by the chaotic repetition of the escalators, the variety of angles, and the challenge of representing the space on a flat canvas. I also could not pull away from how malls have changed from my youthful memories.

As I got older, it became sad to see the amount of shoppers at these places dwindling, and stores in the malls are changing all the time or leaving all together. Even though many ideas are in the painting, it is meant to represent barrenness. Store fronts are purposely not shown because they can be generic and interchangeable. The people in the painting are not carrying bought goods because these locations are required for shopping thanks to internet access. And besides the escalators, the levels of the complex are empty of human life, but most of the life in the painting is intended to show optimism. The young man at the lower level is looking back on where he came from, and the figure at the top is sharing the location with his child while guiding off the moving escalator. They are not rushing the moment. I even see the people stuck at points of their lives because I see memories of moments in my life within each of the escalator riders.

The lower, empty levels are my times in high school. They are empty of life because I did not really know what art was yet, but the young man at the top of the lowest double escalator is a symbol of how I felt at the start of college. I was looking back on my time at Valparaiso High School, realizing that I was changing and so was my artwork. The work I was doing in high school was not as sophisticated as each piece that would follow. I had arrived at the level of college education. My taste developed and my understanding continued to grow at a fast rate. Artist I looked at before were new again, and I could explain why I saw them that way. Even though there were some hard times in those four and a half years of college, I felt my work continued to get better. By the time I graduated, I was doing work I was genuinely proud of.

Times got tough after college was over. This painting was stared after a disheartening period in my artistic life. Just before moving to Indianapolis and starting on my art career, I had graduated from college and was preparing for the adventure ahead of me. My college art studio was being used for storage of my materials rather than production of new pieces. This ended up being a mistake. When I was able to get back to the studio in order to pack up my supplies, I found the door wide open, paints stolen, and work destroyed. Supplies that I have been gathering for 5 years were gone. I was left with empty oil paint tubes and remnants of work I once did. This was devastating, and it is represented by the man in the center of the painting. He is moving to a lower level in his life, just like I felt was happening to me. Instead of moving forward in life, I was forced back to a place where I did not want to be. The path was there, but starting over was difficult. And depression kept me from doing art for a long time.

At the time, I was examining my past, stuck in the present, and avoiding the future. I was not consistently doing art, and I did not know what I wanted to do next. Excuses were adding up, but none of them were worth the breath. There was a fight going on between finishing this painting and my lack of motivation. It was not until we moved into our newly built home that I became inspired to complete this partly finished work. Thanks to the several days of consecutive painting, everything began to feel familiar but new at the same time. Instead of jumping to a moment I thought I was ready for career wise, I arrived at a place that would better suite my professional life. This is what the man at the top of the painting represents. I am happy where I am, but I am preparing to move up to that next level.

The next level, the highest level, in the painting is where the spectator is looking down at these escalators, and it is where I see myself going soon. This painting helped me to think more about how my other works would progress. I have many ideas for new painting that are carrying on ideas I found in the previous piece. This series of artwork is already adapting to new ideas and locations. All I have to do is build canvas and prepare for the next chapter of the adventure."

The painting last year was auctioned off to support the IYG, a group my wife has volunteered at for many years.


Thank you all and dont forget to vote for Justin Jay McIntosh for best 2D artis at

And while you are at it, vote for my beer group @TheDumpBuckets for best Twitter Feed of 2016 as well.



Vote for Nuvo's Best 2D Artist 2016 - Cheers to Death & Taxes the 2nd year in a row, I have been nominated for Nuvo's Best Of Indy in 2-D Art. Last year I got second, but with your help and support, I hope this year it is 1st.

Please head to and register at the link in order to vote for me as best 2-D artist of 2016.

You can vote once a day until the ballot closes on August 29, and I plan to post a piece almost every day with some history on the pieces until voting is over.

Please follow the event if you are interested, and share with anyone that you think my find interesting.

Thank you all for your support!

First, I wanted to say thank you to everyone for your friendship and support. Your votes are greatly appreciated, and I hope it shows.
I am starting off these painting posts with a piece I am really proud of due to many factors. Beside depicting 2 of my closest friends at one of our favorite breweries Taxman Brewing, this painting was the main inspiration that rejuvenated my goal of a fulltime art career.
For the years proceeding the creation of this painting, my work was mainly absent of people. I made the decision after college to focus on work that was non figure based. All I did in college was figures and portraits with the occasional class assigned still life. I was getting in a comfort zone, and the backgrounds in my work suffered. What better way to fix that than to paint what I was avoiding.
By the time I decided to start on the Taxman piece, I wanted to prove to myself that that I could bring realistic figures back into my work as well as keep the space believable. I knew I was succeeding when I was about 80% done with the piece, and I posted a progress pic to Facebook. About an hour after it was posted, I received a notification from Facebook that they wanted to auto tag Tony and Justin, the 2 people in the painting. It felt good, and like I was making progress. I did not expect that concentrating on what I originally did not want to paint would have such a positive effect on parts I was purposely avoiding.
All in all, I estimate there is about 80 hours of total work in the piece. A lot of time was spent on this piece. It was time well spent.


Thank you all and dont forget to vote for Justin Jay McIntosh for best 2D artis at

And while you are at it, vote for my beer group @TheDumpBuckets for best Twitter Feed of 2016 as well.



Zelda Beers with Flat 12 Bierwerks