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For the past thirteen years, the image of Evereman has been scattered throughout Atlanta as an iconic image. Evereman symbolizes unity and cooperation for all in the city and beyond. This is why we reached out to Evereman artist, Jay Wiggins, to carve tap handles for our brewery. We resonate with the Evereman symbol and how it parallels to all of our individual projects, creations, and relationships.
How did you get started as an Atlanta artist?
I moved here as a 19-year-old kid coming to the big city from a small North Carolina town, and pretty early on I started doing street art, mostly in Midtown. Atlanta was a lot smaller when I came here. As a little kid I said I was gonna be an artist and Atlanta has allowed me [to do that]. I can’t imagine a better scenario for myself.
At the time I was part of an underground art gallery called the Blue Rat gallery – that was a group of artists that put on shows. We rented several buildings on Peachtree in Midtown, where it was a very supportive community. I’ve been part of the underground ever since.
What’s the story behind the creation of Evereman?
My son at age 10 came into the shop one day and wanted to make a stencil. So we did out of that little face I made and started painting the face on wood scraps. And we’d paint Evereman and on the weekend we’d go out to and put the Evereman around town. And I just became enamored by it.
What do you like about the craft brewery scene?
I love beer and I love that Atlanta now has craft beer. And I appreciate very much that Monday Night supports the local art scene because it’s a community builder. I think about 98% of artists drink beer.
What did you think about the tap handle project?
I loved the tap handle project. Wood is the material I know, so I was given the cast handle to work with, but I’m more of a sculptor than a painter, so I thought I’d rather make a wooden one, since that’s more of my element. Painting isn’t my thing, making a thing is my thing.
Do you see a connection between the Evereman philosophy and craft beer industry?
I do in terms of the philosophy around the idea of local, of something that you can recognize within your community, and the idea of more “get out there and do it yourself.” I think there’s this emerging generation of independent and local. I’d much rather know where my money’s going. The whole idea of Evereman is all of us together cooperating instead of competing.
How has Evereman empowered or changed the Atlanta community?
I’ve often thought the image was something that when Atlanta sees it, it makes us feel like it’s our community and our home. This idea of an image that those of us that live here recognize as our own.
There must be hundreds of people that are gifting art now, but the term that has stuck is free art. To me it’s gift art. From my experience I’ve met a lot of wonderful people doing it, and I’ve always opened up my shop to the community, hopefully to inspire people to do their own thing and clearly that’s happened and it’s really cool.