Chris Kemp has what many might consider a dream job. He’s the director of doodles for Revelry Brewing Co. That means he’s the guy who designs the Revelry beer cans and beer bottles. He also designs the brewery’s T-shirts and caps, and he painted the mural behind the bar.
There’s the classy Gullah Cream Ale with a black-and-white sketched Palmetto rose on the can, and Oh My Darlyn! with three galloping horses. There’s the fun Hotel Rendezvous with the retro hotel sign, and the Lefty Loosey featuring a VW Beetle with surfboards on top. And then there’s Eden’s Lot, with a topless woman on the beach with a red bar covering her breasts.
Chris says he works closely with the beer brewers to create a vision for each product. “There’s usually a story behind everything,” he says.
Chris describes his aesthetic as “playful” and “not too serious.” He prefers to sketch out his vision and then scan his art into the computer, which he says helps keep his work “raw” and “not too rigid.”
“I want to be honest with what I do,” he says.
Chris got his start as an artist painting on surfboards in the Outer Banks. He moved to the coast of North Carolina soon after he graduated from college with a degree in business and marketing and did a short stint at an insurance company.
“My parents were like, ‘What are you doing?’” Chris’ response? “The waves were really good there.”
He found he could make a better living creating art in Charleston than in North Carolina, so he moved to Folly Beach, where he’s still walking distance from the ocean.
“The beer industry is a lot like the surf industry,” he says. “You want to be crass, push some buttons.”
A 20-foot mural of surfers Chris painted that sat under the ramp at McKevlin’s Surf Shop on Folly Beach was mysteriously stolen in the middle of the night this past summer.
That’s how Chris knows he’s doing something right. “I guess it’s the biggest compliment you can get,” he says.
Chris also has created art for bohemian taco shop Chico Feo on Folly Beach and for One Love Kombucha, based on Johns Island. But he doesn’t intentionally seek out food and beverage companies.
“I just try to work with people who are interesting and fun,” he says.
He acknowledges that many people would love to have his gig at Revelry. He enjoys feeling like he’s a part of something and seeing it grow. And the freedom. He enjoys the freedom.
“Life is good,” he says.