• 2.21.14

    Black Magic Rum's David Welker-Drawn Label

    David Welker was enlisted to illustrate the label for Black Magic, a newly released black spiced rum.

    "Rum has historically capitalized on its nautical legacy, but I wanted to do something that did more than pay lip service to that," said Ross Sutherland, creative director at Silver Fern and responsible for the project. "I fell in love with the idea of optical illusions in which the scenes double as skulls. David was the obvious go-to guy. He has a keen and steady hand that is considerably helped along by a wry eye."

    Welker explained: "I personalized the hidden-skull motif explored throughout art history for Black Magic ... the label depicts the captain and crew aloft in the ship's crow's nest, partying with island beauties and paying little mind to the sea monsters and large waves surrounding them – and their gathering creates the right eye socket (as you look at it) for the skull illusion."

    Like Welker's other work, the piece contains plenty of subtle messages; for example, "Sea Czar," the vessel's name, is an anagram of Sazerac, the company that distills the rum. A second drawing (and another skull illusion) printed on the label's opposite side, facing inward, shows the captain in his study, gradually revealing itself with every nip of rum poured from the bottle.

    "The final art was picture perfect – everything went exactly according to plan. David nailed the execution and the client approved the first draft without any change worth mentioning," Sutherland said, adding, "I am delighted my clients appreciate talent and that they embrace original art."

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