Black Bull, Big Bear, Colt 45, and Black Label. These are all examples of “40s” – or large bottles of 40 fluid ounces of beer. The stuff is made from malted barley, and the alcohol content ranges from about five to 10 per cent. For Concordia fine arts major Mark Stroemich, two 40s equal a good night. But for Stroemich, the 40 is more than a just cheap way to get smashed. He’s taken the 40 as the subject of his colourful oil paintings.
The McGill Daily: Why do you paint 40s?
Mark Stroemich: I use the 40 bottle as a base to start a painting. I try to approach every new 40 painting in a different way. I use the 40 as an object to explore different ways of painting. It’s just a symbol that holds together an inconsistent body of work. I think it’s very important to try new things not only in painting and art but in life. I will always try a new 40.
MD: Do you paint when you’re drunk?
MS: I don’t normally paint drunk. Although in the past I have used alcohol when I was struggling to start.
MD: Is beer your favourite drug?
MS: Beer is my favourite drug. I don’t do weed. I used to. Now I do harder drugs.
MD: Do you remember your first 40 – or your first beer?
MS: In high school I remember drinking 40s after water polo practice every Friday with my teammates. I don’t remember my first 40 – it probably tasted like piss and made me puke. The first beer I drank was a Coors Light that my friends and I stole from our parents’ barbecue. We couldn’t handle the taste so we poured it into a Slurpee.
MD: Describe the taste of malt liquor.
MS: Malt liquor can taste like a sweet juice, like poison, or warm piss.
MD: What’s your favourite brand?
MS: I don’t have a favourite brand. It’s all the same shit. I like the ones that are aesthetically pleasing and have good design.
MD: If you were a millionaire would you still drink 40s?
MS: I would hope that I would still drink them if I was a millionaire. A forty would be a good reality check for a millionaire.
—Compiled by Whitney Mallett