Behind The Front Cover with Mike Hughes

This months Ferment front cover is a wonderfully trippy depiction of the beer scene in the North of England. It comes from the mind of Mike Hughes, an artist and graphic illustrator based in Edinburgh. Through out his work he purges the millennial age, takes his impressions and boldly lays them out for you to interpret. We talked to Mike about his art and how he got started.

Skinny Whiskey Business – Mike Hughes

MH: I studied painting at Gray’s School of Art but all the while Illustration was a big passion. The work that influenced me so much in my youth came from print media so naturally I moved to create work in that area. My process is very much grounded in traditional techniques using brush and ink in my earlier work. Now everything is digital for practical reasons but I’m still basically still just doing the same thing on a screen.

Ferment – Mike Hughes

B52: How did you approach the cover for this months Ferment? Are there any elements you really love?

MH: As with most of my work I try to get something visually enticing with some hidden humour worked into the theme of brief. For this cover which is focused on the North of England I had more than enough to go on to create something fun and interesting. The beer belly’d Angel of the North seemed to stand out as a favourite in the office which was great.

BOM Brewery – Mike Hughes

B52: What is it about craft beer that attracts you to it as an industry?

MH: Well I always try to work in Industry’s that I enjoy and I, like a growing many people drink my fair share of craft beer. The great thing about this industry is that it’s still in it’s infancy which is when all the most exciting stuff happens. For an artist like myself it’s a great chance to help shape the culture visually, which as far I can tell is all about good times and not taking yourself too seriously.

DIG BMX - Mike Hughes
DIG BMX – Mike Hughes

B52: From your front covers, to your bike art and the amazing murals you’ve created there is a thread of the gritty surrealism mixed with playful colours throughout – where does that comes from?

MH: I think that comes from the way we live in this day and age. Everything is moving so quickly and visually over saturated, what I make is a snap shot of that feels. I’m not usually criticising anything, more just presenting ideas for the audience to digest.

Feast Your Eyes – Mike Hughes

B52: Is there anything you’d like to do in the future in terms of working with people or projects within or outside the craft beer industry?

MH: Absolutely, I think the Food and Drink industry has space for much more exciting artwork. I’m on the look out for companies that want to start brave and exciting campaigns with their products. I would love to work on something longer term too like an alternative illustrated cookbook or perhaps some collectible beer matts? Who know’s what’s around the corner really, that’s what makes this such an exciting profession.

B52: Well we love the front cover and we’re sure that all of our readers will too!

MH: Great! I’m glad that I get to explore the industry with awesome companies like Beer52. Cheers guys!

Check out Mikes incredible work at

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