A few months back I was watching House Hunters International (a fantastic show for someone who would love to travel, but can’t really afford to), and drinking Jagermeister. I’ve always had a fascination with this drink due to it’s potent and unforgiving black liquorice flavor. The taste is so strong and unique, that in my opinion, it seems to be more of an entity all it’s own rather than just a drink. Even more so when combined with it’s universally recognizable logo and bottle. As I was drinking a bit on this particular afternoon, I was studying the color scheme of the packaging and their use of a single male deer as the centerpiece to their logo. Considering my recent series of work using animals as the focal points of my paintings in combination with specific color-schemes, I became absolutely obsessed with the idea of creating a painting based on Jagermeister. I knew that this would make an interesting addition to the series of work I’ve been putting together for awhile now, while at the same time paying homage to something I can appreciate for it‘s unique qualities and the legacy that it‘s created over the years.
Most of my recent work doesn’t usually require much of an explanation, and the times that it may, I would much rather leave that open to the interpretation of the viewer. This piece, however, is different in the fact that I would like everyone to be able to see my specific vision behind this painting.
The concept behind this piece is based on both Jagermeister, as well as the legend of St. Hubertus, the patron saint of hunters. To sum this legend up, St. Hubertus was a cunning and somewhat irresponsible hunter driven with a thirst for the kill. Upon hunting one Good Friday while others were crowding the churches, he was confronted in the woods by a large stag adorned with a crucifix between it’s antlers. This stag came with a warning for Hubertus to change his ways and turn to the Lord, or else he would surely go to Hell. After this, he gave away his worldly possessions and became a devoted follower of God and the Church, as well as an ordained priest. Being that Jagermeister originated, and is made in Germany, where hunting is considered a highly respectable practice, the creators of Jagermeister chose this legend to portray the vision behind their product.
With the framework of my painting in place, and the general color-scheme based on the colors of the Jagermeister product, it was very easy for most of the structural elements to fall into place. One of the centerpiece elements in the painting, the large green heart, is based on the urban legend that Jagermeister actually contains deer blood as a main ingredient (it does not). I think the basis of this idea is in the fact that the Jagermeister recipe is a secret formula, along with the fact that the drink is so potent and mysterious, that people feel the need to associate it with something almost supernatural. I was fascinated with this idea, and thought it would be fitting to include a tribute to this odd concept within the painting.
After including my green-heart-of-Jagermeister in the piece, it only made sense to me that this heart should act as somewhat of the life force behind Jagermeister. Toward the tail-end of the stag, you can see that some of the structural elements of this heart branch off into various plants, which happen to be some of the actual known ingredients in the Jagermeister drink. Black liqourice being the most obvious of these due to the overwhelmingly strong presence of it’s flavor. I’ve also included oranges (for the orange peel ingredient) as one of the primary elements in the piece partly due to the fact that they would add an interesting aesthetic. Other ingredients included in this way throughout the painting are the chamomile plants (with white flowers), star anise, and lavender (which wraps and winds it’s way through the piece).
A couple of the other relevant elements in this painting are both of my tunnel-like structures. I paid homage to the unique lettering of the Jagermeister logo by doing my best to match this to the dark-brown design pattern on the orange tunnel-structure in the upper right-hand corner. I didn’t want to copy the actual lettering so much as simply give the implied overall feel that the two are related. As far as the other structure on the far left edge of the piece, I tried to give the feel of simple European design.
The final element in this piece that I would say is directly Jagermeister-related, would be the oak tree which branches from the base of the heart. I used this tree because the use of the oak and it’s acorns is one of the more prominent features of the Jagermeister label.
So there it is, a highly detailed and thorough explanation of my vision for the painting The Stag of St. Hubertus of Jagermeister. Hopefully in sharing this, I’m also able to give a glimpse into my thought process behind this piece so that the painting can be appreciated just as I’ve intended. In summary, my vision behind this painting was to create a place where the legend of St. Hubertus could come together with the actual creation of Jagermeister.