Of the artists who’ve decorated the van so far, these two get the blue ribbon. John Marroquin, Jr. and Christ Sanchez were invited to paint the Pabst Blue Ribbon van at this year’s Mo Pop Festival. Yesterday, anyone at Mo Pop could paint the van, and as a result, there was no coherence to the collaboration. Today, Sunday, July 26, 2015, Marroquin and Sanchez carefully planned out what they were going to paint, and covered up the previous paintings with Pratt & Lambert semi-gloss latex white base.
“It’s got so much paint on it, closing [the van’s door] is a 2-hand job,” said Matt Sievers, Pabst Brewing Company field marketing manager for the Heartland region. But certain parts, like the windows and the license plate, were covered with cardboard that will be removed before the engine is started up again. After the white base, Marroquin and Sanchez laid down broad areas of color with Rust-O-Leum spray paint. “I like Rust-O-Leum,” Sanchez said.
Since Marroquin and Sanchez collaborate on a comic book titled El Mariachi, it was only natural that they would paint two characters from that comic book on the van’s passenger side, about to drink another 12-ounce can of Pabst Blue Ribbon on top of a pile of empty cans. The Pabst Brewing Company has zero tolerance for employees driving drunk. In any case, the van “is only good for short distances,” Sievers explained. After Mo Pop, a shipping company will take the van to Charlotte, North Carolina, where it will be driven around the city before it is painted again.
As the day went on, several people stopped to look at the artists’ progress with great interest. “I think it’s a beautiful expression of urban life and art,” said Dominic Consiglio, who came to the festival with Jackie Davis to hear Modest Mouse. “It has almost like a Spanish feel,” Davis said. The Pabst van can be tracked on its Instagram page. There are also pictures of the van on Marroquin’s Instagram page as well as Sanchez’s Instagram page.
The plan for the van is open-ended. “We’re gonna keep it going as long as it makes sense to keep it going,” said Rob Reilly, Pabst Brewing Company director of field marketing for the Eastern division. Reilly would not rule out repairing the van or getting a new one. “We’ll donate it to charity for spare parts” once it is no longer in driving condition, he promised.
In addition to Pabst Blue Ribbon, the Pabst Brewing Company also makes Old Milwaukee, Schlitz, Stroh’s, McSorley’s, etc.