We have received a lot of feedback from the poster made in-house for Orval Day by Jester King artist Katie Ross. Most of the feedback was positive, but we feel compelled to respond to the negative feedback we received suggesting that this image was used as sexualization of the female body for marketing purposes. This feedback presents an opportunity for a needed conversation. It has been our intention to avoid sexualizing the female body for use as some sort of marketing commodity. We think our record in the past does well to reflect this. We too recognize and are infuriated by the abuse of the female body, as it continues to be viewed and used commercially as an object of sex. The beer industry in particular has been noticeably problematic in regards to this type of imagery.
The artwork for our Orval Day poster was not meant to be any exception to this recognition. It was created by Katie Ross without prompt and without shame of the body she chose to include. We stand behind Katie and her Orval Day art, are thrilled to have her as an employee, are enthusiastic about her talent, and are proud to showcase her work. It was not her intention or ours for the body in the illustration to be reduced to a sexualized object. Still, it is important for us to hear that such an image could be interpreted as something like "Chesty la Rue."
Here are comments from Katie Ross on the matter:
"It was not my intention to offend anyone. If y'all have heard of the legend of Orval, a widow dropped her wedding ring in a spring and prayed for it to be returned. A trout returned the ring, and she said this must be the Val d'Or (golden valley). She then gave the land to the monastery. In my mind, I always thought she must have been bathing to drop her ring in, and if you are familiar with my work, I love celebrating the beautiful form of women and people in general, in all their naked glory. I don't think that the people here who were offended have their hearts in the wrong place, but I do need to state my intentions or non-intentions on the matter. This is definitely a good conversation."
Thank you to all for your input and for having this discussion to begin with. We will certainly consider this feedback when deciding in the future what imagery is appropriate for use.