Though she's usually busy challenging conventions (and censors) as an incendiary pop provocateur, M.I.A. occasionally reminds us that she's also an accomplished multimedia artist. In the past, her wild visual streak has manifested in her diasporic album art and videos, as well as 2008's vibrant (albeit short-lived) streetwear line, Okley Run. Now you can glimpse her latest art at your neighborhood liquor store because the "Bad Girls" artist has designed some zany beer bottles for Beck's.
If you enjoyed M.I.A.'s Kala eclecticism, the Beck's graphics may feel like an extension of that era's flag-derived merchandise. The singer tells Spin that she created the bottle designs while she was in India doing "digital paintings" in the wake of her Vicki Leekx project. "I just wanted to make something that was like an evolution of the design stuff but still part of what I did before," she says. She notes that she is not a big beer drinker herself, yet "sitting down and having a drink and having a little chat is a good thing, and that's what people tend to do, you know. They get drunk and get together."
In other words, the standard M.I.A. approach is in full effect. She may be in disagreement with the mainstream, but if she can't beat it, she might as well aestheticize it to her liking. "To me, as an artist, there is a responsibility that goes with the opportunity to create art and put it out there in the world, whether it’s on a Beck’s bottle or you’re hanging it up in a gallery," she explains.
You can spot M.I.A.'s handiwork for Beck's – as well as guest designs by artists Geoff McFetridge and Aerosyn-Lex – at bars and liquor stores this summer. Check out her "Bad Girls" video below.