Meet Talented Photorealism Artist, Dean Spinks

...and the man behind this epic Pacific Ale tinnie sketch

Last week, whilst doing our daily flick through the gram for inspiring beery news and content, a notification popped up - It was a tag from Sydney based artist Dean Spinks. The post what we thought at the time was a close-up photograph of our Original Pacific Ale can, but after flicking through Dean’s Instagram account of hand-sketched portraits and photorealism art, we quickly realised it was a drawing. Dean had sketched every little detail of the floral design, the shadowing and coloured in the entire can with the signature Pacific Ale orange using a blend of light yellows and dark oranges. A piece of art that took concentration, time and precision.

We reached out to Dean to find out a little more about the man behind the can drawing and asked him about his love and passion for art and of course, beer.

Meet Dean Spinks...


Give us a bit of background about yourself.
G'day! I'm a former graphic designer turned pen-artist from Cronulla. I'm big into photorealism, and draw most of my subjects larger than life. Drawing exclusively with pen, my artworks take an excruciatingly long time thanks to my crosshatching process, but that's all part of the fun!


What inspired you to get into this style of design?
Well, I think the love for photorealism just comes from the way my brain is wired up. I could never handle doing abstract type art because I never knew when a piece was finished. I can totally appreciate that kind of art, but personally when I'm making art, I'm only content when I feel like I couldn't add any more detail.

I started drawing with pens because all my previous pencil and graphite work would smudge and lack the clarity I wanted, so I would never finish it. Sure, pens are permanent so there's no room for error, but the detail I can get with a 0.03mm marker is second to none. So when I worked out I could crosshatch thousands of tiny lines to make a drawing, my style really took a direction from there.


How long have you been doing it?
I've been at it about 4 years now. After being stuck behind a computer in an office for 10 or so years, I started drawing just to have a creative outlet that wasn't computer based, and wasn't dictated by design briefs. I really got a lot out of it and can't believe how far I've come in a few years - funny what happens when you practice, right?!


What is your most memorable piece?
There's a piece I did last year for the Dobell Prize for Drawing. It's kind of a blend of two faces. I really like that direction because it blends portraiture and photorealism, but it's not just a straight up portrait. It's just a really interesting result, I could stare at it for hours. I'm really proud of that piece and want to explore this direction more in the future.


The Pacific Ale can drawing is epic! How long did it take? Any challenges?
I'm so stoked with how that one turned out! I've only just started introducing colour to my work, but I've been getting so much good feedback from that one, I think it's a winner! It took me around 30 hours, which is relatively quick compared to some of my other pieces. Actually, yeah, blending the colours was pretty challenging. I didn't have the right coloured markers, only really light yellow and dark orange, so I had to blend them by crosshatching them to create a mid-orange colour. Oh and how could I forget all those floral details, that took some careful work!


Looks like you have a love for good beer too, any styles in particular you love?
Yeah I love to sink a good pale ale! I reckon the craft beer industry as a whole in Australia is in a really cool place. Lots of great breweries are doing really good things, they all have their own personalities and are making great beers. There's a lot of support from the breweries for artists and musicians, that's what gave me the idea to draw some tinnies.


Any other passions on the side?
Yeah I absolutely love surfing and get out there most days. I've also been kickboxing most of my life which probably isn't your average artist's hobby, but it's just so much fun.


What’s your next challenge?
I've actually got an exciting project I'm working on at the moment for one of Australia's biggest portraiture prizes. I just did a sitting with a Hip Hop legend and I'm in the process of starting a massive piece featuring him. More to come on that one!


Finish this sentence. I love drinking a cold beer whilst…
Bullshitting to my mates about the waves I just got. Haha, pretty cliche but there's no better time for a beer than when you're surfed out!


Check out Dean's work below or jump over to his website and Instagram.