Who among us has not pondered the question, “What would happen if I turned myself into a craft beer can?"

Portland-based make-up artist Vivi Moss decided to find out. 

Since February, she’s been artfully making up her face to resemble her favorite craft beer can label and design, documenting her efforts on Instagram as she goes. Her account has now grown to more than 700 followers, including some of the beer industry’s movers and shakers. 

“I wanted to put something happy in the world,” at one of the pandemic’s lowest points, says Moss, who has no formal training in make-up application, and the project took off from there. 

Before the pandemic, Moss worked in the craft brewery industry in Minnesota, where she worked as a bartender and bottler, and took various beer brewing courses.  

But since her move to Portland in 2017, her small kitchen has made it difficult for her to brew her own beer, forcing her to “put it on the back burner” (pun intended).  

Her love for the craft brewery scene and talent with a makeup brush led her to the “Vivi and the Cold Ones” project (and yes, it would be a great name for a band.)  

To pick which beer she’ll turn herself into, Moss visits beer mecca Saraveza frequently, but about every six weeks she’ll do a sweep of the city to see what other stores may have. She avoids beers that are “too desserty, or too hazy” or just simply don’t fit her taste buds. When asked about a favorite beer, she can’t choose. She says “rather than having a favorite beer, I more enjoy the hunt and the discovery, and tasting and having different experiences.”  

Once the beers have made it back to her home, Moss prioritizes them by requests and longevity of the beer (she will put hoppier beers first, as they tend to depreciate and change quality with time). After she gathers her beer selection, she lines them all up, takes a photo of the cans, and then sketches out possible design ideas in her sketchbook. Next, she gathers her supplies, and color matches her paints directly to the cans, which can take hours. And finally, she goes to work painting her face. 

Moss estimates that most designs take around four hours, though some have taken as long as seven. Along the way, she’s learned about what kinds of design show up better in photos, and what kinds of color palates don’t work. Creating these designs can be “like technical puzzles,” Moss says, requiring a precise arrangement of colors and shapes, while allowing for the limitations of makeup as a medium. 

Thanks to the popularity of her Instagram, Moss has been recognized in public, at various breweries by her fans. “I expect that no one knows about it so when people come up to me … I’m always surprised,” she says. 

Follow Moss’ project on Instagram at @Viviandthecoldones 

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