Ian Vandenberg uses bottle caps, particularly from Abita Brewing Company beers, to create pictures of Louisiana wildlife, college logos and fleur-de-lis (“Everybody wants a fleur de lis, I’ve probably done a hundred”). He's a professional graphic designer and he likens the caps to computer-graphic pixels - the small dots that make up images on computer screens. “Really big pixels,” he says with a laugh.
Vandenberg began making his cap images several years ago, after he toured the Abita brewery and saw a bottle-cap piece in the shape of the state of Louisiana.
Before that, he had joked about being at the brewery so often that he thought he could get a part time job there. He later joined the visitor center staff and realized he could have access to unsterile bottle caps, which are unsuitable for packaging use.
“I probably have 100,000 caps at home from Abita,” Vandenberg says.
Now he has a growing art business in his home. “It’s all over the house,” Vandenberg says. “Our kitchen island is always covered in bottle caps.”
He's sold pieces throughout the area. New Orleans Saints backup quarterback Ryan Griffin commissioned a piece depicting his alma mater Tulane’s logo.
In the last year, Abita cut its number of bottle cap colors from 12 to six, so Vandenberg approached cap manufacturers to get the colors he wants.
Vandenberg’s work and contact info can be found at his Pelican Capworks Facebook page