'It's a cat on the toilet:' Milwaukee woman named one of Pabst Blue Ribbon's 2022 Art Can contest winners
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Alyssa Borkowski didn't even have her own computer when she submitted her digital artwork to one of the world's most popular beer companies.
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee grad had entered Pabst Blue Ribbon's 10th Edition of their international Art Can contest, thanks to encouragement from her mother.
"My mom sent it to me, and she said, 'I think you should really do this, Alyssa.' I’m like, 'okay Mom, sure,'" Borkowski said.
She had only begun painting three years prior, but said her popularity began picking up during the pandemic.
"I just did it for fun mostly," Borkowski said. "I actually had borrowed my friend's laptop to even make the design on because I didn’t have the tools."
That's why it was a complete shock when she got an email in February from the company letting her know she was one of the top 25 semi-finalists in the competition.
Her piece, featuring a cat on a toilet and a skeleton laying down in a bed, was in the running to be voted on by the public.
Borkowski said they had to use blue and white colors, noting that although she drew roughly 10 sketches, the overall design only took about a day.
"I like the vaporwave kind of style, so like a computer, tech and early 2000s set up so I kind of just mashed it all into one," Borkowski said.
After a couple of weeks passed to allow time for voting, Borkowski said she was sleeping when her phone began ringing.
"My friends all called me at the same time and that’s how I found out," Borkowski said.
She had been named as one of ten PBR contest winners, with her artwork selected out of about 7,000 entries from over 120 countries.
"That's crazy," Borkowski said.
Each winner received a prize of $10,000 dollars, a billboard featuring their name and artwork put up in their city, and their design printed on 140 million PBR cans sold nationwide that began recently rolling out in stores.
"I think it's fun, you know. It's a cat on the toilet. You don't see that every day," Borkowski said. "A lot of [the prize] went to some bills I had to pay. I got a new computer."
For the Milwaukee resident, it's surreal to see her artwork on the Cream City's "go-to beer."
"I've always drank PBR with friends and ordered it at bars and now like everyone I know in Milwaukee is like, 'hey, I randomly got the drink and it had you on it,' and I’m like, 'yeah, that’s nuts.'"
The billboard featuring her artwork is on Miller Park Way and National Ave. in West Allis until Nov. 27. The special cans are sold at any local and regional store that carries PBR.
To view Borkowski's Instagram, click here.
For her Etsy shop, click here.