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Coca-Cola marks 100 years of quintessential glass bottle

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

It’s not only the distinctive and delectable taste of Coca-Cola that rules the hearts of zillions of people worldwide, but it’s also the curvaceous glass bottle of the beverage that offers it a striking identity around the globe.

The Coca-Cola bottle can be coined as one of the artistic creations of the 20th century. In 1915, the Coca-Cola Company issued a creative challenge to a handful of U.S. glass companies to develop a “bottle so distinct that one would recognize it by feeling in the dark or lying broken on the ground.”

The company finally selected the design made by Alexander Samuelsson, the chief designer of the Root Glass Company. After its launch, it created a mind-blowing inspiration and enthusiasm among various people, from erudite to ignorant.

The company will be celebrating 100 years of the iconic glass bottle this year. It will celebrate the centenary by launching different campaigns that include new ads featuring iconic celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and Ray Charles. The advertisements will also show the stars being “kissed by” the Coca-Cola bottle, an experience shared across generations for the last 100 years.

“The Coca-Cola Contour Glass Bottle is a design classic, which has stood the test of time and fashion changes,” said Bobby Brittain, Marketing Strategy and Activation Director, Coca-Cola, Great Britain.

“We wanted to create a campaign that celebrates the rich history and heritage of Coca-Cola bottle throughout the past 100 years, and show how it continues to endure as a pop culture icon,” he added.

To make the anniversary memorable, the company will organize a competition named as ‘#Mashupcoke.’ The idea is to make Coca-Cola bottle with three colors: red, black and white with the theme ‘recreate and imagine vintage Coca-Cola bottle’.

“We wanted to celebrate our past, while simultaneously writing our future, through design,” explains James Sommerville, Coke’s Vice President, Global Design.

“The resulting posters are as unique and varied as their creators – each an expression of individuality linked together by the Coca-Cola bottle,” he added.

Many of these pieces will be featured in a global campaign commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Coke bottle. Selected artwork will include ‘The Coca-Cola Bottle: An American Icon at 100 and The Coca-Cola Bottle Art Tour: Inspiring Pop Culture for 100 Years.’ The pieces will also be featured on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

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Art Undersea: Cuban Artist Sketches Under Sea Among Fish and Coral Reefs

For Cuba's Sandor Gonzalez, there is no better place to sketch than several meters below the surface of the sea

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Cuban artist Sandor Gonzalez paints underwater in Punta Perdiz. He experimented until he found a way of sketching with charcoal or oil paints which unlike pastels or watercolor would not dissolve. VOA

Some artists like to go on a countryside retreat to foster their creative process.

For Cuba’s Sandor Gonzalez, there is no better place to sketch than several meters below the surface of the sea, surrounded by iridescent Caribbean fish and fantastical coral forms.

The 42-year-old first won renown at home and abroad for his predominantly black-and-white, haunting images of imaginary cityscapes, inspired by a trip to Europe and reflecting the aggressiveness of modern, urban life.

Then six years ago, he went scuba diving in Cuba and found his inspiration in the complete opposite: the tranquility found below water where all forms are natural and not manmade, all sounds are muffled and the light ripples softly.

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Cuban artist Sandor Gonzalez speaks to the media after painting underwater in Punta Perdiz, June 18, 2019. VOA

While Gonzalez had heard of a biologist painting underwater in Spain, he decided to experiment for himself until he found a way of sketching with charcoal or oil paints which unlike pastels or watercolor would not dissolve.

The Cuban learnt to then soak the canvasses for at least an hour and rinse them to get rid of the salt and any organic matter, before hanging them out to dry.

“This started off as a hobby, as a passion,” he told Reuters at Punta Perdiz, his favorite dive spot, sheltered in the Bay of Pigs, where in 1961 U.S.-backed Cuban exiles landed in a failed attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro.

“But now I really need to come here, immerse myself and create below water because there is a peace there that you simply cannot find on dry land.”

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To do so, he gets fully kitted out in scuba diving gear including an oxygen tank and yellow flippers, and swims out 60 meters (197 feet) to his easel fixed in the seabed around 6 meters (20 feet) below the surface.

With him, he carries his canvas, and other equipment like a spatula for the oil paints weighed down with some lead to avoid it floating to the surface if he lets go.

The artist said he does not plan beforehand, instead allowing inspiration to strike as he enters a meditative state in the crystalline water. But inevitably his submarine work is more about nature than the cityscape series he continues to develop on land.

Being reliant on a tank limits the time underwater, but Gonzalez is quick and for this interview sketched in 30 minutes a flying whale, dragging a house behind it in a sky dotted with clouds. Palm trees grow off the creature’s back.

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Cuban artist Sandor Gonzalez paints underwater in Punta Perdiz, Cuba, June 18, 2019. VOA

“I really did not expect to see somebody under water, painting!” exclaimed Canadian tourist Mike Festeryga, who saw Gonzalez while diving along the seabed.

The state-run dive center at Punta Perdiz, on Cuba’s southern coast, some 172 km (107 miles) from Havana, said his work was an extra draw for tourists.

“For tourists, it’s really a novelty,” said Hector Hernandez, who has been working as a dive instructor in the area for more than 28 years.

Gonzalez, who makes a living selling work at his studio in Havana for a median price of $1,000 per canvas, exhibits some of his submarine work in the Punta Perdiz dive center.

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He is now hoping to get state permission to sell the work and develop the area as a center for underwater art.

“I would like for a department of submarine painting to be created,” he said. “I don’t think anything like that exists yet anywhere in the world.” (VOA)