Canada’s crown jewel of spirits, whisky, has dominated the liquor market with a 30+% market share, year after year. And fittingly, Crown Royal reigns supreme on the throne. Although it was first created in 1939 as a gift for the King and Queen of England, the meaning and symbolism afforded to royalty have evolved significantly. Cut to 2021. What does royalty mean today? Traditional associations of opulence, decadence and luxury no longer apply.
This season, Crown Royal partnered with multidisciplinary Toronto artist Justin Broadbent, known for his colourful murals, music video production with artists like Shad and Metric, photography, and unique, playful branding work, to create a limited-run edition of purple-hued bags. You may know Justin from his prolific Instagram presence, @keithdungeon, or, #Gary81, however, his work with the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Junos and other notable arts organizations in Canada has made him one of the most well-known Canadian artists today.
This exclusive series of bags introduces Justin’s definition of royalty, using his unique illustrated sketch style to reimagine the traditional notion of the monarchy. Through his creative free-hand approach, royal symbols are broken down and reimagined as more accessible, everyday emblems.
Bye-bye pomp and circumstance, hello, celebrated commoner. As Justin puts it, “Royalty is your homies. The new crown bearers are no longer monarchy. The castles in the sky are no longer inhabited.” A new, defined sense of eminence is rising up. “Royalty is now a celebration of one another. Royalty is perseverance and unity. The new currency is meaning, place and generosity.”
The bags feature Justin’s playful drawings and, breaking free from traditional royalty symbols, include simple symbols of hearts, stars, flowers, manipulated crowns, four-leaf clover, and the occasional signature cat. What does it all mean? You’re lucky, either way. Small moments of joy are what make up our every day, and how we celebrate each other. Through his redefining of royalty, we come to understand that fist bumps with a friend, small gestures of humour, and the stars around us are what modern aristocracy really means.
If you live life with a generous spirit, life will treat you generously. Show someone you love that they’re royalty to you, by everyday acts of generosity, including gifting a bottle of Crown Royal, delivering homemade cookies, or writing them a poem.
Justin’s limited-edition bags are not available for purchase, so keep your eyes peeled for giveaways from your favourite online partners.