Artist Statement and Mini-Portfolio
I have been exploring the interplay of wine (and spirits and beer) and the human experience since I began the WSET program. Text-based wine blogs were common and didn't hold my interest. As I advanced in WSET the Diploma required considerable reading, so I began a visual wine blog. Learning to construct technically correct tasting notes is necessary for every wine professional, but reading them did not inspire me. As a result, I created, invented, and innovated 'illustrated tasting notes', 'wine tone poems', and dynamic 'animated illustrated tasting notes' that I post on Instagram. The original blog (see '170 More Illustrations' menu button above) also includes cartoons and comics on wine/spirits politics, wine/spirits culture, and wine/spirits history, none of which are done by anyone in the wine world.
Wine, beer, and spirits cross paths with us throughout history and on every conceivable platform of life; but there is scant conceptual or visual exploration of it. The modern wine world is full of artless photographs, and representations of vineyards, bottles, and glasses. The best examples of 'wine art' are by artists who are not wine-knowledgeable but have been supported by important wineries.
Fueled by curiosity, I stretch further to see what I can produce visually-textually-conceptually to expand an expression of the wine (and occasionally beer and spirits) experience on spiritual, historical, and psychological levels. Sometimes I'm searching for the humour in an otherwise self-serious industry – paradoxically, since its products are consumed in order for us to lift ourselves out of the seriousness of the banal and everyday.
I am particularly drawn to abstract expressionism in forms that are carefully and purposefully constructed with a base of knowledge of wine terroir, history, and region. I am interested in digging in and around deeper, both visually-textually-conceptually, to see what – like the vine growing out of rocky, dry, infertile soil – emerges.
Below are a few expressions of my experiences with these alchemic, alcoholic foodstuffs in a range of art forms: (in columns from left to right) Three graphic comics, and two canvas portraits in the first column; mixed-media production vessels on canvas in the second column; single-bottle 'tasting notes' articulated into purposefully coloured, visual 'tone poems' in the third column; and three early conceptual renderings of the vineyard life-cycle (below this group is a complete vineyard-cycle set).
View these (below) in vertical columns.
Below is a series based on the vineyard cycle. Plowing, pruning, trellising, les pleurs, budding, flowering, and two versions of the colourful veraison that precedes harvest, which begins the cycle anew.