Q: What, if any, differences are there between creating artwork for a label and creating art for the canvas?
A: The size is definitely a big difference for me. I typically paint on canvases that are 5 – 6 feet but I work on a smaller scale for the label. I also have to consider the composition to be sure that it complements the curved format of the bottle.
Q: Have you ever painted for a wine label before?
A: I have consulted on several wine labels with my friends in the wine industry – they often call me to give some advice on color and composition. I also create the wine label and participate in an annual project with Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar to assist in blending their in-house wine, 46 Diamonds.
Q: What sort of research went into sitars before completing the original charcoal sketch?
A: Understanding the history and beauty of the unique sound was essential for me in beginning the composition. I’m always curious to learn how things work: I taught myself how to paint, how to woodwork, how to play the guitar and ukulele so I couldn’t resist learning the sitar, too. The first thing I did was purchase a real sitar and watched several YouTube black and white videos of George Harrison taking lessons from sitar master Ravi Shankar - that’s how I learned to play a few bars!
Q: Sitar Pinot Noir is a five vintage series showcasing each stage in your artistic process. How was this idea formed?
A: Dr. Revana came up with the idea and I thought it was perfect for this project. He said, “Thomas I really like all your artwork from the charcoals and mixed media to sepia tones and oils. Can we do something that pulls in many elements of your work?” Many people see my finished compositions and they don’t understand the process, how my work evolves through several stages of development . . . just like a great wine. This series provides a unique opportunity to see the progression of color, texture and detail.
Q: How would you describe the relationship between Pinot Noir and the artwork that you are creating?
A: The beauty of this project is that we are both learning together. Just like winemaker Tony Rynders continues to perfect his craft with each vintage, I too will make adjustments to refine my work. We will make improvements at each stage until we achieve our masterpiece.