By Hayley Thomas
Like an artist with sleeves splattered with paint, remnants of winemaker Steve Christian's craft is visible all over his hands, which are discolored from working with acids and caustics. As he poured wine at Studios at the Park during the Art of Wine event last Friday - an exhibit featuring collaborative artwork created by local artists and downtown wineries - he was struck by a connection between the two crafts.
"Artists and winemakers often use the same theme over and over, but just a little bit different, and that's so much like the wine business," he said. "I have five acres of Barbara, 15 acres of zinfandel and five acres of petite syrah, and I've been working with the same vineyard since 2002. So I'm working the same theme every year, but it's always a little bit different." Christian pointed to the array of brightly colored depictions of vineyards hung on the walls at Studios on the Park. "That painting is different from that painting, but they are all unique and they are all beautiful."
Christian Lazo Wines represented one of a dozen downtown wineries that teamed up with the artists of Studios on the Park to create works of art inspired by the fusion of art and wine. During the event guests enjoyed food, sipped wine and partook in a silent auction of the artwork benefiting the artist nonprofit.
Collage artist and painter Sarah Winkler said that the blending of art and wine makes sense for the Paso Robles area.
"I think it's the same crowd that enjoys art and wine, and [that crowd] comes to Paso Robles for a destination, and...[The artists] are here so people can visit and connect with us," said Winkler, who added that the vineyards themselves are a great source of inspiration for local painters and photographers. "A lot of the artists in here are inspired by the landscape because we live amongst all these wonderful vineyards. I use a lot of landscapes in the backgrounds of my paintings, and I'm very inspired by the landscape of this area," she said.
Many of the downtown wineries feature local artists in their own tasting rooms, giving locals and travelers a taste of the area's diverse talent.
Anglim Winery features a different artist at least six times a year. Owner Steffanie Anglim said that she and her husband, a winemaker, like to keep the exhibits as local as possible - not unlike the Art of Wine event.
"We try to mix it up in terms of media, but the key is to showcase local scenes, local places and also the works of local artists," said Anglim, who added that winemakers and artists put a lot of their heart and soul into their crafts. "For me, both art and wine require a lot of input of self. In terms of what we pick, and what growers we work with, we like to work with people that are small like us, and are really good, quality focused people," she said. "I think art is the same way. you put a lot of yourself into it, and you reflect not only your home, and your environment, but your own personality."
According to Anglim, good wine and good art should reflect the artist and stay true to their unique vision. As attendees viewed the drastically varying artwork created by the artist-winemaker duos during the Art of Wine Event, that point may have been the unspoken theme of the evening. "You can tell if my husband made the wine on the table because his fingerprints are on it," said Anglim. "And that's true for other winemakers, and it's obviously true for local artists."
For more information regarding Studios on the Park visit 1130 Pine St. in Paso Robles, call 238-9800 or log into www.studiosonthepark.org.