Colors of Wine
By Jennifer Bentson
Did you ever wonder what to do with that left over wine?
Steve Seizo Nakamura suggests you try painting with your wine. Steve Seizo Nakamura is a renowned artist known for his paintings using wine as his paint. Steve says his nature is to constantly create and while conducting wine seminars at Trader Joe’s he began experimenting with “Fine Wine” as a painting medium. Steve catalogs the colors of wine and has over 600 references of specific wines by their color on paper, vintage, varietal, and wine maker. He has developed a special technique to gain depth and tones while working with the unique properties of pigmentation and chemical consistency of wine. Some of his paintings take weeks to complete as he adds layers and layers of wine to achieve depth.
Watching Steve paint is like watching an alchemist. Steve has developed special colors of wine by reduction, mixing, and application techniques. He is constantly experimenting with surfaces. One of the challenges of working with wine is that the alcohol in the wine dries quickly and tends to wrinkle regular watercolor paper. Even when you adhere the paper to another surface, the paper will not behave like a usual watercolor. The wine also changes it’s composition as it is exposed to air. Some of Steve’s paintings have residual crystals growing from the artwork as the wine ages. Recently he depicted Jimi Hendrix portrait full of symbolism of his life and death. Steve used a mixture of different mediums including wine. He also included the Big Ben Clock behind Jimi to symbolize that Jimi died in England and the clock face shows the exact time of death. The Seattle Space Needle is in the painting as Jimi Hendrix was born in Seattle, Washington. There are other features of this painting that are from the life of Jimi Hendrix. The viewer is asked to look deeper. His artwork is not only fascinating from the mediums he uses, his images are linked and developed with the emotion of this unusual artist.
The wineries of Paso Robles are familiar with Steve’s artwork. He is a regular at the Castoro Beaverstock Festival which features music and art each May. He was featured at this festival gallery two years ago in a solo exhibition. Steve will again be featured in May 2015.
Opera music is Steve’s favorite. He often hosts events at his Ancient Vines Studio in Long Beach with opera singers, artists, dancers and…..wine. Besides his wine paintings Steve focuses on figurative artwork and with his burgeoning creative spirit. He entwines the human figure with the landscape, and other forms. Using many unusual surfaces including metal, wood, and canvas, his images evolve as you look at them. When I asked Steve to describe his style he said it is “Discovery”. He is constantly pushing the envelope and trying new adventures with his art. Truly an artist to watch, Steve lives and breathes his creativity.
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