Art in Wine,Event

The Artful Side of Being on the Road and in the Air

Loving to travel is in my DNA; so is being a photographer. At the age of 10, I asked my grandfather for a camera. I got (and still have) my first Eastman Kodak Brownie. It’s long since operative, but it’s a constant reminder of knowing who to ask for what.

Going to the Florida Winefest meant that I’d have my own downtime for images that would have nothing whatsoever to do with the event, but would be fun weekend fodder.

I love aerial shots, almost as much as I love sitting in the aisle seat. Not having arranged for my seats this time, I was issued window seats coming and going from San Francisco to Tampa, and then back again on the return flight.

This year’s event was held at the Ritz Carlton in Sarasota. In the lobby, where all of the activity was in a constant hustle-bustle, quietly stood Andy Warhol… Observing, with his arms crossed. This figure was so quiet and so lifelike that my husband Jose saw the figure, but forgot that he had. The impression was too fleeting. Honestly, in the four days were were there, I didn’t see another single soul stand there in awe. He was just too lifelike, and no one had him on his or her mind. There stood Andy, quietly in a corner, arms crossed, freaking me out every time I looked at him. It was so uncanny to have something so surreal be so real. Art at its best for me.

Every year, the Florida Winefest commissions an artist to create their annual logo. As a thank you to the vintners who have come to pour, the organizers give the wine representatives a porcelain plate with annual number (18th this year), the commissioned art in the center, date, etc. This year’s creation was done by Craig Rubadoux. For me, this one’s the best so far, because is says it all. I end up loving each year as it goes along, regardless of “best representation.” At the time it is the best representation. This one, however, is going to be a really hard act to follow. It’s so passionate.

In the wine business, we throw the word “passion” around like it’s a sting of beads on Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras. Every thing’s so passionate; from the people who are born into or get into the business, to the people who are making, selling, marketing the wine; right down to the consumers who are enjoying the wine. Is there any other business where there’s so much passion all along the chain?

I love art that just cracks me up… This one is right on the corner of North Tamiami and North Gulf Stream Avenue. It’s called “Dance” and is a Dustin Shuler sculpture. After I had photographed this, I stood on the busy intersection, camera around my neck waiting for a signal so I could cross the street and return to the Ritz (I’d slipped away unnoticed to get this provocative shot), when a guy rolled down his window and shouted to me, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,” over his child sitting in the passenger seat. I hadn’t understood a word, so I said, “Excuse me?” He shouted back, “That’s not art!” It caught me completely off guard, because to me it clearly was.

Perhaps I was missing something? Nope! I shot back, “I love it! And I’m not from here.” Perhaps that’s why we have differing opinions? That said… My Jose comes up with very astute thoughts, and his reaction when I told him what the guy said to me was, “Some would argue that it is art, because it evoked emotion.”

When I crossed the street, I took time to photograph another sculpture by Seward Johnson, called “Comprehension.” I took it in this way, because we have a statued couple discussing the tooth – perhaps one of them is headed toward a root canal – with another couple discussing the couple and the tooth… How many driving along the road are discussing it all? One can only wonder… Again… Art.

As we headed back to California, we first flew up to Washington, DC. I remembered this wall on the way in, and shot it on the way out. I had to hurry to catch my connecting flight, but Jim and Helen Concannon (who were also flying with us) and Jose had hurried on ahead of me, so I knew I had a second to shoot this wall. “The flight wouldn’t leave me behind,” thought I.

Then, as we flew across the center of the country, clouds began forming. I have a series of how a mass of clouds all come together, but this one is enough for now. The world below us as we fly is a tapestry unto itself. If one’s never flown, this is an image of awe… Even though I’ve had more than share of flight opportunities, it still never ceases to amaze me. Flying is a wondrous thing.

When we flew over Oakland, the earth below sparkled with lights. I wondered what it would look like if I held my camera against the window to steady it, and just let the shutter speed capture the light in as much time as it needed, in order to have a decent image. This is the end result… Who would know without explanation? Who would need one?

…The guy on the corner of of North Tamiami and North Gulf Stream Avenue.

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