Working with a Winery

If one year ago you would have told me that I was going to be part of a special collaborative event at a highly respected winery in the Columbia River Gorge, I would have politely asked you to eat your hat. If you would have then added that I would have been working at this winery for 6 months getting the know the industry at an intimately level, I would have eaten my own hat too.

This year has brought some incredible changes into my life. One of the biggest changes came from a casual request in early January for me to do a series of paintings inspired by the Wine Country of Dundee, OR for Art Elements Gallery in Newberg.. This request started a change reaction of events that led me to fall in love with wine, the wine industry, wine country and most importantly the people who work in it.

This is how my journey unfolded. 

Soon after accepting this request to paint vineyards I was hooked.  After painting vineyards and farmland feverishly for the first four months of 2015,  it only made sense to move to the Hood River. My intention was to open my own studio gallery whilst at the same time making connections with wineries so I could show my new work in their tasting rooms.

(Of course, everyone knows that wine and art pair perfectly.)  

  In early June I drove up the rustic lavender framed driveway of Syncline Winery in Washington State to inquire if they had any wall space that they might let me hang my paintings. They had no wall space however, they did have a job for me in their tasting room. I looked around and realized that I had to accept their offer. I spent the next six months working in the tasting room by lending a hand during bottling and pitching in during harvest.

Down the rabbit hole I went. 

By working at a winery of such quality and dedication I discovered that wine offers an incredible range of experiences to the user with it encompassing farming, science, ancient history and modern technology. The culture, culinary aspects, and intoxicating beverage transcend borders. The creative commerce and transportation, the beautiful global landscapes, and amazing people bring all this together while making them very happy.

This year been has been deeply humbling, challenging and ultimately transformative. I feel truly blessed to have had the pleasure of working with and getting to know James and Poppy Mantone, founders and owners of Syncline; Lisa Wolverton, Lauren Cullen, Melika Belhaj and Amy Martin whom I worked with in the tasting room; Brendon Simpers, Lisa Wiseman and David Sadr who work in the winery and the rest of the Syncline family. All of whom are top grade human beings that I admire in more ways than I could count. They allowed me into their world and I'm deeply thankful. I would also like to mention and honor the Syncline customers, fans, and champions that I had to pleasure to serve during the summer. You're wonderful!!!

It's my dream to open a permanent studio gallery/wine tasting room in the Columbia River Gorge next Spring. My plan is to feature my art and studio along with wines from small independent makers that create outstanding wine but need an outlet to get a foothold in the industry. I feel this would be a win-win.

Current Winery Partners 

Syncline Winery, Lyle, WA

Elk Cove Vineyards, Gaston OR

Stoller Family Estate, Dundee, OR

Many thanks,

Christopher Bibby

 

Below is a pictorial journey of my summer at Syncline and the other wineries I now work with.

 











HEALTH BRIDGES INTERNATIONAL

ART FOR A CAUSE : HEALTH BRIDGES INTERNATIONAL

www.hbint.org

HBI is a Portland-based non-profit that provides healthcare to impoverished communities around the world.

Last spring I created two paintings dipicting shanty towns in Lima where Health bridges does most of their work. The paintings were created specifically for their annual fundraising event and they raised $1500 for the cause.  Joe and Pat Cambell, founders and  of Elk Cove Winery in Gaston, OR beat everyone out in the auction and took both paintings home, which made my night. 

For 2016 I'm work with the amazing people at Elk Cove and my very inspiring friend Wayne Centrone, founder or HBI.org on a combined donation that can unite the beauty of Oregon and Peru using my pen and ink sketch style work.

 

 

On Mentorship

I believe that artists should nurture one another. Just being there for other creatives, to offer encouragement, moral support, critiques, and sometimes even art supplies, helps us to develop long-term, meaningful partnerships and also can greatly impact our work in a myriad of positive ways. How would Impressionism, Abstract Expressionism, or any major art movement have begun if artists hadn't all just gotten together to hang out and talk about the things they were making and why?

That's why I am a major proponent of mentorship. I feel strongly that helping artists who are just starting to get their foot in the door of the art world is as important to my work and life as it is to theirs. Amanda Meyer is one such up-and-coming artist and designer, who I have been working with since spring of this year.

Amanda first approached me about an internship position I had advertised online. The position had already been filled by another bright young woman, but nonetheless her email caught my attention and I decided to contact her to see if she was interested in helping me redesign my website. She readily agreed to a work exchange, where I would provide her feedback on her current art series, help her set up a studio in her house, give her tips and advice on how to frame and display work, and develop a plan to show and sell her art, and she would set up a website for me.

I quickly found that not only could Amanda help me with brainstorming and implementing webpages, she also took the time to research me and has a knack for writing and editing copy. She's also a graphic designer, in addition to being a talented mixed media artist. Eventually I hired her to create some marketing materials for me, which has been working out excellently. 

And I've helped her artwork develop. When I found out that she needed more storage space in her studio, I brought over some shelves and helped her set them up, which made her workflow faster and helped her finish several pieces that had been languishing in process for months, sometimes years. I discovered she didn't have a good space to spray paint frames, and offered to let her use my studio. She was thinking about making prints of her work, so I offered her some printing credit. We visited some of my favorite galleries during a First Thursday in early summer, so she could become a bit more familiar with the Portland art world. Mostly, we've spent time looking at and talking about the beautiful things she's making, which has helped her to focus her efforts, refine her craft, and motivated her to begin seeking out art shows and spaces to display her work.

I've found that mentoring Amanda has been an incredibly rewarding experience, one which has benefited us both. 

If you are an artist, a creative, or just someone who has an area of expertise, I encourage you to become a mentor. You might be surprised at how much you gain when you do.

You can see Amanda's work on etsy, facebooktwitter, and tumblr.

A Whole New Website

Hello everyone!

If you've visited my website in the past couple of weeks, you may have noted a few changes. And by a few changes, I mean that we have completely redesigned the website!

I felt it was time for a fresh new look that would display cleaner, larger images, to better showcase what I am creating, and give everyone who supports that work a peek into my studio space and the background of my creative process.

The new website allows you to get to know me a little better, providing many ways for you to keep in touch and follow new work, meet me at arts festivals, and connect with other places I'm showing work. 

Take a moment to visit! I hope you'll find something beautiful to look at while you're there.