Palatable mediums: Conrad Engelhardt & Carne Griffiths





 
"De vin, de poésie ou de vertu, à votre guise. Mais enivrez-vous."
 
Charles Baudelaire, Ernest Hemingway and Vincent van Gogh; the anarchic marriage between alcohol and the creative arts have gone hand-in-hand for centuries, but unlike those tortured geniuses of yesteryear, artists Conrad Engelhardt and Carne Griffiths use wine corks and alcohol as their respective mediums, to create beautifully unique and ethereal works of art.
 
In complete possession of their faculties, Engelhardt, born in California but based in Shoreditch, creates magnificent, pointillism style portraits sculpted from wine corks and their contrasting hues. Griffiths, originally from Liverpool and inspired by surrealists such as Andre Masson, is an artist and illustrator specialising in the creation and manipulation of the drawn line using liquids such as tea, brandy and vodka.
 
CellarVie Wines tracked down each artist, individually, to discuss their respective careers, the creative process and the inspirations behind their stunning artwork…
 
Conrad Engelhardt
  
 
 
 
“I find art and the creative side benefit from being in a relaxed state of mind. I often have a drink while I am working; something that I nurse that takes hours to finish."
 
“Most of the interesting colours have an interesting story or heritage. The purple–stained corks are often from the Rhône or Burgundy. The most treasured are those with a vibrant red stain and these are from Château Musar in Lebanon. The Carignan grape and cork wood results in the brightest red with no undertones of purple or blue, they are just red. I have used these corks to make the colour of Marilyn Monroe’s lips seem as if she just refreshed her lipstick." 
 
"I want people to see the beauty that is in the world around them. Something as simple as a wine cork has a story, its own history and we can either choose to throw it away and not acknowledge it, or we can choose to see the beauty within it and bring thousands of them together to tell a new story."
 
"My art isn’t just about the wine and the cork, each artwork represents a collection of memories and emotions. Every cork was the result of a bottle being opened, whether it was for a business meeting, a first date, or to celebrate an event. Whatever the reason, my artwork represents thousands of those real interactions between people, commemorated with wine and preserved within my art."
 
 
 Marilyn
 
 
 Her Majesty
 
“The corks are never enhanced, augmented, or altered in anyway. Every cork is used as is and whatever unique characteristic they have I try to take advantage of to enhance the piece of art I am working on."
 
“I love the concept of the wine and cork interaction, the naturalness and imperfection of the wood and the stain. I see beauty in the human form and emotion in people’s faces, and wanted to use something as natural and real as we are to recreate these emotions. The colour of the wine cork and the wine stain are warm and inviting, soft colours that embrace the observer."
 
"George Seurat, the father of Divisionism, or Pointillism as it is commonly referred, was a great inspiration. The idea that a simple dot of colour can be brought together in the mind to create a harmonious image was fascinating."
 
To find out more about Conrad and how to purchase his works directly from the artist go to corkbycork.com or email Conrad@corkbycork.com 
 
 
Carne Griffiths
 
 
 
“I occasionally drink alcohol whilst working, due to the control of line that the work often requires. There is an interplay in my work between conscious and subconscious mark making and although a little alcohol moves the work towards the visceral, I find that I need the balance of concentration and lucid states of mind alternately."
 
“I discovered painting with alcohol by accident. Previously I drew in calligraphy ink and painted with washes of clear water. I first used brandy instead of water and the effects were different but very subtle. Alcohol evaporates quicker than water, leaving behind patterns on the paper that usually disperses with natural drying times."
 
“The work is very spontaneous - sometimes I just reach out for what is nearest - sometimes I know the liquid I require to achieve the end results but it is still impulsive rather than calculated. The final stage is an interpretation of these marks - it’s like regaining order from a chaotic situation where you have allowed chaos to lead."
 
 
Detail from 'Scale fell from my eyes' 
 
 
Defiance 
 
“The figures in my work are a fusion of photographic reference, imagination and ideals that exist on the page to engage the viewer. I try and capture a sense of awe and wonder and move beyond the portrait to engage with the senses on a deeper level. The work is about mood and atmosphere; a sense of escape rather than portraiture itself."
 
“I think Liverpool’s spirit of defiance, and the notion that you must struggle to achieve holds truer there than anywhere. I think the most creative times are when things are tough, either through personal struggles or through economic crisis."
 
“Our relationship with nature and our place amongst it is a subject that fascinates me, as does our separation from nature. I have a strong belief that by building up walls around ourselves we are cutting out something that is there to naturally soothe us. My new body of work is exploring our origins and cultural differences with an emphasis on back to basics."
 
“I was a huge fan of M. C. Escher (the Dutch graphic artist) when I was younger - I enjoyed the optical trickery, and the mathematical side of his work. I also love the work of outsider artists Adolf Wolfli, Henry Darger, Antonin Artaud, as well as early surrealists such as Andre Masson."
 
To find out more about Carne Griffiths visit www.carnegriffiths.com
 
 


 
Article first appeared in Under the Skin Magazine, Autumn Edition 2014. CellarVie Wines' quarterly print publication accompanies all orders on www.cellarviewines.com 
 


        
 

Written by: Ben Moss

Ben Moss 

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