19’ x 34’, 68 1/2 Queen St., Charleston SC
This mural, “Renoir Redux”, was done for Mira Wines, a Napa Valley winery whose head office and tasting room are located in Charleston. Renoir Redux typifies the form many of my large-scale projects usually take. Mira Winery had a new building with a highly-visible wall and wanted a mural to make a statement announcing their presence. They didn’t have a concept in mind when we first met—merely the need for something to convey the quality of their product. At the same time, the mural could not be a sign or any kind of blatant commercial reference. It was left up to me to come up with an idea and sketches to illustrate a concept fitting their needs.
Sometimes pursuing the very first idea that pops into my mind is the way to go, but in this case it took a more oblique route. The company had been experimenting with submerging cases of their high-quality wine 60 feet deep in Charleston harbor, and they received quite a bit of press about this technique. At first, It seemed like I should create an underwater scene with a shark or marine creatures nestled up to the wine cases, but the idea didn’t wear well and didn’t really convey the sophisticated classicism of their wine.
While in this meandering state, I realized that the site was very close to Charleston’s fine arts museum. That got me thinking that a fine art reference was the perfect vehicle for celebrating the idea of fine wine and food. What better image that Renoir’s “Luncheon of the Boating Party” could convey that? Of course, the 19th century painting needed to convey a connection to Charleston, so I used some of the luminaries from the local food world in lieu of the original cast and placed the Mira bottles on the table.