Scott Gundersen is popping a lot of bottles to create his corky masterpieces.
Wine and art go together beautifully. In fact, half the reason to attend a gallery opening is the ample supply of wine offered to attendees (and cheese too, of course). However, what about when wine and art literally come together as one? That’s the question artist Scott Gundersen answers with his museum quality portraits made entirely out of vast sums of wine corks.
"Recognizing that people's reactions don't belong to you is the only sane way to create. If people enjoy what you've created, terrific. If people ignore what you've created, too bad. If people misunderstand what you've created, don't sweat it. And what if people absolutely hate what you've created? What if people attack you with savage vitriol, and insult your intelligence, and malign your motives, and drag your good name through the mud? Just smile sweetly and suggest - as politely as you possibly can - that they go make their own fucking art. Then stubbornly continue making yours." Elizabeth Gilbert @elizabeth_gilbert_writer Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear #bigmagic #artstudio #winecorks
Over the past ten years, Gundersen has gained notoriety for his massive commissioned cork-based portraits that have included the likes of Courtney Cox, famous authors like Gabriel García Márquez and both the King and Queen of Spain. His corky work graces the halls of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. and can be viewed at Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Museums in London and San Francisco as well.
"Every cork tells a story," he says. "Sitting in the studio, sifting through boxes of corks, I start thinking about the origin of the cork, the drinking of the wine, what happened the night that wine was shared among friends. My portraits, like people, are made up of thousands of stories."
While the finished works are absolutely awe-inspiring, the logistics behind each piece is astonishing in its own right. Gundersen has used close to a quarter of a million wine corks over the past decade to create these stunning works. Along the way, he’s collected corks from friends, family members, co-workers and, most recently, a cork recycler in Austin, Texas as well.
Seven years ago I was getting ready to start my first cork mural. It was an idea I had been thinking, planning and dreaming about for a long, long time. And just as I was ready to begin, I got cold feet, I got a bad attitude. I remember thinking… Whats the point? Its going to cost too much. What am I going to do with it? Who is going to see it? Its going to take too long. Will I still have time watch “West Wing” reruns? It won’t turn out good. Its a dumb idea. People won’t like it. It. Won’t. Be. Perfect. I almost didn’t make that first portrait… and probably wouldn’t have if not for Jeanne. Seven years ago, because of her encouragement, because of her support, because of her take-no-bullshit way of living I made that first cork mural. That portrait led to another and another and another. A year ago and 18 murals later I had the chance to make a new portrait of Jeanne. Its not perfect, but it’s my favorite. And here it is, in my little, unfinished basement studio. This week it made its public debut, on the wall of a wine bar on the 227,000 ton ship called Harmony of the Seas. Seven years ago… I’m so glad Jeanne pushed me to take that first step. I’m so glad I made that first portrait. This ones for you Jeanne.
Gundersen's next commissioned work comes from Big Cork Vineyards in Rohrersville, Maryland, where from July 8-16, he'll carefully arrange 14,000-16,000 corks to create a portrait of the vineyard’s head winemaker. The project will take 65-80 hours to complete and patrons are welcome to watch Gundersen work on-site as he creates a new masterpiece.