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  • Writer's pictureJeff WIlson

Blending Monica, Origins, Art, and a Flight of Wine

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I have been fairly open that the source inspiration of my collection, “Monica”, comes from a local wonder, but generally obscure, wine varietal by that name with roots in my own origins, my past work, and general love of wine.

The first piece, “Monica di Bianca”, is a direct homage to my grandmother, ancestral roots, and a general appreciation for the known and unknown of our own origins and what makes us who we are.

It should be noted, however, the first four pieces are carefully selected to outline the collection’s structure.

“Monica diBiance”, “Monica del Nera”, “Monica de La Rosa”, and “Monica tra Fenicotteri” all have special meaning.

Monica di Bianca

“Monica di Bianca”, as mentioned, is a direct reference to my grandmother, Nanny, who is my own primary source to my history, lineage, and a significant element of my own personal identity.

As that “source”, it made sense to position first, setting the stage to all that comes next. As it happens, it was also the very first developed from an early experiment mucking around with my new found “etching” technique used in a previous collection, “Xinomavro” (another obscure wine varietal).

Since Bianca also stems from “white”, it’s a natural pair to both the following two pieces, “Monica del Nera” and “Monica de La Rosa”.

Monica del Nera

“Monica del Nera”, Monica of the Black, felt right to follow Bianca with two reference points.

First, Monica, the grape, is a black grape.

Secondly, paired with Bianca, sets the stage for moving back from my last, uncharacteristically “colored” collection. Now, coming back to my origins of mainly black and white pieces. Peruse early work here for proof.

Anyone who knows of either wine varietal lineage and general 11th grade biology understands that curious traits temporarily go dormant only to surface later in interesting in new, but eerily similar, ways in future generations.

I enjoy reflecting this in my work—pulling from the past to move forward.

Monica de La Rosa

“Monica de La Rosa” takes a couple more turns. “La rosa”, meaning “the rose”, is both a nod back to wine but also touches the ancestral.

Together, Bianca and La Rosa not only lend themselves to the obvious white/red wine connection but La Rosa happens to be my grandmother’s mother’s maiden name—thus the non-standard, though grammatically correct, capitalization.

Again, digging deeper into roots, lineage, and connections to the past while surfacing in the present.

Monica tra Fenicotteri

“Monica tra Fenicotteri” is a more playful reference linking to the local culture.

Can we say terroir?

OK, so flamingos (“Fenicotteri”) probably have little influence on the characteristics of a Monica-based wine but is of local significance and plays well to coloring (white/red/pink wines).

Pulling It Together

This collection is about tying together the variety of elements that define our origins, where we are today, and hinting at where we may be headed.

We all come from somewhere. We are all partially rooted in that past, defining who we are today. And we are all in a transition to somewhere tomorrow.

For me, this collection aggregates my family history, my past work, recent explorations, and what I am positioning for myself today—all under the context of wine.

Art, family, wine are all dependent on steps from one generation to the next. All are inspired and locked into those precious steps. All of those are benefactors of those steps, the characteristics and values, and, though sometimes inconsequential, it’s just fun to explore, understand, and opine on the connections of that journey.

It’s not always clean. It’s not always direct. It’s not always true. And sometimes it’s just a story one tells. It’s art. It’s family. It’s beauty. It’s on the surface or deep within. Who gets wine, really? Who gets family? Biology? Art.

Whatevs, sucker. Buy these. Your grandkids will benefit.

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