Artist Thomas Arvid helps you ‘see’ wine beautifully [classic article]

Thomas Arvid is a renowned still life painter whose art can be seen in our very own Fleming’s Prime Steak House and Wine Bar in Baltimore! His passion is painting and now, sculpting, wine in all its glory. Like a Fleming’s steak, Arvid is hot-hot-hot: his paintings command five and six figure price tags, and there is currently a four-year wait for Arvid originals.

What are your latest projects?

I have commission work that I need to be doing. I’ve been doing charcoal drawings with a little hint of color, like the old black and white photographs that are hand-tinted. Many people say my paintings are so realistic, so this is an in-between with the raw and the realness.

Do you feel your understanding of the color palette of wine helps you taste wine and vice versa?

I’m very visual. I can see subtle differences in color. I can look and see a bad wine, it has burnt in yellow.

How did you know you had a talent for painting wine?

My friends saw my paintings and couldn’t believe I painted them. I saw that the most successful painters had a niche. I had a red series, and started painting wine. I don’t do the traditional wine with cheese and a knife. I painted wine the way we drank it. People brought me bottles of wine!

Wine, having a vintage, is about a certain moment in time. Would would you like the moments you capture to say to an audience 200 years from now?

They will see the way that Americans have learned to relax like Europeans. We can drink beautiful, expensive wines in a casual setting.

You have a busy schedule. Is it a new paradigm — the artist as celeb?

I’ve always been open to meeting people. People collecting wine and art want to know the artist. Once they meet me, they like my art better! I still pinch myself.

How can we introduce the luxury of wine into our lives?

Be open to trying new things. Trust one’s own palette, instinct. Wine has been unlike music — we don’t need articles telling us what kind of music we like or don’t like. If someone doesn’t like country music or jazz or opera music, nobody needs to tell them that. It’s okay to like or not like a wine.

Arvid was asked this question recently, with the following answer: As your career has progressed, you have become known as a sort of purveyor of fine living, someone who enthusiasts look to for ideas and inspiration. As such, can you give us a few tips of how you choose a wine to pair with each meal?
People can get caught up in the “right” or “best” wines to drink. Wine is more of an expression of personal feeling, choice, and mood. You do not need to be so much knowledgeable about wine, as comfortable and experienced with it. The more experiences you have in drinking wine, the more knowledgeable you become about how it fits into moments. The best way to learn is by drinking and experiencing – you’ll not only gain knowledge, you’ll also gain stories and memories. Each person is ultimately their own wine expert.

Eventually, you will learn how to pair wine with not only food, but also to a gathering, to people, to an event.

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