Last year I received an interesting commission from Annette Harcus of Harcus Design in Sydney, Australia. I was asked to create a portrait of Ivor Williams – the founder of Windfall Wine Estate – for a new bottle’s label.
“Ivor Williams lost a hand while a member of the Home Guard in WWII. From this adversity he created opportunity, using the money received in compensation to purchase land in the Geographe wine region. It is here Ivor’s granddaughter and her husband were able to plant and establish Windfall vineyard in 1996.
What made this particular project challenging is that the family had just a few, very poor quality photographs of Ivor, none of which were clear enough for my portrait’s reference. Instead, I went with their very specific description of his appearance. Apparently, his facial features were strikingly similar to the late (great) Philip Seymour Hoffman, but instead of Hoffman’s thin, straight blond hair, his was tightly curled and dark brown. To simulate their suggested hairstyle, I pulled together some photos of Robert DeNiro from Raging Bull and Tony Curtis from Houdini.
I ended up creating a human collage of sorts…throwing together different elements from several reference sources, and trying to make them all work together organically.
I’m not much of a wine drinker, but I think I’d enjoy tasting this stuff simply because Harcus did such a beautiful job with the packaging.