Meet the Artist: Objet d'Art Chardonnay's William LaChance

Category: Life

Painter William LaChance is best-known for his bold, brightly colored abstract work, which sits permanently in the collections of the U.S. Federal Reserve, NBC, and Nike (among others). We were totally stunned when we came across his striking pieces, so we asked him to create a custom design for our Objet d'Art Chardonnay, part of a new line in which we're collaborating with artists on works that reflect the wines within the bottles. Read our exclusive interview with him to find out about his history, his style, and how he describes the label art he crafted — then head to our website to grab a few bottles of William's first foray into wine.

(Photo courtesy of Saatchi)

Tell us a little bit about your history: where are you from? How'd you get your start in art?

I’m from St. Louis. I grew up around collectors; my parents and grandparents collected and dealt in antiques, so I developed an appreciation for objects and specifically certain qualities in those objects that allowed them to transcend their inherent identity: wear, provenance, craftsmanship, evidence of the maker’s hand. Separated from their original functions, it all becomes metaphor. This is not much different from artistic discourse when you think about it. By re-contextualizing common things, the artist imbues those things with a similar quintessence. It’s the artistic moment.

How did you develop your style? How does it continue to evolve?

Along with my abstract work, I’ve always painted representationally. The observation of nature carries over into the abstract work and manifests itself in the form of color relationships. In nature, the way we perceive space, light, form, scale — everything, actually, is all the result of color relationships, so the abstractions are expressions of these formal characteristics without the imagery. Non-narrative pictorial spaces. The celebration of objective qualities in the object’s absence, like perfume or, well, wine!

(Photo courtesy of Saatchi)

Take us through your creative process. What themes and objectives inform your art? What's the approach like for a single piece?

I guess you could say irony is a persistent theme. In each piece there are a couple of disparate components competing for identity: abstraction and representation, flat and spatial, articulation and chance. It keeps any particular work from being immediately summed up and therefore in possession of time, like film or music. In terms of my studio process, I usually work on two or more pieces at a time, without planning or preparatory material. This way I can see which painting is working best, repeat those things, and remove the things that aren't working and so forth. Eventually the interplay of arguments develops into criteria.

You created a beautiful label for our Objet d'Art Chardonnay. Where did the inspiration come from? What does the finished piece represent?

I wanted to create a synesthetic color experience that spoke to the characteristics of the grape — namely its neutrality and its capacity to embody its influences — so the passages in the collage are like a visual terroir. The graphic elements, inspired by vintage European graphic design, are a nod to the varietal’s French history.

Do you have a favorite wine or style of wine? If so, why?

If I had to choose one, I’d have to say Champagne. It has this decadent association, but it’s really versatile, especially lighter-bodied Champagnes (I’m a Perrier-Jouët loyalist). It goes so well with fish and seafood and complements all kinds of Asian cuisine, especially Japanese food. And I like that it’s an earned title and can only be labeled thusly if it is produced under the rules of the appellation. Well, maybe the decadence is part of the appeal, but its categorical authenticity is the real luxury.

What drew you to working with WINC? What's most exciting to you about having your work on a wine label?

I like the idea of the work being party to various scenes and situations. Emissary in an ice bucket — and I’m happy to partner with such a forward-thinking company. I feel Winc is defining a contemporary and insightful model in the industry. The tailored selection process makes each transaction feel more like a collaboration, so there’s a personal connection that enhances the consumer’s appreciation and enjoyment of the wine.