Sweeter than Wine

local man using OAFA to break into art community

Bailey Berg, photos by Andrea Paulseth

START YOUR WINE-ING. Chicago transplant David Kristufek is a self-described bohemian artist who, among other mediums, works in wine bottles.

Over the last three years, the Open Air Arts Festival has become a place for artists of all manner of media, whether it be beading, painting, or even belly dancing, to come together and share their artistic passion, and to showcase their original fine art. Self-described bohemian artist David Kristufek, who has recently moved to the area from Illinois, is hoping to use this opportunity to break into the local art scene.

“It’ll be a test, a breaking ground of sorts,” Kristufek said. “Although, for me, its not about making money. It’s more about the creativity, and making something different. You know, making people think, ‘Oh that’s neat, I never thought about it that way or this way.’ ”

Kristufek’s art is unique in the sense that many of his supplies are things that you wouldn’t typically find in a craft superstore such as Michaels. All of his pieces are chiefly composed of a myriad of recycled materials. For instance, one piece, entitled Peacock Lady, is made of a melted down Windex bottle. Other pieces necessitate old Lite-Bright pieces, plastic spoons, colorful beads, and small children’s toys, which Kristufek warped and shaped in his wife’s oven, and stuck to canvas to create odd yet interesting shapes and patterns.

“Everything I do is purely experimental,” Kristufek said. “Being creative is my meditation. I’m happy doing something different, maybe a little bizarre.”

Another art form Kristufek has been toying with is what can only be described as wine bottle trees. The land surrounding Kristufek’s home is a testament to his creations, on which dozens – if not hundreds –of colorful wine bottles carefully weave up and around a wooden core, looking almost like a strand of glittering, transparent DNA.

“The first time I saw bottle trees was in the movie Because of Winn-Dixie. The old lady in there had these bottles, only she hung from the necks from the branches of her tree. And I thought, ‘Well, that’s really cool,’ ” Kristufek explained. “It had all these really neat colors, and that’s what got me. So I started collecting.”

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