For Morgantown entrepreneur Randy Scott, everything seems to become art eventually. On a cloudy fall day, I find myself invited into his home studio in the historic Chancery Hill district to learn about one of his projects, Wine By Design. Several flat surfaces are covered in glass stemware — most commissioned by clients, all hand-painted by Mr. Scott.
“I got tired of palettes,” he says, motioning to his desk. A large area of its surface is covered in a thick, textured layer of paint dabs and smears used for his work. “Once the whole thing is covered, I’m going to sand it down and put a layer of glass over it,” he tells me. Which is to say, the byproducts of his art will become art. He is creating while he is creating.
The glasses around me (apparently ready to be delivered) depict a wide array of imagery, from emojis to portraits to landscapes. Customers choose the subject matter, which seems to keep the styles varied and flexible. He shows me a couple of glasses (presumably preordered for Valentine’s Day) covered in textured shades of pink except for a small, heart-shaped window left unpainted. Through it, the words “I love you” are visible on the back, inside of the glasses.
Wine By Design has done well since its inception, serving up artisan glassware to various Morgantown movers and shakers, along with a couple of national celebrities. (I pry about this a little, but he’s reluctant to advertise names without photo evidence.) He has designed glassware for the Morgantown Marathon, the annual Children’s Hospital Gala, the West Virginia Wine and Jazz Festival, and Dogfishhead Brewery, to name just a few.
It has been four years since Mr. Scott painted his first wine glasses, but his aptitude for visual artistry began early on. In fourth grade, a teacher who took note of his gift managed to enroll him in a college level painting class. Throughout much of his young adult life, painting took a back seat to sports and learning the finer points of digital design.
Still, his hand-wrought artistry found moments to shine, such as his bartending stint at High Street’s Boston Beanery, where he was often asked to illustrate their specials board with chalk art.
Eventually, Mr. Scott joined a Morgantown business networking group. He had hoped to exchange referrals with other Morgantown entrepreneurs, but membership came with a catch: the group could only have one person in each specialized field, and there was already a graphic designer. There was not, however, anyone doing artwork by hand. In the end, this coincidence was how he returned to his fourth grade painting.
Wine By Design has grown beyond the boundaries of Morgantown and West Virginia, shipping to customers in West Africa, England, Dubai, South Korea and all over the United States. But Randy Scott is still right down the street. You can follow his work on Facebook, Instagram, or at the Wine By Design website.