Walter Knestrick is one of Nashville’s longest-tenured patrons of the arts. He has contributed time and/or donations to the Frist Center for the Visual Arts; Watkins College of Art; the Nashville Symphony, and more. As a childhood friend of Red Grooms, he acquired an incredibly large collection of his work and recently gifted it to the Tennessee State Museum.
Knestrick’s lifetime commitment to the arts is being celebrated in a new portrait by local painter Wayne Brezinka, commissioned by Knestrick’s children for his 80th birthday.
“Walter loves art and has been an avid supporter of the local Nashville art scene and abroad over the last few decades,” explains Brezinka. “I’ve known three of his children personally for many years, and they thought one of my mixed-media portraits would make a unique gift.”
Brezinka’s portraiture displays figures rendered with newspaper, cloth, and other found material, layered in a way to bring it off the canvas.
“I consider my projects large puzzles,” Brezinka says. “Where will each piece be placed and secretly hidden yet seen upon further examination? Lots of cutting, sculpting, shaping, sanding, painting, and glue are used for each project.”
It’s a process that was particularly well suited to render Knestrick, who attended Hillsboro High School, went on to found the incredibly successful Knestrick Contractors and Knestrick Properties, and has continued to be an advocate for local arts throughout his life.
“Walter’s story inspired me,” says Brezinka. “Every one of us has a story, and my interest lies in drawing that out through the art of mixed-media portraiture. Asking questions, learning the history of the particular subject I am illustrating, and taking into consideration those interesting objects that might be provided for possible inclusion . . . Walter is full of cheer, delight, and animation. My goal was to capture that in his smile, his eyes, and overall features.”
Brezinka’s portrait of Walter Knestrick will be included in a one-night show on Saturday, November 11, at the home of country music legend Hank Snow. For more information and to RSVP, visit www.waynebrezinka.com/exhibitions