Art Unexpected images courtesy of Mick Victor.
The first time local photographer Mick Victor exhibited works from his now nine-years-and-running series entitled Art Unexpected, a woman told him “No, these are not photographs, these are paintings.”
“I said, 'No, I'm the artist and I shot them,' and she just kinda got mad at me and decided not to talk to me anymore,” laughed Victor. He said he's always wanted to do his day job, essentially, and then run off to be a painter.
"I'm in love with paint," he said. "I love the subtlety of paint. I love what it achieves, so maybe this was my way of doing that. My sensitivity to what would be in paint. I think you'll see some really subtle things Friday, if you come. There's some really, really soft and painterly pieces that will be in the show.”
This Friday at the EXPO Arts Center, Victor will present photographs he took from the urban environments of London, Long Beach, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Venice and New York, of places like walls, garbage cans and sidewalks. Each of his photographs focus on where the paint has piled, where people have painted over each other’s work, graffiti or otherwise, again and again to create, in Victor’s eyes, an accidental masterpiece to be remembered.
“I’m not particularly into graffiti; that’s somebody’s art," he said. "I’m not looking to document their art. What I find interesting is that unintentional art, that unexpected art when everybody has painted on top of each other, what that ends up being.”
Victor, who took to photography at the young age of six, is as much a skilled portrait photographer as he is an abstract image maker. He tends to see things a little differently than the average joe. He uses his unique perspective to give the viewers of his work a chance to look at their own surrounding environments a little less immediately. Regarding Friday’s collection of images, the artist hopes to instill in his guests a desire to gaze without judgment.
“Allow yourself to look at things differently,“ he advised. “Allow yourself to see things in as many ways as possible. Don't just look at it and say, 'Oh that's a Pepsi spilled on the sidewalk,' you know, let yourself look at it. Don't be afraid.”
He said many people look at his work and begin to notice the accidental art that occurs in the world around them every day.
During a typical excursion to find these unexpected compositions, Victor will oftentimes walk around a city for an entire day. He shoots almost nothing in the first hour or two.
“And that is because if you just go out there and look for the really obvious things, they're not that interesting,” he said.
If he finds a spot, an alley, a wall, a particularly “fertile” space, he’ll buy a lunch and maybe take a seat. The longer he stares, the more time he takes to look around, the more uncanny potential works of art will begin to present themselves. Sometimes it’s a large-scale segment he’ll find to be dramatically intriguing or a piece as small as four inches tall.
Compared to past exhibits of the Art Unexpected series, this particular show is a bit more refined, Victor says.
“I think it’s easier, it’s quieter, it’s more fun to coexist with these pieces,” he said. “It’s calmer, a little more sophisticated, it’s certainly more elegant. I love the colors, they’re much more subtle and I think they’re pieces you can live with.”
Catch the opening reception for Art Unexpected on Friday, July 3 during the Bixby Knolls First Fridays event from 6:00PM to 9:00PM.