Artist Viktor Mitic
Anything But Traditional
Artist Viktor Mitic initially followed a fairly traditional path into the art world. After going to art school, he entered the professional fine art world in 1996. Initially, he was focused on two-dimensional graffiti, portraiture, and site-specific work. He cites Damien Hearst, Bansky, and Frank Stella as some of his largest influences.
However, the work he has become known for since 2007 is anything but traditional. Rather than focus solely on literal paint and paper, Mitic has actually enhanced his paintings using a rather unusual art-making technique.
"I started on my bullet hole painting series, after seeing videos on YouTube of soldiers shooting up religious paintings and frescoes inside some eastern European monasteries," Mitic explains. "While those videos showed something destructive, I thought about the theme of using firearms in paintings, where I would be utilizing their destructive power and symbolism to recreate some of the iconic images i have seen get destroyed and to create new ones that would have similar aesthetics."
Many of Mitic's paintings have revolved around contemporary pop and religious icons. He has also created acrylic paintings on canvas with gold leaf. While these elements are more traditional, his unique use of firearms in paintings allows him to create concentric circles on canvas, creating what he calls a "connect the dots" kind of effect.
Particularly when the piece in question has depicted a religious figure, or touched on a sensitive event, some have found Mitic's works controversial. "I use two or three thousand rounds in one session on these paintings," he explains. "I'll go to a gun range, which will open for me an hour early, for me to come in and work on the pieces."
One particular work of his involved shooting a school bus, which Mitic says ultimately ended up looking like "Swiss cheese" before it was finished. While this piece had been created earlier on to comment on gun violence in Toronto, it happened to go on tour after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Consequently, in D.C., viewers of the bus were very disturbed. Some even thought the bus was one that had been damaged during the tragedy.
The piece certainly prompted much discussion, both on specific events and the issue of gun violence overall. Although shock value is certainly present in Mitic's work, his ideas go far deeper than that. Again, he has worked diligently to explore the idea of using what is generally meant to destroy, to actually create.
Mitic also has another series of paintings, inherently tied to a kind of natural destruction. In this case, he creates beauty out of toxicity. In 2007, when he had begun his bullet hole paintings, he was also hard at work on abstract paintings.
Using oil on canvas, he frequently painted outdoors in his yard. However, he accidentally left one painting out overnight during a Toronto rainstorm. "The next day, I saw that the painting was all screwed up," Mitic reminisces. "I put it in the garage to try to save it-- then, I noticed the effects of it having been rained on actually looked very cool."
He then attempted to re-create the effect. He poured water on paintings from the roof of his house, used a hose, and sink water. However, no matter what he tried, he could not replicate what had happened during the storm.
Ultimately, he realized that acid rain had created this affect. Some substance in the rain was causing the separation of paint pigments. Mitic then began to create more and more 8'x16' ft non-representational paintings on canvas, intentionally placing them outdoors to let nature work its magic.
Finally, Mitic also sculpts. These works are range from about seven by 7 feet to over 24 feet in size. These sculptures are also born out of the byproduct of something else. He realized that paint droplets were coagulating on his floor. He photographed them, put the photos on the computer, and ended up cutting the images out onto metal.
These sculptures are laser or plasma cut and mobile, either hanging off the floor or moved by a motor. Also large scale, smaller works are generally eight or seven feet tall by three or four feet wide.
Four documentaries have been done on Mitic and his intriguing works and three books published. Right now, he is focusing on his sculptures and the bullet hole paintings.
Specifically, he is working on beach scenes of people who have been sunbathing, which he later shoots, as well as finishing up four or five sculptures.
His latest show premiered at the Campbell House Museum in Toronto, from September 6th through 14th.
Next, he has a show that will be up at the Toronto New Marriott Hotel. The Hotel purchased work to permanently show there, which will be open later in the year around November. "I feel like I've been working with the idea of damage and performance with the shooting," Motif realized. "With the paint dripping onto floors, and then rain damaging things, those are also things that would be discarded. I love when objects can transform and exist in a different form."
To see more of the artist's work, please go to www.ViktorMitic.com.
To contact the artist, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more on the documentaries that have been done on Viktor Mitic and his work, please go to www.ViktorMitic.com/video-media-coverage.html.
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