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NORTHJERSEY.COM, Kelly Nicholaides

September 13, 2013 - Decked out in a Panama hat and shirt splattered in acrylics and oils, pipe in mouth and brush in hand, artist Victor Victori alerts guests to use the stepping stones hidden by bushes on his Ridge Road property in order to gain entrance to one of his studios. In many ways, this is a metaphor for the artist's work, which the viewer must look closer in order to find hidden images and meanings.


On Wednesday, Sept 11, Victori unveiled and discussed his second Sept. 11, 2001 commemorative painting. It stands a massive 8-foot by 12-foot, as massive as the event it depicts. Victori spent a month on the detailed painting, which is says a lot for an artist who once cranked out 10 Leonardo Mona Lisas in 24 hours. His 9/11 work is ripe with his "multiplism" technique that is seen in his 30,000 to 40,000 pieces.


"For me, I painted this for history. I didn't make it pretty to make anyone happy, just showed the facts of what happened, and the people's emotion and the destruction," Victori says. "The painting, section by section, helps you see what happened."


His 9/11 "multiplisms" are reflected in the victims' varied faces, which include two or three for each individual sometimes.


"It looks weird in the beginning but makes sense in the end, as it adds depth, and just breaks out at you," Victori explains. When you look at the whole, it may seem like too much. But section by section, you see the North and South towers, the [fire fighters] running into the buildings while others are trying to get out. With individual focus, you see their misery, the multiplism of emotions in their faces. One face has two or three different stories and emotions."


A close look reveals a fire chief with "E 7" on his back as the focal point at bottom center.


"I saw him on TV, and so 'E 7' stuck with me," Victori reveals.


All firefighters are painted in black, and appear as a splatter from afar but come into focus up close. The civilians are in pink and white, some dead, some alive, with looks of horror and disbelief. While the painting's brush strokes in individual faces and figures on the lower half of the painting are more detailed, tight and narrow, the thicker, broader strokes are laid out on top near the Towers and flames.


"I was going to do the whole thing in gray tone then due to the tragic power of destruction mostly I added the fiery and darker tones, especially atop the buildings. Now it is more alive. For me, the painting is not big enough...I hope it reminds people not to forget," Victori says.


Such large scale wall size paintings are another Victori favorite, as reflected in the giant statues of Greek gods and Biblical persons surrounding his home. Fascinated with all things "godly," and historic, Victori loves the Renaissance... "the Noahs, Abrahams, Christ, Buddha, Zeus, Moses," the latter four as statues guarding his home.


Victori's creative process is to start with sketches, of which he has thousands that provide the genesis of his final paintings.


Then he puts on Beethoven, preferably Tenth Symphony, or Tchaikovsky and opera. "I like the pounding music of Beethoven. Mozart is mildly feminine, so I go for the more masculine music," he notes. "I always have a sketch book and whatever comes in my mind I sketch first," Victori says as Sept. 11 names are read on TV in the background. "Then I go through sketches and pick images I feel I want to paint. I start the canvas with texturizing. If I use burlap I stretch and prime it five times."


His style is part realism, part fantasy, with abstract portrayals and post-impressionistic approach.


Trained at the Art Academy of Korea and community college in USA, Victori, 70, emigrated to the United States in 1972 and became well known for his presidential portraits in the White House. He cites favorite painters including Rembrandt because of his "depth and technique" and mastery for portraits, and Baroque artist Peter Paul Rubens for his scale.


Victori has traveled the world studying, working with other artists and visiting museums that house the greats, from Amsterdam and Florence to Rome and Paris, where he worked with a bunch of "starving artists." "It was there a critic told me 'Nobody can teach you art here. They're all dead.' Go back home and do your own stuff,'" he says.


Approximately 35 years later, he has had galleries in New York, Florida and New Jersey, and with much of his work commissioned. "It's the attitude of the artist with the public and ability to arrange his art in a certain way that attracts big collectors," he notes.


He has set ideas in his paintings, like a musician has riffs in his head, but where it all goes once he begins is sometimes unplanned.


"Just as a musician has music in head, and so in the same way I throw the art down on canvas, but it changes," he says.


Victori works every day in his studio and creates something new everyday. What will inspire him next could be anything from the Giants to Einstein to the fall leaves to a beloved grandfather, one never knows, he says.


"I have too much to do and time is running out. I don't care about living long, just finishing 1,000 more paintings," he says.



Email: nicholaides@northjersey.com



NEVER FORGET

9/11 IMMORTALIZED IN NEWEST VICTORI WORK

			
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