Victor Whitmill: Applying the Tools of Realism*
Mike Cook, Las Cruces Bulletin December 15, 2017
Victor Whitmill got interested in art at a very early age, drawing the monsters and aliens he saw in science fiction and horror movies. “It’s not my thing now,” he said,”but it certainly played a role.”
His work today is probably best described as surrealist, Whitmill said, but some people describe his paintings and drawings as magical realism.
“I want to challenge what you see”, he said. “I want to paint from an emotional standpoint. I use the tool of realism to draw the viewer in.” A piece of art may not “make a lot of sense, at least not on the surface,” he said, “but that’s a more entertaining state of mind to be in. I enjoying in that state of mind and I like to put people in that state of mind.”
Whitmill’s preferred medium is oil. “I depart from it from time to time, but I always find myself coming back to it,” he said. He also does pencil drawings, which he said, “almost capture something that gets lost occasionally in a painting.” Whitmill compliments his traditional media with digital paintings which he likes due to the fact that there is no such thing as a reproduction. Every digital painting is an original, he said, “because it never existed in a 3D world until it was printed.”
Whitmill said he has painted mostly on panels in the past but is exploring working with floating or exposed edges that expose a piece as “a literal work of art rather than just a picture.”
Born in California, Whitmill moved to Las Cruces two years ago. He took art in high school and was voted Class Artist during his graduating year, and took a couple of community college classes in art, but has no “proper art school training,” Whitmill said.
Whitmill’s Blu Ant gallery and studio is part of the M. Phillip’s Gallery building at 221 N. Main Street. “I wanted a little piece of downtown,” Whitmill said. “I really did fall for this space.” If downtown development goes the direction he expects, Whitmill said it will be difficult to get a space like his on Main Street.
The gallery is jointly owned by Whitmill and his wife, Corinne, whom he said has “a huge part in putting this together and supporting me.”
The gallery his open during the downtown Las Cruces Farmers and Crafts Market - 9am-1pm on Saturdays,, and 5-9pm on Fridays during the First Friday monthly downtown Arts Ramble.
Author’s note: I visited Victor Whitmill’s studio for the fist time on November 10. I found his art incredible - original, compelling, and hauntingly beautiful. I also loved his gallery space and studio. His work is, for me, on more example of the genius that populates the art community in Las Cruces and the surrounding area.
Mike Cook may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* This article has been altered from its original publication. It has been edited for factuality, clarity and content.