Excerpt from Art or War, “Focus and Vision: Viktor Mitic’s Precise Bullets”

Focus and Vision: Viktor Mitic’s Precise Bullets

Viktor Mitic’s paintings shimmer and move. They look back at you. They hunt you down. Maybe it’s the oil or acrylic, the gold leaf or exotic pigments used. Perhaps, even, the light that emanates from the perfect holes created by his point-blank bullets.

Mitic says that “channelling the proper energy” and “choosing the right ammo” for his bullet paintings is very important, and I believe him. He is classically trained, with the skill of a marksman. Mitic has painted portraits of Jean Chretien, Lucien Bouchard, and Preston Manning. He knows how to please the nervous Conservative, and he can certainly do Traditional with flair. A trickster, and not one to cower from controversy, Mitic has taken a creative stance and begun shooting bullets into his paintings. To date he has shot paintings of Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Benazir Bhutto, John F. Kennedy, and other iconic figures from politics and popular culture. And, as Ewan Whyte writes in his Preface, there is “no scattershot, no wild swing of the gun without thought.”

On a recent trip to Montreal, I stopped in at Drawn and Quarterly Books. I hadn’t been to the store before, but sought it out because I had been thinking about Mitic’s work and Tightrope’s vision of having writers respond to his bullet paintings. I was thinking about how the writers would offer new perspectives and insights, tap into the energy of the paintings, discuss what was triggered (sorry, couldn’t resist) by Mitic’s bullets. I was looking for academic insights for pulling these concepts together. Drawn and Quarterly has a wonderful collection of graphic novels and art books. When graphic novels first came out I remember thinking there was no way they would last—people want “real” literature, not comic books. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The energy of the bookstore was phenomenal. Literature had morphed with art, and apparently I had missed the transformation. The younger generation has whole-heartedly embraced a new way of telling stories and reading text through images. Imagine!


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