Delightfully Absurd art

A local artist makes his debut at the historic Massey Gallery at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

Artist Steve Chmilar stands with 'rickshaw,' a 16' by 38' oil on board that took 500 hours to complete. Chmilar is part of a group show at the AGGV opening Sat. Oct. 15 at 2pm.

Anyone who’s been to the Moss St. Paint-In over the last three years will likely have taken notice of local artist Steve Chmilar working on one of his masterpieces. His modern take on Flemish-style oil painting lures the eye with intricate detail and holds the viewer’s attention with intriguing subject matter.

The 31-year-old painter and musician is completely self taught. His first completed painting, “Horn,” took more than 500 hours to complete. His second, “Tower,” took more than 700.

“It’s all in the detail,” says Chmilar. “The difference between a great painting and a masterpiece is in those tiny things. It’s a quality over quantity endeavour. I’ve tried to find shortcuts, and while I’ve discovered a number of methods, I’ve also discovered there’s no easy way to get there.”

Now that he has five finished pieces and a few more in the works, Chmilar is getting ready to make his debut in Art of the Delightfully Absurd, a group show of surrealist works in the historic Massey Gallery at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, alongside Horst Loewel, Brad Pasutti and Haren Vakil.

“I’ve been waiting the last three and a half years to start. This is the official beginning of my art career,” says Chmilar, who up until 2007 was focused on his career as a musician (he played in The Villains in Calgary, where the band won a national songwriting competition.)

After discovering the art of Flemish renaissance painter Pieter Bruegel, Chmilar decided to try his hand at replicating a section of one of his paintings.

“It turned out really well, so I decided to build a boat and sail,” says Chmilar.

“I take my art very seriously and I know it’s what I want to do for a living.”

With books and YouTube videos as his mentors, Chmilar spends endless hours perfecting his craft, starting first with a detailed sketch, which is where the majority of the creative process takes place.

“It’s like a dress rehearsal,” says Chmilar. “The more I develop the preliminary sketch, the easier it is to execute the painting.”

He transfers the sketch onto canvas free hand. The rest of the time, Chmilar works to perfect each painting, scraping things off and starting again when he’s not happy with the results. “What people see in the finished painting is not the first try,” he says.

“Since I was very young, I’ve always been very patient,” he says. “It’s not a problem for me to spend an entire evening working on the flesh tones of one face on the painting. It’s meditative, and it’s bliss to have the time to do what I want.”

See three of Chmilar’s finished originals and two preliminary sketches in the show. Chmilar and the other featured artists will be in attendance. M

 

 

Art of the Delightfully Absurd

Featuring Steve Chmilar, Horst Loewel, Brad Pasutti and Haren Vakil.

Opening Friday, Oct. 14.

Opening reception Saturday, Oct. 15, 2pm

Artists in attendance.

Massey Gallery, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (1040 Moss) Running until Nov. 13

Just Posted

Emerging Sooke filmmaker takes spotlight with special award

Mary Galloway creates her own opportunities

Government House gala a great time to announce new Langham Court season

Production chair Alan Penty unveils 90-year-old theatre company’s plans for the coming year

Wild about nature photos: Royal B.C. Museum set to kick off annual exhibition

Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition winners, finalists’ works on display starting Friday

REVIEW: Allan Reid finds a meal fit for a king

Monday’s intrepid restaurant reviewer gets the royal treatment at the Fireside Grill

FILM FEST WRAP: Your winners, reviewer’s favourites make for differing lists

Kyle Wells takes a look back on the Victoria Film Festival’s 25th anniversary event

Seedy Saturday blossoms at Victoria Conference Centre this weekend

Speakers cover wide range of topics, including how to utilize small spaces for gardening

Port Alberni production tells real stories of casual racism

Divided We Fall coming to ADSS and the Capitol Theatre

Women dominated in Grammys nominations, but will they win?

This year’s nominees mark a departure from the 2018 Grammys

Most Read