Finding Art in Unexpected Places

Art Unexpected Piece 1 by Mick Victor

Art Unexpected Piece 1 by Mick Victor

My friend Mick Victor's Art Unexpected solo photography exhibit opens tonight at 4321 Atlantic Blvd. in the Expo Arts Center in the historic Bixby Knolls neighborhood of Long Beach and runs for the entire month. Tonight's opening coincides with the Bixby Knolls Business Improvement District's uber popular First Fridays (which Los Angeles Magazine has recently selected as a "not miss" event), where the boulevard fills with residents from around Long Beach and visitors alike walking along and enjoying an evening of art, food, drink, a variety of live music, and shopping.

The debut of Mick's show tonight, just as we're starting to roll out our social media outreach collaboration for this July and August with Metro Los Angeles for their #BikeInstead #WalkInstead campaign, is so apropos. Not only is tonight an evening of walking, but it's through walking that Mick discovers his unexpected pieces.

The Art Unexpected series of photographs draws on Mick's work from New York, London, Venice, San Francisco and Los Angeles and focuses on capturing the accidental images that happen in places where people paint walls and garbage cans and sidewalks. Walking allows Mick's keen artistic eye to see the beauty in the layers of color and texture as people try to cover up graffiti.

This short film by SnowGlobe Studios captures the process by which Mick discovers his unexpected pieces to photograph. As you'll see, walking is the right pace for discovering.


Mick and I had the pleasure of meeting through my work here at Pedal Love. He reached out to me through Facebook and we got together over coffee to chat about how we might collaborate on some interesting bike related photography to help us better tell the story of the blooming urban bike culture here in California. I was thrilled that an artist, art director and photographer of his caliber saw something in what we're trying to do with storytelling. We so need to harness the power of this type of creativity and artistry if we truly want to engage fresh audiences in the appeal of biking, walking and taking public transit in California and beyond.

Just a few weeks ago Mick photographed television writer/producer Tom Smuts of Mad Men fame, and now writer/co-executive producer for Bosch, who made history and captured the imagination of the media by riding his bike to the Emmys when he was nominated last year. Tom rode with a group of fellow bike friendly fans, and was escorted by the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. They'll do it again this year on September 20th bigger and better than ever - including riding their bikes right up onto the red carpet. From the series of images Mick took at the photo shoot, an image of Tom and the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition's Executive Director Tamika Butler will be featured in a short piece I wrote for Momentum Magazine for September. I have high hopes that other images from the shoot will be featured in other media outlets as well. I'll keep you posted on how that goes.

About Mick Victor

The Black Swans by Mick Victor from the Art Unexpected series

The Black Swans by Mick Victor from the Art Unexpected series

Since the opening of his 2009 Art Unexpected exhibition, Mick Victor's work in photography is gaining an important following not only in Southern California but in cities as far away as London where a recent portrait work of his was chosen to represent the "Song of Luthien" performance tour with film composer Rodney Newton. As the signature photographer for General Electric his commercial images are featured in the US, Canada and throughout Western Europe. He was the recipient of an "America's 50 Emerging Artists" award in 2012.

Equally recognized for his black and white portraits as well as the continuing Art Unexpected series, his work has been shown in several solo gallery shows since 2010. Currently, five major portraits of his are at the Museum of Latin American Art in the TRANSFORMATIONS Exhibit that opened in December 2014 and extended to August 2015. "In the Art Unexpected series I’m looking for the accidental images left behind where people paint walls, public facilities, and sidewalks. When they leave, someone often paints something else, and again and again on it goes. For me, the art is in the accidental collision of everything unintended and in the chaos seems to become something quite beautiful in itself." Learn more about Mick Victor here.