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November 2011. “We couldn’t be more honored that Poteet Victory has agreed to work with ARTsmart in the Santa Fe Public Schools,” says ARTsmart President Martine Bertin-Peterson. “He has been on our short list as Honorary Artist for several years, and it seems fitting that he was available for our seminal 15th annual event.”

Born in 1947 and reared in Oklahoma, Victory was educated in Oklahoma and New York. Since the mid-1990s, he has been a resident of Santa Fe, where he currently shows and maintains a studio at McLarry Modern in the 225 Canyon Road complex. Victory’s colorful paintings are often inspired by Native American culture, including his own heritage which includes Choctaw/Cherokee blood. “The paintings begin with something in the objective world but then I distill and interpret it, drawing upon memory,” he relates. “I’m a very physical painter. I love the materials of art, including stretching and preparing my canvases and applying oil pigments with brushes or palette knives. Layering colors, sanding them back, leaving some areas textured and others smooth or reflective is a tactile experience.  I want my paintings to engage all of the viewer’s senses.”

Victory’s project with seniors at Santa Fe High School will explore facets of his current Abbreviated Portrait Series. “The idea occurred to me as I watched people text messaging with abbreviated words and sentences,” he explains. “As I thought about a person, I asked myself what shapes, lines, and colors I saw in my mind’s eye—the triggers, you might say, that would spark a viewer to ‘see’ the person in their minds.” Victory started with Marilyn Monroe and has since done ten portraits of notables such as Lucille Ball, Elvis Presley, Howard Hughes, and Jack Nicholson—abstractions that, according to critics, pioneer a new era of communication that goes to the core of neuroscience and how the brain stores and retrieves information.

Victory will encourage students to create abstracted portraits of people or events. Their paintings will be for sale at the ARTfeast Gourmet Dinner, Saturday, February 25, 2012. Also on the auction block is Victory’s sensational 40×32-inch painting High Desert Earth (cropped, left), the proceeds from which go to ARTsmart, a nonprofit committed to keeping the arts alive in Santa Fe Public Schools.

To learn more about Mr. Victory and his work, please visit his website poteetvictoryart.com. Photos by Daniel Nadelbach and courtesy McLarry Modern.