Renowned painter and actor Victor Pytko has acted alongside A-list celebrities like Hillary Swank and Sigourney Weaver, and as an artist, today his paintings can be viewed at the Birmingham Museum.
“(The exhibit) started in December 2016 and will be there for a year. There are about 26 pieces.”
The award-winning artist became interested in painting as a boy. His fascination for art was solidified after meeting the acclaimed artist Grandma Moses.
“I grew up in upstate New York in a small town where Grandma Moses grew up. Her great-great-granddaughter was a classmate of mine. In the fifth grade, she brought Grandma Moses in to school and she entertained us.”
Pytko admired Moses’s pursuit of her passion late in life.
“She was discovered around age 76, and she became a celebrity really quickly,” he said. “She was a role model, especially in my adult life.”
Before honing in on his aptitude for art, Pytko was a news writer and worked in public relations. He moved to Birmingham 19 years ago and took courses at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center.
“After five years of classes there, I thought it was time to graduate and I got a studio in downtown Detroit.”
Best known for landscapes, Pytko took courses in abstract art and began to incorporate that into his paintings. “There are a lot of misconceptions of what art is supposed to be. Just about anything can be used to create an image. One of my favorite art stores is the hardware store. To me, an artist has no responsibility except creation.”
Pytko’s work has been exhibited in galleries, pop-ups, charity events, wine shops and coffee houses.
In addition to his career as a revered artist, Pytko successfully cultivated a career in acting without any formal training.
“I’ve been in about 65 movie projects one way or another,” he said. “I’ve worked as an extra and had the opportunity to be on a movie set.”
His first role was in the 2006 film Offshore, which was filmed in Michigan and India. He also acted in the 2011 comedy Cedar Rapids starring Ed Helms and Anne Heche.
In July 2017, he will be seen alongside A-list celebrities. Due to a confidentiality agreement, he is unable to elaborate on the project. “It’s a significant minor role,” he said. “I get one-on-one time with the star.”
Between acting and painting, Pytko is able to share his artistry through different mediums and he enjoys painting outdoors around Birmingham.
“My favorite place (to paint) is anywhere I can set up an easel,” he said. “I’m always willing to engage (the public). I’ll hand a stranger a brush and they are free to make marks and let the creativity flow.”
Pytko feels fortunate to have a career that allows him to express himself and interact with the public on a unique level.
“One thing I learned about art is that most success comes from enjoying what you’re doing, regardless of what people think,” he said. “People start to look at it and relate to it.”
Photo: Laurie Tennent