Jos Villabrille – Tucson’s Muralistby Ben McNitt on Nov. 04, 2009, under arts
WOULD YOU LIKE TO ADD AN OCEAN BAY VIEW, a Tuscan countryside horizon or a Sonoran Desert panorama to your home? Then Jos Villabrille is your man.
He’s Tucson’s muralist, adept at the trompe l’oeil (trick the eye) style of bringing three dimensional vistas to large two dimensional wall spaces.
Not only that, but Jos’s skill as a painter ranges credibly over a multitude of schools and styles – Renaissance, Baroque, Romantic, Southwestern, he’s even done futuristic murals of galaxy hopping spaceships in the Star Trek tradition.
Jos Villabrille is definitely not a man confined to a box.
His training was unconventional, rigorous and perfect for the work he now does.
As a boy in the Philippines, Jos when to the movie theatre where he father ran the projector, and became fascinated by the fast working painters who created 12 by 12 foot poster displays for the features running that week.
He took up the work himself while an art student at college and was soon doing posters for a pair movie houses while pursuing his studies. The work led him to Hawaii where he did large signage work for a tourist firm and finally to Tucson in 1988 where his projects included hand painting 14 by 48 foot billboards.
These years of training made him comfortable with large, wall-sized formats, and a huge variety of topics and styles to which he added his own meticulousness of technique which belies the speed with which he works.
Jos’ work is also informed by his love of travel. “I’ve been to 32 countries so far,” he says. “Every time I go to a different country and experience a different culture, I see something I can add to my palette. It’s learning and I never want to stop learning.”
On a recent visit to his home, Jos told me he’s always steered away from advice to simply hone a particularized, individual style. “I don’t want to be categorized,” he says.
That shows in his work – that includes portraits of classical realism – and in his love of travel, entertaining, dancing and even a jig as the vocalist in the band he recently formed with friends, Jimmy and the Jitterbugs.
Since coming to Tucson, Jos has painted roughly 200 murals, many at area homes and others at the Desert Diamond Casino, several restaurants, hotels and malls.
He dreams of someday doing a huge mural of Tucson’s history and cultural richness. “I don’t want to be limited. I want to be versatile. Every time I see a blank wall, I see pictures.”
More of Jos’ work is available at his website www.muralsbyjos.com.