Born in Altai, one of Russia's most remote towns, Viktor Shvaiko grew up surrounded by the beauty of the wilderness. Viktor Shvaiko's natural inclination for fine arts and his strong urge to share his vision of nature drove him to find a way into the Novoaltaisk Artistic School, one of the best schools for the arts in the former Soviet Union. Four years of strenuous studies enabled Viktor Shvaiko, a very diligent student, to acquire the skills of a true artist.
Viktor Shvaiko credits his teacher, Ilbek Khairoullinov, for a true fine arts education. A strict regimen of drawing, an intricate technique of using colors, and the influence of the 19th century Russian artist Karl Brynllow brought Viktor Shvaiko close to a traditional academic style of painting. After having attained technical excellence in the manner of these traditional influences, Viktor Shvaiko now possessed the tools with which to express his feelings to the world.
Viktor Shvaiko's family moved to Transkarpathia, the western mountainous portion of Ukraine. There Viktor Shvaiko became enchanted with the picturesque and breathtakingly beautiful countryside. Viktor Shvaiko chafed under the stifling effect that the lingering Russian bureaucracy had on the careers of young artists. Unable to get a visa to a Western country, Viktor Shvaiko was permitted to travel to Yugoslavia. In the confusion of the civil war, Viktor Shvaiko fled to Italy with his paintings strapped to his back, often encountering gunfire from roving bands of militia.
Having arrived in Italy virtually penniless, Viktor Shvaiko survived by selling his paintings on the streets of Rome. He managed to build a following for himself, and save some money. Viktor Shvaiko eventually returned to a now more liberalized Russia, and was able to obtain passage to America.
Arriving in New York with little money and less English, Viktor Shvaiko was again able to survive by selling his work. It was here he developed his penchant for painting the little cafes and other intimate places that we see in his work today, and that have become his trademark. His enticing mix of beauty and mystery has drawn the interest and admiration of collectors from around the world.

Viktor Shvaiko

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