Viktor Shvaiko (1965–)
Viktor Shvaiko was born in Altai in 1965 in one of Russia’s most remote villages. He grew up surrounded by the beauty of the wilderness. His natural inclination for fine arts and his strong urge to share his vision of nature drove him to the Novoaltaisk Artistic School, where he studied for four years. Viktor credits his teacher, Ilbek Khairoullinov, for a true arts education.
Unable to get a visa to a Western country, Viktor was permitted to travel to Yugoslavia. In the confusion of the civil war, he fled to Italy with his paintings strapped to his back. He survived in Rome by selling his paintings on the streets. He managed to build a following for himself and eventually returned to a more liberalized Russia, later obtaining passage to America. Arriving in New York with little money and less English, Viktor 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.
His works have been exhibited at Art Expo, New York, Japan, Italy, Canada, Ukraine and many cities throughout the United States.