Just as Viktor Shvaiko invites his viewers to journey into his paintings, we invite viewers to learn more about what inspires the artist to share his world with the world.
When Shvaiko paints, he doesn’t do it for the sake of painting. He is creating a world full of intimate settings and breathtaking scenes, and wants viewers to explore it with him.
“I try to paint the paintings like the window into life, you can step into the painting and enjoy your own walk through the streets or take a seat and enjoy a meal,” he says.
Shvaiko believes the degree to which an artist moves a person relies on how close the artist allows the subject to be to their heart. In his case, Shvaiko travels the globe in search of inspirational scenery and cities. If he doesn’t travel, he believes his paintings cannot be alive. For instance, if he wants to paint a table for two, he prefers to have seen the table or sit at it and appreciate a meal.
He captures what inspires him with a camera, but also carries around a sketch pad, quickly drawing in ink so he can refer to the details when in the studio.
“Mostly I take pictures and photos for details, names, lighting, the forms of subjects,” he says. “I use some photos, but just for a couple minutes, and then I start to draw something from my mind.”
Shvaiko doesn’t limit himself to what he sees. Instead, the final image is a combination of Shvaiko’s impression of the place and the feelings he experienced while there.
“It can be the beauty from the whole city into one small area,” he says.
His works invoke a sense of déjà vu, accomplished by including the fourth dimension of time. The radiant sunlight or streetlights allude to the time of day, and glasses on a table hint at the presence of others. Even so, there are no people present in his works, giving a sense of intimacy.
Shvaiko’s paintings are like taking a personal tour with a friend who knows the best spots. Even the smallest details give a sense of belonging and familiarity – posters on walls, specials advertised in the window of a restaurant, and flowers decorating the facades. An iconic image in his work is a table with two glasses of wine, sparking memories such as dining with a loved one.
“It’s my fantasy about my world, where I would love to live,” Shvaiko says. “I would love to sit here, I would love to enjoy this view.”
The travels of Shvaiko
Shvaiko, born in Altai, Russia, has traveled to Brazil, France, England, Holland, United States and Russia. When asked to choose a favorite place among his many travels, the answer comes easy.
“I love Italy,” he says. “The towns, the weather, the food, people, the history – that’s my country, it’s like I’m at home.”
He loves the country so much that, early in his life, he traveled through Hungary and Yugoslavia and crossed the border to Italy. It was a risky trip, but when he arrived in a small village, he overheard people speaking and singing in Italian, and he knew that he was home.
This left a profound impact on the artist, who fully realized his dream of being an artist after moving to the United States in the ‘90s. Nowadays, he continues to invite people to experience that feeling of belonging in his world.
“This is my town where I live, and I invite everybody to join me and enjoy the town, and if you like it, you are my friend,” he says.