The artist Andrei Protsouk, whose gallery is at 7 N. Sixth St., Stroudsburg, paints in a contemporary figurative style. Sometimes using remnants from the original paints he brought with him from the Soviet Union in 1990, his depictions often feature subjects engaged in intimacies.
"Basically, it's all about love," Protsouk said while looking at the woman in red, his English spoken with a Ukrainian accent. "All my paintings."
His ideas, his inspiration, his brushes, canvases and paints are important tools, but Protsouk's computer allows him to show his works to potential customers around the world.
Art created by Protsouk primarily belongs to collectors and investors that near the nation's major population centers. Places like Boston, New York City and Los Angeles contain higher concentrations of college-educated types with significant financial assets. They are some of Protsouk's best customers.
Still, he never takes their patronage for granted. He believes they are interested in his depictions, not his brand.
"That's why you have to be a great artist," Protsouk said. "Then, people want your work. If you're not great, nobody wants it."
He begins all of his paintings with a drawing. When he makes the first brush strokes on a new canvas, he already knows what will be painted upon it.
Andrei has been trying to perfect another Web-related venture he hopes will allow him to further profit from his talents. Taught exclusively online, it would be a year-long art course.
"It's called 'If You Want to Draw like Michelangelo,'" he said, smiling.
“The ‘reinvention of images’ is an art that builds new bridges on the path to comprehension...”
Born in Ukraine, Andrei Protsouk drew his first breaths in the coal and iron filled skies of the city of Donetsk. Donetsk, situated in the heart of the powerful industrial engine of the former Soviet Union, is a place more suitable for working in factories than for dreaming. Yet, there is something about a bleak environment which encourages the growth of the imagination. It was while attending public schools of Donetsk that his teachers noticed Andrei’s talent for art. Under the competitive Soviet system in the 1950s and its desire to outshine the West in all disciplines, Andrei was quickly transferred to the Donetsk Art School . Upon graduation, he applied for and was accepted to the Lugansk State School of Fine Art, graduating from there in 1981. While at the Lugansk School, Andrei continued to receive the attention and praise of the school’s fine arts pedagogy. His professors urged Andre to go on to develop his talent further. For Andre, that meant moving to the storied ancient city of St. Petersburg. Andre received a Master’s degree in Fine Art from the prestigious Repine Academy of Art in St. Petersburg in 1990.
St. Petersburg is as far from Donetsk, Ukraine as Peoria is from New York City. Though Moscow was the political capitol favored by the Stalinists, St. Petersburg was the ancient capital first envisioned by Peter the Great, one of the most famous of Russian Czars. Even through the bleak Stalinist epoch, when the famous city was renamed Leningrad in an attempt to eradicate all traces of empire, St. Petersburg remained the sentimental capitol in the hearts of most Russians. Then and now, St. Petersburg remains the cultural center of the ‘New Russia’ conceived by Peter the Great.
Through years of study and training, Andrei studied, restored, and copied the working techniques of the Old Masters at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. His favored medium is oil, applied onto linen. Andrei Protsouk uses lots of gold and silver leaf in his paintings, in the manner of the revered traditional Russian iconographers. His rendering of St. George slaying the dragon is an obvious religious reference, but the composition’s rich and dark tones, it’s jagged dramatic action, suggests a lineage rooted in timeless historical painting.
Moving to the United States in 1994, Andrei found inspiration in his new experiences as an émigré. Exposure to the exciting and often strange culture infused his works with a liveliness characterized by bright colors and a dance of images part real and part fantastic.