Oleg Zhivetin

Vineyard Contemplation

The Vineyard




Image Size 40 x 24

Image Size 17 x 28

secret meeting The Small Gift

Secret Meeting

The Small Gift



Image Size 40 x 30

Image Size 30 x 36

"I show in my paintings what people cannot see in real life. I show individuality, the intelligence, dreams and emotions, that every human being is different and because of that they are beautiful" Oleg Zhivetin

To be accepted as a student in Moscow's Surikov Art Institute is an incredible honor and an extremely difficult accomplishment. A future artist must have exceptional talent that is recognized by his teachers and even then, to be selected is almost impossible. The vast, artistically talented population of the former Soviet Union, makes the competition for enrollment in the school, equal to winning an Olympic gold medal.

Oleg Zhivetin was not only accepted at the Surikov Art Institute in Moscow, but upon completing his Fine Art Degree in 1988, he was allowed to complete the coveted Master of Fine Art Degree in 1990 in Painting and Monumental Art. At the time, under communist rule in 1964, Oleg was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, part of the former Soviet Union. Well educated parents recognized early, his artistic talent and sent him to the Moscow Academy of Fine Art at age fifteen, to earn his first Fine Art Degree in 1982, with honors.

Oleg's exceptional talent and unique style of painting were readily recognized. Upon the completion of his Master's Degree, he received an invitation to live and work in the United States. The excitement of new surroundings and the abundance of new materials allowed Oleg to develop completely new artistic expressions, contemporary styles, way beyond the usual academic focus of Dutch, Flemish and Renaissance masters. The richness and vitality of colors in his paintings are achieved by numerous layers of acrylics, or many layers of oil paint. The sensuous lines and intricate patterns are defined with the application of gold, silver, or copper leaf on the paintings.

In the United States, several sold out exhibitions, followed by a critically acclaimed one man show at the San Juan Capistrano Museum, Oleg's paintings have been shown at Art Expo, New York, 1994, 1996 and 1997, the Las Vegas Expo in 1996, and Los Angeles in 1997.

Prior to his arrival in the United States, Oleg created and installed numerous monumental works of art in his native Russia. Among them: A large mural for the conference room in a Moscow manufacturing company; A large mosaic for the Tobolsk Hydraulic Engineers; A 180 square meter mural for the Buchara Textile Company in Uzbekistan; A mural for the City Cultural Center in Tobolsk, Russia. The enthusiastic acceptance of Oleg's art in the United States ensures a great future and an exciting career of this exceptionally gifted Artist.


Oleg Zhivetin was born March 18, 1964 in Uzbekistan. He started school at six years of age; at age nine, he entered an art studio program for children where he soon began working with watercolors and creating landscapes. As a teen, he decided to apply to the Moscow Academy of Fine Arts and began studying with a professional artist to prepare for the rigorous competition for admission.

EARLY EDUCATION During this preparation, he spent a significant amount of time with his grandparents, who were warm and creative people. Oleg watched as they crafted down comforters with intricately quilted patterns. Many of these designs incorporated linear images of flowers with petals; symbols of simplicity, purity, and beauty seen in much of Oleg's later work. Oleg gained admission to the Academy of Fine Arts when he was fifteen. There he spent each day painting, drawing, and studying traditional academic subjects. After three years, Oleg applied for admission to the Surikov Art Institute, the Soviet Union's most prestigious art school. When his initial application was declined, he returned to Uzbekistan for a year and earned his degree in art education. He then reapplied to the Surikov; this time he was accepted, a great honor and an indication of his high level of talent and technical ability. At the Surikov, Oleg studied under such highly respected Soviet artists as Yuri Karilov, Director of the Tretyakov Museum. He concentrated on producing his best work and completing his degree in a Master of Fine Arts.

MAKING A LIVING With graduation nearing, financial survival as an artist concerned Oleg more and more. He hired a neighbor to sell his paintings on the street, and as the months went by his work began to sell. One day, the neighbor asked him, "Would you like to go to America" He gave Oleg a matchbook with a phone number left by a man looking for talented artists to sponsor. Oleg called.

COMING TO AMERICA The sponsor provided Oleg with a three-month visa to work in the U.S. He arrived in California and eventually found his way to Laguna Beach where he made a quick assessment of the type of art selling in local galleries. He completed several still-life paintings and took them to a Russian art dealer who instantly recognized the quality of his work. The response to Oleg's art was immediate and he was able to take the first steps to financial and artistic independence.

OLEG'S STYLE Russian icon painting is a basic and profound point-of-reference in Oleg's work. The viewer will find religious imagery; golden halos, Madonnas, angels, and saints. Other typical icons include hearts, musical instruments, books, celestial beings, and flowers symbols of beauty, delicacy, and spiritual development. One of the most beautiful aspects of Oleg's painting is his skillful rendering of faces, hands, and feet. His characters often communicate through the use of hand gestures rather than eye contact. Gestures are imbued with subtle meaning; a deep sense of shared experience is created through this control of body language. His combination of geometric shapes and abstract patterns often applied onto canvas in gold foil or gold leaf is truly masterful. His characters faces evolve from flat, mask-like images to fully realized visages exuding intelligence and emotion. Their facial contours are delicately and softly molded. To stand before an Oleg masterpiece is an experience you will not soon forget; to own one is a source of pride and privilege.

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