Timeless portraits created with personality and life can be yours to treasure, or to give as gifts for those you love. Children, adults, and pets can be drawn in color or black and white, using charcoal, pencil, or ink, or painted in watercolor. They can be created from life or from photographs taken by the artist.
Yuriy Totskiy remembers himself drawing, painting and sculpting during his early childhood. Growing up in a large industrial city, in Ukraine, he did small sculptures of steel mill workers. Spending his summer holidays in the countryside, he sketched village views, country houses, barns, and farmers at work in their fields. He loved to spend time on the animal farm drawing horses and cows as well as a variety of pets.
Yuriy’s grandmother once told him of seeing sculpture studies in the window of a building , so along with his friends, he searched that part of city, block by block, until they finally discovered the Art School. Without any help from adults, the young boy prepared his portfolio and obtained the recommendations from his class and art studio teachers. After successfully passing the three-stage rigorous selection contest, Yuriy became a student of the City 4-year Art School.
It was at the Art School where Yuriy studied art history and obtained extensive training in the fundamentals of drawing, painting, composition, and sculpture. Attending three days a week for four to five hours a day, he became both a high school and art school graduate.
After being drafted for military service Yuriy continued creating his art. He painted every day creating scenes, sketches, portraits of his friends, and plain-air painting. He also worked on murals and a military museum exposition which included portraits in watercolor and sculpture. This was immense preparation for the school of architecture where he subsequently enrolled.
As an architectural student in the pre-computer era, Yuriy possessed strong graphic and painting skills, mastering clear spatial vision and developing his “senses” which enabled him to see the “structure” of subjects, and the ability to visually express a design idea.
“Drawing is the language of an Architect,” his professors repeatedly reminded him.
During his student years, Yuriy participated in numerous art exhibitions. His one-man show was presented in his sophomore year and along with his friend, he created murals for their Alma Mater Student Health Center. His Diploma Project was completed at the request of the city’s Planning and Architectural Department in cooperation with the nation-wide AE firm. This project earned the “Excellent” award by State Commission and was used by city authorities. For a long time, it stayed on display in the School of Architecture.
Upon moving to Columbus, Georgia, Yuriy associated himself with the art and architectural communities and joined the local chapter of AIA and Columbus Artists’ Guild (CAG). He has cherished memories of Hecht-Burdeshaw Architects, a local architectural firm, which afforded him the opportunity to work on many interesting and unique projects; and of CAG, where he has met many wonderful people who share his passion for art and who offer their friendly support and encouragement.
Yuriy’s work has included a series of building portraits as well as architectural renderings and illustrations for companies including Homes on Parade for Maple Ridge Development, Proposal for City Mills Reconstruction, and Char-Broil Grills. His work has been featured in the Columbus Ledger –Enquirer, as well as in numerous brochures and booklets. His portraits can be seen in the homes of private citizens.
In spite of staying busy as an architectural designer, Yuriy remains busy with portraits.
One of his most well known works is the mural done for the Children’s Miracle Program located in the children’s ER of the Medical Center.
Yuriy has developed his own style for creating realistic and impressionistic portraits. He possesses a talent for observation, attention to the smallest but most meaningful detail, and the ability to see the uniqueness in every person. This special talent allows him to capture “the moment of the truth,” especially in his portraits of children that are so fresh, clear, and vibrant. One can literally feel a child’s breath from one of his portraits. Time carves the story of life on the faces of his older subjects. Like a fascinating book, “wrinkles form the lines and the face forms the novel.” Yuriy loves having a virtual dialog with the person whose portrait he is working on. The careful process of comprehending someone’s life, in turn, goes into his portrait. Then the time comes for the portrait to begin telling the story…
Yuriy was awarded “Best of Show” by Columbus’ River Fest for his portrait of a young boy.
His works can be found in private home collections in the U.S. including the states of Alabama, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia; and in the countries of Belarus, Estonia, France, Poland, Russia, Uzbekistan and his native Ukraine.
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