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 Victor J. Ostrovsky  (1949 - )

About: Victor J. Ostrovsky
 

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Lived/Active: Arizona / Israel/Canada      Known for: figure, narrative-adventure, spy themed painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Ostrovsky left the Israeli Secret Service Mossad at age 53 in 1997 and moved to the Phoenix area of Arizona.  He said: "I came because of the weather and because of the great art base. I had no idea when I came to the desert that I would love it so much. The desert for me used to be negative. All my memories of it include running around with weapons and sweating a lot." (Phoenix Magazine)

Five years after leaving the agency he published his first book, By Way of Deception about its inner workings and his disillusionment because the organization was focused on stirring up war to stay in business rather than striving for peace.

The artist has written many more books both fiction and non-fiction and has continued throughout his life to paint in his free time.  He said that when he was spying for the agency, painting on a street corner was a great foil.  Several years after arriving in Arizona, he began sculpting, and his first work was a bronze of a female figure on a carousel horse.

Ostrovsky's art is influenced by his time spent in the intelligence community.  His provocative narratives convey the mystery and intrigue of international spy capers and are layered with meaning.

Sources include:
The Artbook of the New West, fall/winter 2003
Linda Gronemann,'Victor Ostrovsky', Phoenix Magazine, October 2004

Biography from Ostrovsky Fine Art and Publishing:
Victor Ostrovsky was born in 1949 in Canada, and moved to Israel with his family at the age of five.  His inclination for the arts was apparent from a very early age.  The well known Israeli painter, Gilady, lived on the same street and would often set up his easel outdoors to paint.  Victor would watch, spellbound, on his way to and from school as Gilady created wonderful images on the blank canvas.  Eventually, the artist presented Victor with his own box of oil paints and took the time to guide him into a world where expressions come through images and color, handing the child a gift that would soon become a passion.

Victor entered the military at the age of eighteen and became the youngest officer in the Israeli Defense Force at the time.  Victor rose to rank of a lieutenant commander in the Israeli Navy and served as head of the weapon testing program when he was recruited by Israel's elite intelligence agency, the Mossad.

After two and half years of training in the Mossad, Victor became a katsa, (case officer) after serving in the field and becoming aware of the activities of elements within the agency that had more to do with self preservation than the good of the country he left the service.

After five years of trying to inform the powers to be with little success he wrote an exposé By Way Of Deception that shook the foundations of the agency and is said to have brought about change.  Victor has written two more books since; a non fiction The Other Side Of Deception and fictional spy novel Lion Of Judah.

Today, Victor's insight and knowledge of the intelligence community facilitates his writing of fictional novels and screenplays, and serves as a basis for his enigmatic and cryptic paintings.  His canvases offer tantalizing images, evoking a mystical and otherworldly reaction from viewers.  Hats, gloves, scarves and umbrellas hide the identities of his inscrutable figures, provoking and teasing our imaginations with visual portrayals of adventure and intrigue.  The activities of his figures and the titles of the work reflect the enterprise and language of the international intelligence community, bringing several layers of meaning to his paintings while creating stories for the viewer.

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