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 Oleg Stavrowsky  (1927 - )

About: Oleg Stavrowsky


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Lived/Active: New Mexico/Texas      Known for: cowboy genre, horse and figure painter

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BIOGRAPHY for Oleg Stavrowsky
New Mexico/Texas

Often Known For
cowboy genre, horse and figure painter

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born to Russian parents and raised in Harlem, New York, Oleg Stavrowsky is a painter of western subjects and now lives in Lago Vista, Texas, near Austin. Of himself, he says: "I turned out to be a real country hick. I have no desire to live in the city any more."

His interest in western art began in high school during World War II. After serving in the war, he became a technical illustrator for McDonnell Aircraft in St. Louis. Then his career expanded to fashion illustration and other types of commercial art, but he became exasperated with art directors.

A visit to Oklahoma City and the Cowboy Hall of Fame changed his life, and he gave up commercial art and went to Santa Fe, New Mexico where he started western painting. In his first year, he was in an exhibit at the Hall of Fame. Eventually he settled in Texas.

Source: Southwest Art, 4/2002

Biography from Altermann Galleries & Auctioneers VI:
Born in Harlem, New York, in 1927 to immigrant parents. His interest in art began in high school. During The Second World War. Oleg was drafted into the Army, served in Europe and honorably discharged as a staff sergeant in 1949. After his return to the United States he met and married his wife Carol. Together they have raised eight children, and recently celebrated their 58th wedding anniversary. Oleg says of himself:

"Very few people know me personally and I have heard that I don't really exist, that I am black (because I was born in Harlem), that I am from the 'old country,' (because of my name), and that I don't speak English. Of course none of this is true. I got through two years of high school, was drafted in 1945, and got honorably discharged as a staff sergeant in 1949.

I fooled around with ten thousand incidental jobs and finally when I was about thirty, decided I liked graphics. I started out as a draftsman, then I got a pretty good job as a technical illustrator and I was really cooking with McDonnell-Douglas Aircraft. Then I got interested in fashion drawing and got into free-lance commercial art. My first real illustration job was rendering a pair of pants for a company in Kansas City. My only real teacher was a book "Creative Illustration" and some correspondence, with it's author, the great illustrator Andrew Loomis. After a few trials early on, I had developed a solid reputation as a "hot dog", and worked pretty steadily. In those days illustration was widely used in advertising and I had many good accounts. That gradually began to shift more towards photography and I could tell that a change was in the wind.

One day back in about 1969, I was in Oklahoma City, and decided to see what was happening at the Cowboy Hall of Fame, I liked what I saw and made up my mind that I'd like to give that a try. I guess we all like Cowboys and Indians. It was pretty successful right from the start and I've been at it ever since. I turned out to be a real country hick. I have no desire to live in the city any more. One big factor in my life is jazz. When I paint, I am listening to music. Sixty-four bars of good saxophone is like four square inches of good brush licks on a canvas. Western painting is my life, my income, my joy, my everything."

Oleg lives and works near Austin Texas.

Source: artist's website (

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