Art Brokerage: Andrei Proutsouk Russian Artist: Born in the 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 emigre. 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.