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A truly good man with tousled hair and grey beard Petro Sholtes fully corresponds to the stereotype image of an artist by his appearance, demeanour, and even clothing. Having met him in the street, without being familiar, one can immediately understand that this is the man of art! 

The symbiosis of the Ukrainian and Hungarian languages, Transcarpathian dialect, together with the unmatched sense of humour and expressive gestures, underline the artist’s charisma and personality. He was born in 1945, in a large intellectual family in Uzhhorod. Since his childhood, his parents instilled love to music and art in him. Artists, musicians and poets were frequent guests in their family. It created the favourable atmosphere for the artist’s development as a creative person. Petro Sholtes recalls: when he was a child, the well-dressed intelligent gentlemen, who slowly walked in the streets of the city making small talks, greatly impressed him – they were different from the others by appearance, behaviour and manners. These people, as it turned out later, were Gabriel Gluck, Fedir Manailo, Adalbert Erdeli, Yosyp Bokshai, and other masters of the Transcarpathian school of painting. It was they, who gave the initial impetus to become an artist by their creativity and life's example.

His art education Petro Sholtes started with the art club under the guidance of the prominent pedagogue Zoltan Bakonii. After that was the Uzhhorod College of Applied Arts, where professional disciplines were taught by the famous artists Shandor Petki, Pavlo Balla, Mykhailo Popovych. The art works of Petro Sholtes are as sincere and frank as he is. He admires different subjects: sacred architecture, iconography, still lifes, genre scenes, cityscapes, mountain and rural landscapes. He likes to paint portraits and caricatures of ordinary people, skilfully catching and reproducing their inner world and mood on his canvases. Interesting genre zest of the artist, which distinguishes him from other painters, is the interior composition. He believes that the foundation of painter’s art is freedom. The artist is passionate of jazz and rock music. He listens to Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Jimi Hendrix, Omega, Black Sabatth. Each and every one of his work is like a jazz composition – original, moody and unique.

He says that he always improvises while drawing, and his brush is guided by muse, feeling, and intuition. He thinks that the ability to convey the first impressions, mood, and colour is very important. The artist paints only what is close, familiar and sensually clear for him. He always tries to catch the moment of inspiration vital for true creativity. For the first time, Petro Sholtes worked at the studio of the famous graphic artist Mykhailo Roskin. Later, having beautifully renovated his two-room apartment, he arranged his own studio at home. Today, it is his apartment, cosy studio, and art gallery. The rooms are full of the old furniture with curved legs, baroque mirrors, carefully preserved and renovated decorative things of the last century. The paintings hang on the walls in two rows and each month the artist changes his own exposition to look at the paintings in new way and, perhaps, finds new themes and subjects. The creative muse, family’s mascot and faithful companion is his wife Gabriella, whom the artist depicted in his numerous drawings and beautiful portraits. The creative couple (the wife paints as well) systematically organize plein-airs in Transcarpathia and Hungary and actively attract other artists.

Petro Sholtes is the member of the National Union of Artists of Ukraine (since 1995) and the Union of Artists named after Mihály Munkácsy of the Association of Hungarian Intelligentsia of Transcarpathia (since 2007). Since 1987 he has participated in art exhibitions. The artist held about two dozen personal exhibitions in Ukraine and Hungary. He is awarded honorary certificates and prizes, including Silver Cross of Merit from Hungarian Government (for the development of Transcarpathian and Hungarian art), gold medal named after Mihály Munkácsy for active creativity and highly professional skills; he is a laureate of International Prize named after Simon Hollosy, and Regional Prize named after Yosyp Bokshai and Adalbert Erdeli. Text: Oleksandr Nikitchuk Photo: Oksana Yurchenko

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