Slava TCH

"Each of my paintings includes numerous tones of one color to convey exactly what my eyes see and my heart feels."


 Price range: $895 to $11,200


Born into a family in which an older brother and an uncle were artists, Slava TCH (full name Viatcheslav Tchistiline) – raised in Russia – began painting when he was just nine years old. TCH studied fine art as an undergraduate at Kharkov State University, in Ukraine, and studied painting decorative art and interior design at the Kharkov Artistic-Industrial Institute. He received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Ukrainian Academy of Arts, which has a number of his works in its collection. During the early years of his career, Slava TCH painted with oil on canvas in a realistic manner. In addition he painted monumental murals and taught art. Many of his realistic paintings are in public collections in Germany and France and in private collections in countries around the world.

After moving to Canada in 1995 with his wife, the painter Natalia Tchistilina, and his daughter, Olga, Slava TCH changed direction and began using the ancient encaustic method. He also made the name he painted under easier for his new audience: Slava, in Russian, means Glory and TCH stands for Tone, Color and Harmony.

Encaustic painting was practiced by Greek artists as far back as the 5th century B.C. It has always been a complicated process, one that depends on precise time management in the application of dry pigment, hot beeswax and paint to a paper, canvas or board surface. Slava TCH uses the sculptural potential of this melting wax and pigments to create his luminous, three-dimensional worlds. In those worlds, neo-primitivism and abstract symbolism combine to express a yearning by Slava TCH for the ideal. The places he depicts seem at once both mythical and sacramental.

“During the 15 years that I worked in Russia,” Slava TCH has said, “I always explored various styles, and then I came to Canada and started working in encaustic media. It is my passion to work with complicated combinations of color. ... I love to paint red on red or yellow on yellow. Each of my paintings includes numerous tones of one color to convey exactly what my eyes see and my heart feels. The process of painting engulfs me fully, and the melody of my paintings just lifts me up and sweeps me away.”

While all artists can identify a range of influences on their work, in the case of Slava TCH, the collaboration with his late wife, Natalia, is especially noteworthy. Because they saw the world in much the same way, from their aesthetic sensibility to the desire to use art to suggest the ideal, the two often worked closely. Today, the main focus of Slava TCH remains the important harmony of tone and color.