Ivano-Frankivsk - city of heroes

Mykola Bilchuk

Mykola Bilchuk

Mykola Bilchuk (ukrainian: Микола Більчук ) – an artist, a teacher, a director of Ivano-Frankivsk art school, the graduates of which made a pleiad of famous artists. He loved the life, his job and family more than anything. His works are not monumental, but sincere and warm. Most of them retain the beauty of Ivano-Frankivsk.

Mykola Bilchuk was born in Zapadyntsi village (Krasyliv district of Khmelnytska region) in the family of a deacon in 1928. Mykola Vasyliovych said that Soviet officials did not know how to name his father’s profession, and called him as a "devotee of cult." He obtained his artistic skills while studying in Lviv Art College from 1945 to 1948.  After graduating from the college, Mykola Bilchuk arrived in Ivano-Frankivsk (Stanislaviv at that time) where he worked in the Art Union. Later he joined military service, and after demobilization he studied in Stanislaviv Pedagogical Institute. After graduating from institute he worked there as a teacher of fine arts (1959-1964).

In 1964 Mykola Bilchuk moved to Hungary, where he worked at the embassy as a teacher of fine arts for kids of the Soviet servicemen. These few years of living abroad affected him, his life, and his outlook considerably; they resulted in his creative and pedagogical work. His favorite technique was watercolor: he successfully combined any new tools and techniques with light and bright colors.

Having returned from abroad M. Bilchuk went on teaching and his creative work. However, at that time some changes occurred in Ivano-Frankivsk: the Soviet authorities persecuted the artistic intelligentsia; his colleagues V.Moroz and O. Zalyvakha were arrested. His staying abroad saved him from repression. In Ivano-Frankivsk he began teaching the methodology of fine art in Vasyl Stefanyk State Pedagogical Institute.

But the biggest concern of his life was the teacher’s work in Ivano-Frankivsk State Children's Art School; from 1973 to 1986 he was an enthusiastic school principal, the teacher of drawing, painting, sculpture and composition.

As an artist Mykola Bilchuk was primarily a landscape painter. He often painted, in particular, architectural landscapes, many portraits, and still lifes. The artist preferred the technique of watercolor painting because of the possibility to share his lifelong feelings, simplicity of usage and the ability to rapidly paint until the artist was clearly experiencing his impressions. He liked to experiment with a combination of techniques, styles and forms, although the content of his works was still traditional - mood landscapes, portraits of his contemporaries. However, he was not social realist by the conception of the world, he stubbornly avoided politics in his works and life, he was a patriot. The prime of his creative work was at 70-80 years of the twentieth century with his works from abroad: Hungary, Krakow, Italy, and architectural landscapes of his native Ivano-Frankivsk.

Along with his active creative and social life, Mykola Bilchuk was a good family man, he loved his wife Lydia and son Michael, brought up his grandchildren. He led a healthy life and was training his body and spirit.

Mykola Bilchuk passed into eternity in 2005. In 2013 his student Nazar Kardash and the Publishing House "Lileia-NV" published the book "Sketches of Mykola Bilchuk`s life and work". The book describes the memories of his life, his creative and educational work of the artist.