Oleg "Bika" Tsaava
Oleg “Bika” Tsaava was born in 1965 into a family of artists in the USSR. His grandfather, a renowned abstract sculptor, had an early influence on Bika, instructing him for two hours each day – first in figural sketches, then in impressionistic canvases, and finally in sculpture. Most significantly, he instructed Bika to paint nature from within nature, moving his easel outdoors to become part of a landscape while painting it.
By the age of 16, Bika was employed full-time as his grandfather’s apprentice. With the intent of being a certified teacher, two years later Bika enrolled in the Tbilisi Teachers’ Training College, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Drawing and Painting in 1987. Following his graduation, he was offered an associate professorship in painting at his own college. He accepted the position, while also teaching art to young children at a nearby elementary school in order to keep in touch with the direct innocence of a simpler, more vibrant art. He married at the same time, and less than a year later the couple had their only child.
However, the stifling environment of the Soviet Republic prevented the artist’s growth into diverse and eccentric forms of art. Particularly frustrating was a student exhibition Bika organized around the theme of democracy – promptly closed by the college president. Bika moved on from the institution just two years later, accepting employment as Head Designer with the publicity firm, Sakuachrobreklama. While financially lucrative, the firm stifled his creative intuition to an even greater degree. He began to teach full-time at the elementary school – but realized that in order to free himself completely as an artist, emigration was inevitable.
Although emotionally wrenching, Bika and his family managed a move to the United States in 1991, seeking spiritual and political freedom, a promising future and a release from the past. Depending on the broad range of artistic skills passed on by his grandfather, Bika excelled as a clay sculptor at the Factory of Ceramic Artifice. He soon found a permanent creative home within the artistic community of the Deljou Art Group.
Bika’s growing collection of work continues to be displayed by many private and corporate collectors in the former Soviet Republic and throughout the United States.