Elvira Stavrowsky was raised in the former Soviet Union in the port city of Odessa Ukraine. Odessa is perched on the shores of the Black Sea and its status as a major port made it one of the few places that Soviet citizens could be exposed the wider world beyond the USSR. Soviet cities of that time were very long on high culture such as ballet, the opera and art museums. Not so much the malls, movie theaters and skate parks that were more popular for American youth in those days. As a result Elvira spent much of her free time in Odessa’s great art museums which were free to visit and absorbed her attention. She was exposed to some of the greats of Russian painting like Ilya Repin, Nicholai Fechin and many others. Elvira’s father was a merchant sailor and having had a vicarious glimpse of life beyond the USSR through his experiences, she determined early on that she wanted to see the West. Particularly the American West. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 she felt that destiny had opened a door and she did not hesitate to make her move to emigrate and gain her US citizenship. She met and married her husband Matthew Stavrowsky in Austin TX some 22 years ago. Matt’s father is the popular Western artist Oleg Stavrowsky who gave Elvira generous advice and encouragement when she began painting herself some years before his passing.
Elvira has also studied through workshops with artist Carolyn Anderson and made many sojourns to bask in the art scene in Santa Fe. She currently lives and paints in a Cedar Park, TX a suburb of Austin, and considers herself a perennial student. Elvira stated, “I love the fact that being an artist is an endless pursuit for growth and knowledge. You never really get there, but I love the chase.”