Nick Kosciuk was born in 1964. He grew up in New Jersey. Kosciuk cannot recall a specific time when he decided he wanted to be an artist, but from an early age there was a sense of knowing that he would paint. He received a degree in painting from the University of Washington, but he considers himself to be largely self-taught, continuing to glean information and insight from a variety of sources.
Kosciuk gravitates toward what he finds personally inspiring, be it a painting by an old master or a deftly placed brushstroke made by a relatively unknown painter. Inspiration can come through a piece of music or great literature. What inspires Kosciuk the most are the children of Belarus.
Since 2001, Kosciuk has become an advocate for forgotten and abandoned children in the land-locked Eastern European republic. When he visits, he takes hundreds of photographs, capturing the beauty and strength in the eyes of these young people who so inspire him. He returns frequently to Belarus to visit the children who affectionately call him, Papa.
Back in his studio in Arizona, Kosciuk paints their likenesses as honestly and directly as he can. His intent is simply to paint what he sees, and to let the paintings speak for themselves.
The paintings do seem to speak to people. One can clearly see the openness, thoughtfulness and resilience in the faces of these children. Kosciuk says that often he himself discovers something in a finished painting that he had not previously noticed.
The painter says he is pleased and blessed that he has been given the opportunity to share in the kids’ lives. “The paintings are significant because the children are significant, and what I am doing with my life has meaning.”
These Belarusian children have enriched the artist’s life in many ways, and Kosciuk’s paintings are adding positively to their lives as well. In his visits, he repeatedly tells the kids how important they are. To one little girl he says, “You are probably the most painted Belarusian in history.” He tells the children how people love their portraits, how pictures of them move people.
Kosciuk is passionate and sincere in his work, finding purpose and fulfillment in the life he leads. “I want my life to be important. I want my paintings to inspire.”
Nick Kosciuk’s paintings are in many public and private collections in North and South America, Europe and Japan, including the private collection of Bill and Melinda Gates.