Iosif Puchinskiy was born in 1922 in Uzda, Belarus to a family of a Blacksmith and housewife. When he was 10 years old, his family moved Minsk. He began his formal art education in 1938 at the Vitebsk Academy, the art school founded by Marc Chagall. At the start of World War II, he evacuated Minsk and spent time working in Moldova and Uzbekistan. On Jan 1, 1942 Iosif was drafted into the Soviet Army and was sent to Tashkent, Uzbekistan to spcial weapons training school. In August of the same year, his entire school was sent to the front.
He fought int he Battle of Stalingrad as an assistant to the commander of the machine gun division. On Nov 20th, 1942 he was seriously injured and was sent back from the front. During his recovery, Iosif worked as an artist at a club at the special weapons training school which he had attended earlier. He was then called back into service of the Soviet Army and sent to an aviation specialist school. When the school moved to Kharkov, he was called in to work as an artist for the BSSR military operation. In 1945, he was working as an artist for the military in Minsk, when he was demobilized. At the end of the war he was the sole survivor of his family (all of whom had perished in the Minsk Ghetto); he was awarded three medals: medal for Valor, medal for Defense of Stalingrad, and medal for Victory of Germany.
After World War II, Puchinskiy continued his education at the Minsk Art School, then the Belarusian Theatrical and Arts Institute. His rigidly structured painting courses were taught by Ivan Achremchyk, Vial Virko and Valentin Volkov. Puchinskiy has had solo exhibitions in Belarus in 1948, 1972, 1982 and 1994, as well as in Budapest, Warsaw, Moscow and Rome. He has illustrated over 120 books in his native land, and his works are in permanent museum collections in Belarus, Germany, Italy and Israel. He was contributed to a number of Belarusian publications and magazines, including Worker and Selyanka, for which he was an art editor until 1992. He was awarded numerous honors for his artistic and journalistic contributions, and also for his painting: Partisans by wounded Rima Shershova
Puchinskiy immigrated to the United States in July 1994. His expressive paintings capture scenes of Belarus, beginning immediately after World War II and spanning the Cold War, and eventually the fall of Communism. The pieces are at times dark and mysterious, sometimes bright and optimistic, but always fresh, introspective and affective.
Iosif died December 16, 2007. He is survived by his wife, kids, and grand-kids.