Bucktown Arts Fest 2013 poster

Super excited to be this year’s winner of Bucktown Arts Fest 2013 Poster Contest!

I have done this festival for so many years – 9? 10? – I’ve lost count. It takes place during the last weekend of August in Chicago’s happening Bucktown neighborhood, and is one of my favorite events of the year. It feels more like a big party including artists and patron friends, many of whom I have known for over a decade. As locals know, a goat symbolizes Bucktwon, and I am very proud that my goat will be advertising the festival this season.

This poster design combines “City Goat” acrylic on canvas painting with graphic design by yours truly.

Bucktown Arts Fest poster 2013

Waveland Bowl art decor by Anastasia Mak!

Just recently I wrapped up a project that involves the most UNUSUAL use of my artwork to date!


The images of my Chicago paintings got purchased and installed as masking panels over FORTY BOWLING LANES at Chicago’s largest bowling center – Waveland Bowl. Yep, from now on, when you go there, you’ll be throwing your ball under my paintings (well, prints of my paintings) – so I do hope it helps your aim!


The artwork panels were printed by Chicago-based studio, Marshall Productions.


I also have to add, the Waveland Bowl owner, Gary, was such a joy to work with. This may be a large facility, but they are a true Chicago family business.130221-4

My bowling skills are very rusty, but it is time to put them to use again. We have a couple of bowling outings scheduled next month – can’t wait to return there!



Graffiti in Southern Spain

When people ask me what inspires my paintings, I can’t just name one thing, or one artist anymore. Yes, back in my very-very young days it was Dali, and Van Gogh, and such masters; but now a variety of things, like alignments of buildings along a street, or certain colors in the sky, or even a melody can create a cocktail of inspiration inside my head.

One thing I very often name though is graffiti I see when I travel abroad. Graffiti in certain countries is painted with such freedom, such creativity – and Spain has never disappointed in that regard. After all, stores in Barcelona hire graffiti artists to go to town on their metal doors so that pedestrians have something to gaze at along the quiet streets after stores close.

A few days ago I have returned from a wonderful trip to Southern Spain (particularly, Seville, Cordoba, and Granada). Here are some pictures of great graffiti I’ve collected during my time there.

(…Ok, this very first image is not graffiti. This is Jesus on a wall of a church in Sevilla. But what a beautiful street image nonetheless!)














Pathway Services entrance mural commission

It was a wonderful experience to travel to Jacksonville, IL earlier this month for a mural project. Pathway Services, Unlimited is a great organization that provides opportunities, activities, and other types of assistance to individuals with developmental disabilities and other physical or mental challenges. The organization has recently expanded and moved into a brand new building. So they wanted to brighten up their entrance wall.

Through Jacksonville’s Imagine Foundation, I was commissioned to travel downstate for a few days and create this mural. The design was my own and came from a couple of recent paintings of mine. The mural was painted with latex wall paints.

Total painting time added up to about 30 hours, and it was HARD work. In the end of my 3 painting days my arms and back were quite sore and I was slightly dizzy from the paint fumes. But the project was SO VERY rewarding. People who work at Pathway Services are the nicest, friendliest bunch. And to watch their clients faces light up with a smile when they approached my developing mural was priceless. Thank you, Pathway, for this incredible opportunity!

Here is the completed mural (my apron kinda goes with the design, eh?):

Pathway Services mural by Anastasia Mak

And all the progress photos, starting with the sketch:

Pathway Services mural sketch by Anastasia Mak

Pathway Services mural process by Anastasia Mak

Pathway Services mural process by Anastasia Mak

Pathway Services mural process by Anastasia Mak

Pathway Services mural process by Anastasia Mak

Pathway Services mural process by Anastasia Mak

Pathway Services mural process by Anastasia Mak

Pathway Services mural process by Anastasia Mak

Pathway Services mural process by Anastasia Mak

Pathway Services mural process by Anastasia Mak

Mural Front Page News in Journal Courier

The big mural that I am painting in the entrance of Pathway Services Organization has been documented by Journal Courier newspaper of Jacksonville, IL. This is what happens when you travel to paint a mural in a small town – you make front page news! (it was a bit awkward to pose for the photographer, so… I just kept working!)


“With Respect” Radio Interview

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of driving around the lake to southern Michigan, where I met up with a radio host John Smietanka and recorded an hour-long With Respect radio interview in his station in Three Oaks.

John and I met after he stopped in my booth at Krasl Art Festival in St Joseph, MI earlier this summer. John’s also an attorney, and he annually travels to Czech Republic, where he educates Czech and Slovak lawyers about American legal system. We had a great little chat about Eastern Europe, and he then invited me to be a guest on his program, titled “With Respect”.

I have never done a radio interview before, and have to admit I was a little nervous at fist. After all, I can’t show my art on the radio, AND have that weird Ukrainian accent! But, as we started talking, the nervousness dissapeared rather quickly and was replaced with my eagerness to tell stories. It was partly due to John’s interview style – he is a wonderful host, and immediately puts you at ease. In the end, I had so much fun doing this, that an hour flew by before I knew it. We have even been discussing recording a “Part 2.”

Here is the link to the invterview:

“With Respect” hosted by John Smietanka with guest Anastasia Mak

And this is John giving me a mini-tour of Three Oaks:

Interview will also air on Sunday, September 2, at 11 am EDT and Thursday, September 6, at 10 am EDT on www.radioharborcountry.org

“The Buena Vista Cafe” commissioned painting

This 9×12 Acrylic on Canvas commissioned painting features a still life inspired by the popular, historic San Francisco watering hole – The Buena Vista Cafe. This cafe’s specialty is an Irish Coffee. The painting was created from my customer’s photographs, taken right there at the bar. He lives in Louisville, but visits San Francisco so often that is has become his second home, I think.

This little piece was so much fun to work on – the only problem is, it made me a little thirsty for a perfectly crafted Irish Coffee.

First 2 photographs below show the painting’s progress. Last two show the completed piece.




“325 North LaSalle” commissioned painting

This 30×36 commissioned painting of 325 North LaSalle (a.k.a. the Reid Murdoch Building) was completed in September, and created to be hung in a conference room of one of the companies headquartered there. It is an Acrylic on Canvas piece.

I’ve always admired this gorgeous red brick building, which adds co much character to the scape of Chicago River. Some fun facts: the Reid Murdoch Center, which is now designated a Chicago Landmark, was constructed in 1914 and listed on the National Registry of Historic places in 1975. It used to house Chicago’s traffic court (and I wish it still did, because you would at least be rewarded with a beautiful view when going to argue your traffic ticket). Needless to say, I loved working on this piece and hoping to paint 325 N LaSalle again soon, maybe from a different angle!

Completed painting:

Painting progress, starting with one of the “concept” sketches:


“Mondello” commissioned painting

This 16×16 Acrylic on Canvas commissioned painting is of Mondello, Italy (located in Sicily), and was created in September. My customer had ordered it as a birthday surprise for her Italian husband who loves Mondello.

As a special request, I added an old Fiat 500 into the painting (for which I had to improvise a foreground hill with a road). I am told that the piece was a successful birthday surprise!

Completed painting:

Painting’s progress photos:




2011 Lakeview East Art festival promotion with “Owls Over Windy City”

Now that the Lakeview East Art Festival is over, I wanted to share all the photos of this year’s promo, in which they used my artwork to advertise the 2011 fest. I have been posting many updates about this on Facebook, but for those of you who don’t (yet) follow my FB art page (you probably should: https://www.facebook.com/anastasiamakart), here is a little pictorial summary of where the Owls have appeared in Chicago.

I was very honored that the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce selected my “Owls Over Windy City” painting for this year’s promotion. The selection of this image, I think, was very fitting with the reason of why this piece was originally created. (read about it here). Anyhow, its been so much fun to spot the Owls around Chicago in various print forms (starting with the Gay Pride Parade in June, which also takes place in Lakeview East). Here’s a photo gallery of many places where the Owls have “landed” this summer. And thank you everyone who came out to the festival, and thanks to my customers for all your support!

Owls on Chicago Gay Pride Parade float:



Owls lurking behind DJ of the Pride Parade float:



Owls on Lakeview East street billboard:



Owls on Lakeview East light posts:



More Owls on light posts:



Light post banner up close:


Owls landed on the bus stop:


Owls behind stage at the festival: