57th Street Art Fair 2016 poster by Anastasia Mak

57th Street Art Fair 2016 poster artist

I was thrilled to be invited by the 57th Street Art Fair to create a commission for their 2016 poster.

This Fair is a nice show in Chicago’s south side neighborhood of Hyde Park, located not too far from University of Chicago campus. The commissioned project involved creating a painting, completing a poster design, as well as making all of festival’s other supporting materials (postcards, bookmarks, lanyards, etc) – print ready.

After brainstorming the painting subject matter with the festival committee, we settled on Botany Pond – a serene little water spot in the Main Quadrangle of UIC campus, full of lilies and surrounded by plants and flowers, with a walking bridge over it. The building I placed behind Botany Pond in the painting is actually located a little further away in real life (on the other side of UIC’s Main Quad). But I chose it for this piece because I found it so interesting. Its gothic style has many little details that are fun to paint, and the right portion of it reminds me of a castle.

Here is the initial proposal sketch:

57th Street Art Fair poster sketch

….And completed painting along with my final poster design:

57th Street Art Fair 2016 poster by Anastasia Mak

….and one of many street lamp banners advertising the festival!

57th Street Art Fair 2016 banner

What a fun project! I look forward to being there during the show days on June 4th and 5th! Stop by my booth (just south of the info tent) to say hello.

Forbes feature - Anastasia Mak

Forbes: Price Ranges and Studio Images of 14 Contemporary Artists

Very honored to be included in this Forbes list of contemporary artists’ studios! I’m in the company of some very talented people here. Thank you, Jason Borbet, for the feature! Here is the link to the entire piece.

Forbes feature - Anastasia Mak

I think I left some paint marks in UAE!

So, we just returned from the United Arab Emirates where I was invited, via a grant through the American Embassy, to come participate in Ras Al Khaimah Fine Art Festival and do some youth art outreach programs. The trip was an unbelievable unique opportunity to create art abroad and engage with a new (to me) culture. Al Qasimi Foundation, who were in charge of organizing the festival and the programs, hosted us in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah and treated us so well that I thought I may have entered an Arabian fairytale for a week. Now that I am home and going though all of my photos and memories, I will be posting a few stories here. For the time being, here is my program page from the festival (hey, I was just fascinated to see my artist profile in Arabic – my first!).

Anastasia Mak Ras Al Khaimah Art Festival program

And here a press release, kindly written by Al Qasimi Foundation after my visit, describing what art shenanigans I ended up getting into while in UAE:

http://www.alqasimifoundation.com/en/newsandevents/news/DestinationPainterLeavesMarkoRasAlKhaimah.aspx

(Full text here in case of future link failure):

March 04, 2015

Destination Painter Leaves Mark on Ras Al Khaimah

Al Qasimi Foundation

In the international art world, Anastasia Mak is known for her expressionist paintings of some of the world’s most notable destinations, including Rome, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, and Istanbul. Thanks to a collaboration between the Al Qasimi Foundation and the U.S. Mission in the United Arab Emirates, Ms. Mak can now add a painting of Ras Al Khaimah to her portfolio after spending a week promoting arts and culture throughout the emirate and neighboring Fujairah.

“My art is influenced by my explorations of unfamiliar places, so I was thrilled to be invited to the northern emirates. After only a few days in this community, I can see why people visit Ras Al Khaimah and end up staying for years,” says Ms. Mak.

Ms. Mak was a featured guest artist for the 2015 Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival and also spent several days participating in outreach programs at local schools. Her visit embodied the Al Qasimi Foundation’s mission to support the social and cultural development of the emirate. It also highlighted the important role artistic expression plays in community development by bringing people from diverse cultural backgrounds together.

“Ras Al Khaimah is home to people from all over the globe and continues to be a center of Emirati heritage. The Al Qasimi Foundation wanted to host someone who could appreciate and represent our emirate through her art,” says Mr. Suqrat bin Bisher, Events Manager at the Foundation. “Anastasia’s unique background makes her a great ambassador for cultural exchange and artistic appreciation.”

A native of Ukraine, Anastasia Mak moved to the United States as an exchange student at the age of 14. She has traveled throughout the States and abroad, striving to expand her knowledge of different places and build on her appreciation of the world’s diversity. It was this spirit of adventure and curiosity that led Ms. Mak to jump on the opportunity to experience Ras Al Khaimah.

Ms. Mak began her time in the UAE at the weekend-long Fine Arts Festival where she had the chance to encourage and network with local and international artists. She also found time to explore the historic village of Al Jazeera Al Hamra, which she channeled into one of her distinctive destination paintings. In her signature geometric style, she brought an abandoned guard tower and one of the oldest mosques in the emirate to life in front of guests at the festival’s visual arts exhibition, which was held at the Ras Al Khaimah National Museum.

Ms. Mak’s success as a professional artist offered tangible inspiration to individuals in Ras Al Khaimah who sometimes struggle to find outlets for their creative interests.

“Ras Al Khaimah is growing as a hub of cultural activity and arts, and that is important to the community,” comments Ms. Jenny Reeves Manley, who brought her children and parents to the art exhibition. “I think it’s important for artists to know each other and to showcase their art so that they have something to be proud of.”

Ms. Mak did not only focus on the artistic crowd, however. Her time in the UAE included delivering messages of encouragement and a drawing lesson to undergraduates at the Higher Colleges of Technology Women’s Campus in Fujairah.

She also spent time cultivating technical skills and confidence among students who are part of the Foundation’s Hands on Learning (HOL) program, which works to engage local secondary students who are at risk of dropping out of school.

Visiting two Ras Al Khaimah boys’ schools, Ms. Mak worked alongside students as they constructed murals on their campuses. As students painted mosques, mountains, and palm trees, they learned first hand of the technical demands of art and experienced the planning and patience often required by creative endeavors.

Opportunities to work with professional craftsmen like Ms. Mak have been uncommon for most of these students, and Mr. Caleb Wilson, the Foundation associate heading up the HOL program, appreciated the chance for his students to build self-discipline and self-confidence.

“Anastasia was wonderful to work with. It was great seeing her teach our students how to add dimension to paintings through their brush strokes, to mix colors, and to work thoughtfully. I hope that she is able to visit again and collaborate on another project for HOL in the future,” says Mr. Wilson.

In addition to contributing to these murals, Ms. Mak donated three of her pieces, including portraits of Chicago, Istanbul, and Al Jazeera Al Hamra, to the Ras Al Khaimah community.

According to Ms. Mak, she came to the northern emirates as a representative of the artistic community and will leave as an admirer of Ras Al Khaimah and its people. For Dr. Natasha Ridge, Executive Director of the Al Qasimi Foundation, the feeling is mutual.

“Anastasia was an inspiration to our students, the artistic community in Ras Al Khaimah, and everyone at the Al Qasimi Foundation. Spending time with her and the other talented artists from Ras Al Khaimah and the broader region reminds us that life without art is no life at all: it really brings the community together.”

“I Like Illinois” feature and interview

Humbled to be featured, as Artist Of The Month on a lovely new website called “I Like Illinois“. It was especially fun to answer their interview questions! Please take a look: http://www.ilikeillinois.com/index.php/living/arts-a-culture/165-illinois-artist-of-the-month-anastasia-mak

Below are screen shots of the interview, in case of a broken link:

I Like Illinois Anastasia Mak

I Like Illinois Anastasia Mak

I Like Illinois Anastasia Mak

AIDS Run & Walk t-shirt project

This summer, I was honored to have been approached by the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. They requested to have my artwork on a t-shirt, which will be gifted to the top fundraisers participating in the 2014 Run & Walk event on September 14th. Together, we collaborated on this image idea. I went on to create a piece representing our city, with my typical patterned background, and included the symbol of a fight against AIDS – a red ribbon – in the sky. Horizontal lines along the lake represent diverse crowds of people that will participate by running or walking during this event.

My painting, Chicago Skyline With Red Ribbon, was then silk screened onto AIDS Run & Walk t-shirts this week. I have known several people who have been affected by this disease and am very happy to contribute towards its fight in such a unique way!

AIDS walk t-shirt by Anastasia Mak

Here is the screenshot of interview posted on the AIDS Foundation of Chicago website, (which can also be found here):

AIDS Foundation Anastasia Mak

DestinAsian magazine feature

DestinAsian magazine feature: AMak Art is going global! …Well, sort of. Excited to announce that my “Angkor Wat” painting has been featured in the August issue of DestinAsian – a luxury travel & lifestyle magazine published in Indonesia. The magazine interviewed me about my trip to Cambodia and wrote a lovely, eloquent copy to go with the painting. Just read this description – doesn’t it sound like poetry?!

DestinAsian featuring Anastasia Mak

DestinAsian magazine featuring Anastasia Mak

destinasian

OC Atlanta Network magazine cover

I’m very honored to have my “Atlanta” painting image published on the cover of OC Atlanta Network magazine September issue, along with the article inside. I used to live in Atlanta from 1995 until 2002, and still visit regularly, as my mom and dad live in the metro area. This “Atlanta” painting depicts the skyline as I remember it, with the city light bouncing off the sky, and the neon sign of its landmark fast food joint – The Varsity – flashing brightly in the foreground.

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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

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!)

mural_front_page_news

“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:

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