Anastasia Mak (Makarenko) was born in Ukraine, and moved to the U.S. at the age of 14, initially by herself, as an exchange student. Her parents followed her a year later. Since then, she has lived in St. Louis, Atlanta, Italy, and from 2002 onward – Chicago.
WAIT. Just let me talk to you in first person, ok? …Ah. Much better.
I’m a full-time artist who can’t quite sit still (and that is why, of course, I also always paint while standing). Travel ignited a fire in me a long time ago, and I do not plan on putting it out. Wanderlust fuels my artwork.
When I was a little kid, I began to draw and paint, so obsessively that my parents signed me up for a preparatory art school for children (which was tedious, by the way – things are always less fun when they’re mandatory!). In college, however, I pursued a more “practical” route and obtained a business degree – but art always consumed a larger space in my head. I worked in the corporate world of marketing for a few years before quitting in 2008 to paint full time – and haven’t looked back since! I now create art in my studio in Chicago’s Ravenswood neighborhood.
It is hard for me to last a season without taking a trip – I’m a bit obsessed with discovering new cities, experiencing different countries, and finding fresh hiking trails. My home, Chicago, is also a great muse. So, naturally, my paintings became DESTINATIONS IN COLOR – their subject matter comes from photos I take and sketches I do while out exploring. Figurative themes and even animals make their way into my work, too – they are also a reflection of things I see and do.
In my paintings, I mix geometrical elements with distinguishable buildings, landscapes, people, or creatures. My pieces are known for their vivid “signature skies” – that is where I get creative with patterns. My inspiration comes from things I see and photograph (of course!), various forms of art, street graffiti and textures. I infuse bright color and high contrast into my pieces, which makes them breathe with energy.
I started out by specializing in oil, then switched to acrylics (fewer fumes!) and now also layer drawn pen and marker lines into my pieces. Upon finding some great non-toxic paint thinner options, I have returned to working with oil on occasion; however, my primary medium remains acrylic. My originals are created on canvas or wooden panels.
The style of my art appears to fall under Contemporary Expressionism – although I prefer to focus more on my creative process and less on my style terminology; the latter can be defined by art scholars, while I paint.
I am lucky to have exhibited internationally in galleries and fine art fairs. My paintings have been acquired by a broad group of collectors, ranging from corporate executives to college students. I hope that, by viewing my work, you will take a relaxing mind journey! If you own an Anastasia Mak original, you own the one-of-a-kind physical result of many hours of thinking, planning, sketching, and layering of brush strokes that went into that piece. Enjoy it!