Maria Vanik: Artist of the Month

September 8, 2020 By megan-harrigan

Maria Vanik is held in high esteem. Since joining the Chicago studio in 2017 she has built a distinctive and vibrant portfolio of works made with markers on paper. Her observant and empathetic nature benefits not only her art practice, but her studio community as well. She always has warm words of encouragement to share. 

Fellow studio artist Ted Gram-Boarini, shared this sentiment about Vanik, “I think the body of work is brilliant. It’s hard to be a new artist and come up with your own style. Her personality shows through in her artwork. I think she’s very sure of what she wants to do and how she wants to do it.”

It is for this, and many other reasons, that Vanik’s peers on our agency curating committee selected her as the September artist of the month.

North Shore studio artist Aaron Kleeblatt recently joined Vanik for a Zoom interview. The following is their discussion punctuated with works from Vanik’s current series depicting Covid-19.

Maria Vanik, Untitled, 2020

AK: Who inspires you to make artwork?

MV: Everything is ok now. I like you so much. My painting is different. I make artwork here.

AK: What tools do you use? 

MV: I use a brush for painting.

AMK: What other tools do you use besides paint brushes?

MV: I have a brush, painting and neat. That means I have my paintings and my brush. 

Maria Vanik, Untitled, 2020

AMK: Do you have any role models?

MV: No, I don’t

AMK: Why did you use color to deal with this dark subject?

MV: Aaron the truth is I am doing my focus on painting. Maybe that’s it. Tell Raina [Carter] I like her so much. She’s a nice girl. She’s an artist and she’s a beautiful girl. A woman. I like her dress. 

AMK: I remember you said you don’t have a role model. Do you look up to Raina?

MV: She is like my sister. She’s a beautiful girl. I like her.

Maria Vanik, Untitled, 2020

AMK: What made you dream to become an artist?

MV: I am an artist. I’m making the sun, flowers, some grass. I have Steve [Harhaj] who taught me to focus on what I am doing on my painting. He sits next to my desk. I like him so much. He’s a nice man.

AMK: What’s it like to be back in the studio again?

MV: I’ll stay here because I have my job back. 

AMK: Thanks for your time.

MV: Thank you, Aaron!

Maria Vanik, Untitled, 2020