Within my body of work, I meditate on the apparent nostalgia and calmness of my childhood, and the history of my family. To express this content, I primarily work within craft-centric methods engrained in my heritage, including egg painting and sewing, and a folk style that even continues into my pieces that are more classically fine art.
Being brought up with Ukrainian heritage, generations upon generations of my family have practiced the classic wax resist egg-dying method. My great grandmother continued the tradition when she moved our family to the United States and it has been passed on through my family ever since. This sparked an interest in all things Ukrainian folk art, and I also began to study the traditional pattern painting of Petrykivka. I have been simulating these time-honored practices by painting patterns created from Ukrainian reference and personal symbols to act as portraits in my work, both self and familial. I’ve painted iterations of these patterns on everything from culturally appropriate eggs to canvas photo prints of a deceased family member.
As a child, my dad would take me fishing on Lake Michigan on summer days. The tranquility of the water and scenery, paired with the calm patience of waiting for a fish to bite gave me time to bond and create fond memories of my dad, all while imparting an appreciation for my natural surroundings.
These backgrounds and experiences have formed my expression within my artwork. A signature blue that I consider a hue of self-portraiture reminds me of the tranquility and appreciation for nature instilled in me by my father, and resembles a clear blue of shallow water, fish scales, and summer skies. These act as symbols within the Petrykivka I emulate. The fish, over time in my work, has developed the most importance, because it not only holds nostalgia and the lessons of my father, but the reminder of a bright heritage that is still very much alive, and carried on through my art.