Interview with 2016-2017 Art Contest Winner

Maya Halko is a 16-year old student that attends Chicago High School for the Arts.

Currently, what role does art play in your life?

The starring role, ahah. My art practice is what I continue to work on every day, and there are so many other artists inspiring me all the time and encourage me to try new things and keep moving forward. I’m so excited for the future and what I can do next with artwork! The more I make, the more I continue to understand myself and what I enjoy most.

What was your inspiration for your winning piece?

My piece takes place at a farmers’ market in downtown Chicago. Since pigeons rule this city and aren’t afraid of approaching people, they might as well be citizens of Chicago too. I incorporated the hybridization between the human figure and pigeons to add a sense of light humor. The colors of the piece also reflect on how I felt during the time; I walked past the location of that farmer’s market every day while making this piece. It was super peachy.

What is your process for creating art?

I need to get to know my own painting. Usually if I spend enough time with it and keep working, I begin to understand what I want to convey more and more. More than anything recently I’ve been focusing on colors. It’s relaxing to mix paint. I’m also turning a wall of my room into an inspiration board, or a ‘soup’ board. The soup board contains snippets of things I want my art to look like (or things I enjoy), small color studies, and lists of things that I have to get done. These are all the ingredients I have for my soup.

Do you have any tips for budding artists?

Balance out the larger, long term pieces you make with many refreshing, shorter drawings. That way you’re giving your eyeballs a break and making more things. Find your favorite artists and stare at their paintings long enough to steal their pretty colors. If you like a certain piece, keep it out in the open so you can enjoy it! Don’t forget to stretch every hour if you’ve been sitting, my aching back pays for this. Draw on napkins.