Most of the bios we’ve put up on this blog have been about male artists, which is not a huge surprise. Many of the world’s greatest and most influential street artists in the world have been men, and many male artists are still pushing the medium forward in new and dynamic ways every single day. But we think it’s high time the many wonderful female artists in the world get their fair share of the attention too. So today we’re going to take a look at Maya Hayuk, a street artist who’s intricate and captivating murals have shown up all around the world.
Hayuk was born to two university professors, geography and psychology respectively, and spent much of her childhood travelling around the world. These experiences took her to places as diverse as Europe, Africa, and parts of the Soviet Union, where she took in many different visual styles and approaches. As she grew up, Hayuk’s education and work took her from her hometown of Baltimore to Richmond, Boston, Toronto, San Francisco, and eventually Brooklyn, where she now resides and works full-time in her studio.
With their intricate patterns and love of bright colours, Hayuk’s various murals draw a most direct influence from the former Soviet Union. The patterns are tight and intricate, much like what’s commonly found on Easter eggs. The strong use of geometric shapes are captivating, inviting a closer and longer look at all the moments that exist within each of her works.
Hayuk herself describes her work as “bright, massive, intricate, and joyful, which is a pretty great summary for her work. Most of her murals are painted in bright colours and done on a large scale, anything from the entire side of a building to larger canvases that have hanged in galleries around the world, including her current residence of Brooklyn, New York.
The sheer size of Hayuk’s work could make for something imposing and overwhelming, but her use of shape and colour creates something just the opposite: a work that’s at once intimate and large, inviting while all-encompassing. These qualities were brought out to their fullest in her latest exhibit at UCLA’s Hammer Museum. Taking up the entire entryway of the museum, Hayuk’s murals greeted everyone who came in for nearly six months.
Hayuk’s latest work was part of the Bowery Mural on Houston St. in New York. The Bowery Mural Project is part of ongoing changing wall, where artists paint it up and have it replaced by another later on. It’s an amazing space to showcase local, emerging, and accomplished artists, with Hayuk’s piece being no exception.
Hayuk’s work is at once beautiful and full of life and proof that women are changing and impacting the street art industry in profound and new ways. As with all aspects of life, inclusion and diversity leads to change and a general raising of the work that’s out there. And for artists like Maya Hayuk, it means we have a better chance of encountering new art that can make us feel and think in different ways.