My name is Anastasia Semash, and I am an artist and art instructor from Arlington, Massachusetts. I’ve been teaching since 2006, for the last six years mostly focused on doing the instruction in studio art to students of different ages – children, teens and adults. I currently teach in different locations, including my own studio in Arlington, Arlington Community Education, Munroe Center for the Arts in Lexington and Russian Center for Languages and Arts in Brookline.
I have been doing various kinds of art since childhood, trying oil and acrylic painting, knitting, felting, sculpting, digital drawing, and illustration. I enjoy the fusion of different techniques, materials and themes.
I grew up in Russia, so Russian history, literature, religion and common beliefs have a strong influence on my artwork. Being half-Russian and half-Ukrainian, I am deeply fond of Slavic art and folk tales. In fine arts my special love is a mixture of realistic and folk or naive painting, which combines Eastern, European and American art.
I received my Master of Arts from St. Petersburg State University, Russia, with major in Philosophy and additional focus on Aesthetics and History of Art and Design, in 2000. My PhD dissertation was devoted to aesthetic aspects of advertising. I started my career working in advertising, graphic arts and publishing. After completing a program in publishing design at the St. Petersburg University of Technology and Design (2006), I decided to move towards studio art and continued my education at the Northwestern Institute of Printing Arts, St. Petersburg (2007-2009), where I had a chance to study painting, academic drawing, book illustration, typography and more. However, I am a professional graphic designer, and, as such, know a lot about graphic design software, including various Adobe products. Prior to moving to the U.S., I worked at the Northwestern Institute of Printing Arts as a teacher of computer graphics for students with major in Advertising. Besides that, I worked part-time as a teacher in public school. In total, I spent 7 years teaching computer graphics at college and school levels. I am proficient in drawing, painting and illustration using traditional artistic media, graphic tablet, and computer vector graphic tools. I enjoy sculpting using various modeling compounds and fibers.
Soon after moving to Boston, I continued working as an instructor in afterschool and weekend art programs. I used my educational background and both my teaching and artistic experience to develop my own courses. It was (and still is) my goal to blend traditional and academic instruction with more flexible and choice-based approach through studying art history and art appreciation.
I have continued working with my own art in the areas of painting, drawing, illustrating, needle felting, and creating mixed media sculptures. I completed a 2-year program in Illustration and Graphic Design at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 2015. For the last 3 years, aside from my teaching, I’ve been working as a graphic designer and illustrator for the Wheel journal (www.wheeljournal.com).
I love to be involved in local art activities and community public art events. In 2014 and 2015 I participated in ChairFUL Where You Sit, an outdoor installation and a fundraiser for Arlington Public Art in Arlington (my artwork was a winner of “Peoples’ Choice award” of 2014); and in 2016 and 2017 in Art Walk show in Lexington, MA.
Recently I became very much interested in botanical drawing. After making a series of attempts to do it myself, I realized that I need to get more formal instruction, so I took a series of courses in Botany, Botanical Illustration and Natural History Illustration, which unveiled a whole world before me. The acquired skills in drawing and painting botanicals, along with the knowledge of theory and history of botanical illustration helped me to create my own artworks, and also to develop new courses. I am also a member of American Society of Botanical Artists.
However interesting the word of plants might be, I still tend to prefer figurative drawings and illustrations. I’ve always loved creating objects that have a human look, and even as a child I saw anthropomorphic features in every pattern, object, or landscape. My favorite childhood pastime, which could take entire days, was sculpting human and animal figurines using colored clay. But as an adult, surprisingly, I turned out to enjoy communicating with real people more than with my fictitious characters. That’s probably why, having an education and a working background as a graphic designer, I preferred to be an educator, and never regretted that. I found out that teaching can be one of the most complicated and most effective ways to make friends and to learn new things.
While my native language is Russian, I teach both in English and in Russian. I can understand and speak French, and have taught French-speaking students. Teaching bilingual students of different backgrounds is my everyday experience.
You can see the full description of my professional background here .