Ulana Zahajkewycz is an illustrator who teaches in the Illustration department at Moore. She is also a co-owner of an antique mall called Carnival of Collectibles, in Sickerlville, NJ, which is home to the largest collection of velvet paintings on the East Coast! Read on to learn more about Ulana.
What’s your earliest memory of being creative or knowing that you wanted to do something creative with your life?
I was in kindergarden and was tasked to illustrate our ﬁeld trip to the zoo. Spoiler alert: I actually didn’t get to go the zoo for our class trip because I had a fever the day of the event. So, I used my imagination to create the animals and my teacher was impressed! I used that positive feedback as fuel and never stopped drawing and making art.
Who is the artist or designer who has inﬂuenced you most and why?
My college professor Dan Yaccarino was a huge inﬂuence on my work, as well as other illustrators at that time like Gary Baseman, Henrik Drescher and Lane Smith. I loved their art because it was free from convention and it was so expressive! The colors, the line work, the creative subject matter—it was wild and feral—but in the best way possible. They made art accessible. Their unconventional styles gave me permission to dream of my own career as an illustrator.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done recently, professionally or otherwise?
I’m currently working on a children’s book about Halloween and it’s been an absolute joy! Halloween is by far my favorite holiday, so it’s really a treat (and not a trick) to create spooky-themed illustrations.
Also, I am the co-owner of an antique mall in Sicklerville, NJ called Carnival of Collectables, and PHL17 recently approached us to do a segment on our store.
What is it like in your classroom at Moore?
It’s fun, comfortable and honest. I really love to show students what is out there and what they can aspire to, but I want them to use their own voices and skills. I want to support their vision.
If Moore had a mascot, what would it be?
For sure a dragon: Fierce, powerful and, above all, magical.