Anna Cyan in the studio. A small universe with a big painting in the middle.

How did you get started and develop your career?
Anna Cyan: I was born in Soviet Ukraine. My journey started at a kids’ art school during the time when many artists painted grand narrative pictures of Lenin and the revolution. I was fortunate, though. I also studied privately with non-conformist artists, who taught me that freedom begins inside you. Inner freedom is a major theme in my work now.
Since then, I’ve traveled far – to 21st century Toronto, Los Angeles and New York. I was committed to building realist painting skills and spent many years pursuing that. Now, I use these traditional tools, but my job is to tell the story of the here and now.

What is the most interesting thing you have painted/sculpted and why?
Anna Cyan: I am working on a series that has surprised even me, because it took a certain level of courage. The works are large-scale post-mortem portraits – dead people portrayed as such. It sounds scary, and the boldness is not only in going there myself, but in believing that viewers will be willing to go there with me. Ultimately, though, the story is about hope, that when we go, something lives on.

To see more of Anna’s work, visit:

oil painting of a nude woman in a pose, leaning over to the left
Anna Cyan, “Smoke,” oil on canvas, 32 x 48 in., 2022
oil painting of a close up of a nude figure, the woman is leaning down-stretching arms out
Anna Cyan, “Tide,” oil on panel, 16 x 20 in., 2022


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