To Top

Meet Mark Hewko

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mark Hewko.   

Hi Mark, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers?
About 4 years ago, my partner and I packed up a U-haul and drove from New York City cross country to California. We wanted a change in lifestyle and to embrace new opportunities. San Diego felt like the right place, with its perfect weather, access to nature, beaches and beautiful light.

The birth of my daughter is what inspired me to paint murals. And it was here in San Diego, where I created my signature abstract mural style. Visually, it’s a play on the language of geometric shapes, colors, and letterforms. My murals feel like a visual archetype which has energized public and private spaces in California, Arizona and internationally.

My first international mural work was completed at a Sardinian artist residency. I painted a mural on the exterior of a public recreational center (image below). It was an amazing experience to see my work on the entire facade of a whole building. The highlight of the residency was engaging with the local youth and teaching them about painting murals. Afterwards, a mother of one of the children approached me and said her son asked her to buy paint so he can paint his bedroom like the recreational center mural. It was an immensely satisfying moment to know children were inspired to be creative after seeing me paint a mural.

Another rewarding project was completed in the spring. I received media exposure on San Diego’s Channel 7 NBC news. They recorded me painting a mural at Pappalecco Cafe / Oh My Cake Bakery in Hillcrest (image below). It was a commercial interior mural inspired by their well known gelato flavors. The challenge was to integrate my mural into an already branded space. The mural has a fluidity to it and the color palette is fresh and pops.

Working big is my speciality – if you want a fresh custom abstract mural integrated into exterior or interior walls — I’m available for commissioned work and happy to collaborate with architects, interior designers, real estate developers, galleries and museums. My aim is to share my art with the public, collaborate with like-minded artists and continue to contribute to the arts of San Diego and beyond.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It has been a bumpy journey, though, my passion for making art has always carried me through and meditation is a part of my daily routine, it helps me deal with stress. Also it’s been a fun ride, remembering joyful times like Sardinia and the talented friends I’ve made in San Diego, gives me a positive outlook.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
My parents and grandparents are Ukrainian refugee immigrants. They fled the violence of World War 2 and were granted asylum in New York City in the late 1940s.  My sister and I spent every weekend with my grandparents. They exposed us to Ukrainian and New York culture — taking us to art museums, Broadway theatre and indulging us in New York pizza. The home I grew up in was filled with Ukrainian arts and crafts, from elaborate Ukrainian Easter Eggs on display, to traditional weaved rugs hung on the walls with geometric patterns that were wonderful to look at. Ukrainian culture has a rich art history and it’s rooted in geometric and organic forms.

What was you like growing up?

My mother said as a toddler I would sit and draw for hours, making art was always a part of me. I was just a boy when I got involved in graffiti and started painting on walls in elementary school. I remember the thrill and freedom of expression, it was my earliest experience exploring typography and painting on a large scale.

Riding the subways, seeing graffiti and watching break-dancing was part of my daily life as a kid. I remember waiting for the subway at Astor Place with my grandmother, being intrigued by Keith Haring’s chalk art on the station walls and seeing Jean-Michel Basquiat’s spray-painted messages all over Downtown.

Like most New York youth I was running wild, going to live music shows in New York’s vibrant music scene. And went through many music phases — punk rock, hip hop, electronic and jazz.  In my late teens, I spent a month traveling through Europe, visiting architectural monuments, ruins and became a fan of French, German, and Italian art house cinema. I spent the 90s watching as many foreign and independent films as I could digest. All those early experiences and exposure to culture was a kind of self taught arts education before I went to college for the arts.

New York City was an incredibly influential time in my life. However, after moving to San Diego, I’ve created some of my most innovative and rewarding art works to date.

Contact Info:

Image Credits

Guglielmo Cherchi / Studio Vetroblu

Suggest a Story: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Vee

    June 29, 2022 at 5:35 pm

    Beautiful work and such an inspiring story!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in Local Stories