Born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Stephanie always had a fascination with both art and Chinese culture. She developed her art skills under various teachers, but reached her full potential under Xin Yu Zheng, a well-known artist from Dalian, China. At 8 years old, she began realistic pencil sketches and watercolour paintings. When she was 10 years old, Master Zheng realized her potential and suggested that she try traditional Chinese painting. From then on, her passion for the detailed Chinese painting style (gong bi hua) was ignited. This art style requires outlining in black ink on rice paper, defining shadows with diluted black ink, then creating depth and colour with endless layers of paint. Due to the extensive layering, it often takes months to years to complete each painting.
Stephanie’s earlier works focused on flowers, fruits, insects, birds and tigers. As her skills developed further, she began to draw portraits depicting women in flowing Han and Tang dynasty robes, as well as modern clothing. Stephanie has also experimented with the abstract style of Chinese painting (xie yi hua), which is more spontaneous and can be completed in one sitting.
In her spare time, Stephanie enjoys trying out other art forms such as photography, pottery and jewelry making. Ultimately, she still loves Chinese painting the most, since it allows her to combine her passions of art and Chinese culture. Stephanie is an optometry graduate from the University of Waterloo and is fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese, and English.
As a Canadian born Chinese individual, I have always been fascinated with Chinese art, culture, and language; I saw it as a bridge to my family roots. Hence, I have learned Mandarin, Cantonese and traditional Chinese painting since I was a child.
When I first visited a NoMiNoU store, I felt an instant connection with the brand, due to our shared passions of art, multiculturalism, and environmental protection. So, when I participated in the 2018 Miss Alberta Pageant, I reached out to NoMiNoU to request a sponsorship for my athletic wear. NoMiNoU generously agreed to sponsor my athletic outfit for the pageant, and even offered me the opportunity to put my Chinese paintings on their leggings! The founder of NoMiNoU, Jullianna, and her friend also purchased VIP tickets to the pageant show to support me.
Through the time we spent together, I learned that Jullianna is not only generous, but also values ethical business practices. Her products are created with environmentally friendly textiles, and she obtains the artwork ethically from artists around the world. All artists are generously compensated for their artwork, so each piece you buy from NoMiNoU supports the livelihood of an artist. Likewise, I will be receiving royalties for each piece purchased from my collection.
I am so excited to have the opportunity to share my cultural heritage through my artwork on NoMiNoU pieces. I hope more people will learn about traditional Chinese painting and that it would spark an interest in Chinese culture. Ultimately, I hope it would bring all people together through multiculturalism and mutual understanding.
It is a great honour and joy to collaborate with NoMiNoU and I am very excited to see my paintings come to life on their products!
– Stephanie Mak