Maria DeSimone Prascak
Born and raised in the Arlington area of Pittsburgh by a creative family, Maria’s passion for art was sparked the first time she held a crayon at age 2. Encouraged by her parents to work hard and follow her dreams, Maria opened her business at the age of 19 perched at the top of 18th Street where The Mt. Oliver business district begins.
Maria started making custom hand drawn greetings cards, signs, illustration work, air brushed t-shirts & rhinestone jackets. After 13 years she had to make the difficult decision to close due to an injury to her hand.
Unsure of what to do next, she had faith she would figure it out. Maria rested her hand, continued to take on small projects that her injured hand would allow, and after a couple months decided to take up painting.
Prascak learned how to paint on a much larger scale, picked up her brushes and never looked back. She has been designing and painting murals full time for the past 23 years and grateful to be celebrating 36 years in business in 2018.
As a self taught artist, Maria has learned mostly through experience, making mistakes along the way, but continue to learn and grow as an artist and business owner. Her art takes her into many incredible homes and businesses, giving her the opportunity to work with fascinating people. Maria has been featured in designer show houses, local television shows, newspapers and national magazines. She works with clients, designers, architects and builders, bringing their ideas to life. Transforming a home or office with a mural and decorative painting gives the artistic energy a chance to soar!
Maria accepts commissions for CUSTOM Fine ART using various mediums, including acrylics, watercolors, gouache, mixed media and repurposed items. She has also restored statues for churches, home décor items, art and murals. Her art is sold online, local art shows and the gift shops at the National Aviary.
Inspired by the world around her and her affection for wildlife and nature, Maria’s art has been described as colorful, whimsical and enchanting. She hopes it inspires others to look around, to discover the beauty in nature in their world.
Making time to volunteer at The Little Sisters of the Poor-Pittsburgh is rewarding. She teaches an acrylic painting class, the average age of her students is 80 years old, many have never painted, they all learn and create beautiful art!
Her intention for being involved with the The Bakery Society of Pittsburgh is to help through selling art, a portion of the proceeds going to TBSP, and to curate future exhibits for fellow artists, experienced and emerging, to help them sell, and show their art to the world.
Maria exclaims, “It is important to encourage others, to create, paint, draw, make things with their hands, it is GOOD FOR THE SOUL!”
Some notable public places where you can see Maria’s incredible murals and art:
- Sarris Candies in Canonsburg, PA -over 400 feet of murals, 3 ceiling domes, colorful animals, chocolate pretzel people.
- The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium – Jambo Grille , Siamang Exhibit, Carousel mural, Kid’s Kingdom, Big chair and signs in the Islands exhibit
- Gift shops at the National Aviary
- Dormont Library
- First Watch Cafes
- Slater’s Funeral Home
- Beinhauer’s Funeral Homes
- Duquesne University
- The Yards at 3 Crossing Strip District
- Pediatric Alliance offices
- Aviva Brick Oven
- Lucca Ristorante
- Coda on Centre
- Pittsburgh Airport
- The Bakery Society of Pittsburgh