Rebe Banasiak, Artist

Welcome to my site . I am Rebecca (Rebe for short) and am a Chicago native working as an artist for the past 20 years.  I received a Chemistry degree back in 1997 and a Fine Arts Studio degree in 2001 focusing on Visual Communications and Painting/Drawing.

While studying at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, I interned at the Field Museum of Natural History and was introduced to the many specimens within the mammals collection.  This internship fostered my love of nature and nurtured my interest in science to combine it within my art.

I was hired as a Research Assistant for the Mammals Collections Manager and created different learning resources for scientists and students to use including field guides, posters, guide books and calendars.  I also photographed and illustrated many mammals specimens for a dichotomous key called the Mammals of Tanzania and different peer reviewed publications for many of the researchers in the Mammals Collection.  I am now the Chief Mammals Preparator and manage the Mammals Collection Prep Lab where I prepare a vast majority of the mammals that are donated to the museum from local wildlife centers, zoos, and county/state agencies.  Preparing the specimens, I am actually using my sculpting skills to recreate the faces when stuffing a study skin (a non-mounted cigar-shaped stuffed skin for research purposes only) and my illustration skills with ink and line work to do the technical writing or osteoscribing bones with their catalogue numbers (a unique identification number given to each specimen).

My work at the Field has influenced my artwork in many ways and it is seen throughout my sketchbooks, illustrations and portraits.  I continue to use both the mounts on exhibit in the halls of the museum, as well as, the specimens within the main collection as reference for my work.  I continue to grow my interest in combining science and art by photographing what is around me in nature from the animals at the zoo to a walk in one of the forest preserves and using them to further extend my references for creating artwork.

When I am not in my home studio sketching or illustrating, I enjoy reading, board games (before the pandemic), (re)learning to sew, experimenting in the kitchen (chemistry degree at work here), and cuddling with the cutest fur-babies, Stephanie and George.

Enjoy exploring my website, blog, portfolio and store.

 “i draw the exhibit, i become the exhibit”

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