MAGGIE LEMAK is a Chicago-based creative director, curator and fine artist. She paints in her Armitage Avenue studio and works remotely as the Creative Director and Curator for Bond & Grace, a Women-Owned Publishing and Art House. In 2020, Maggie was brought on to lead the artist engagement strategy for Bond & Grace where she curated the founding collective, established diversity criteria, and developed the art programming experience for artists. In addition to directing the artist experience, Maggie has provided creative strategy and direction for three Art Novels. Art Novels, the Bond & Grace signature product, combine a classic novel with over 50 commissioned contemporary fine artworks within a coffee-table art book format. Both the 2023 Frankenstein Art Novel™ and 2022 The Secret Garden Art Novel™ offer modern readers an intellectual art experience tailored for the thoughtful and romantic. 
The Frankenstein Art Novel was awarded an IPPY Award for Outstanding Design in 2024. The core design of this title utilized the design system  invented, designed and implemented by Maggie for Bond & Grace Art Novels in 2022. The creative concept for this title originated from Maggie's desire to create a feminine edition of Frankenstein that (1) exaggerated the poetic language of the Romantic Era (2) amplified Mary Shelley's before-her-time feminist perspectives (3) assisted readers in understanding what was written between the lines through interactive experiences of reflection and (4) engaged fine art and art history as a means to pose questions about today's emerging science: artificial intelligence. 

Prior to creative direction, Maggie worked as a commercial and residential art consultant for Artline Group and Wendover Art Group where she created custom artwork and accessories packages. Clientele included renowned hotel chains, healthcare communities, hospitals, multi-family housing and government buildings. Art consulting was the threshold for Maggie's love of curation, product design, and artist management. 
Maggie has a BFA from the University of Michigan Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design. Her studies included exhibition design, international engagement, and installation design.
Maggie spent several summers dedicated to sustainable innovations in the African nation of Gabon. Her travels have greatly influenced her work and in 2018, Maggie received the Candy R. Wei Prize for "exemplary art influenced by international experience." Maggie continues to be honor the beauty of connection through her curatorial style and commitment to engaging global perspectives.

Maggie enjoys being barefoot, smelling the flowers on neighborhood walks, and hosting elaborate dinner parties. She stretches canvases, writes poetry, and redecorates her home in her free time. 
Portrait photography by Simon Coelho. 

I enjoy inspiring teams to think big and edit "to customer." It is only natural that as an abstract painter I'd feel comfortable leaning into the unknown and gathering a broad array of potential. My ideation comes rooted in serving the immediate goal as well as fostering the potential of the greater mission. 
My background in commercial and residential art consulting, graphic design, and sales ground my creativity and enable me to take our "unknowns" and form them into a linear, strategic, and feasible direction. I've found that any good pitch includes the appropriate next steps and my creative process is no exception.

I lead with design work rooted in storytelling, user experience, customer benefits, and emotional connection. I enjoy the puzzle of assigning elements to the appropriate skillsets. Communicating and engaging with creative partners fuels my campaigns and broadens the opportunity to infuse company-wide values.

I find that embedding feeling and heart into the expression of a company mission is a balance of analytical and spontaneous. All brand touch-points create opportunities for the subliminal transmission of concepts as complex as "respect" or as straightforward as "fresh."
Discerning where and when to employ visual cues creates the collective experience of a brand. I'm at my happiest when directing creative projects and finding ways to infuse hidden messages into a product or campaign. For example: Consider the cultural gender of certain fruits used as props in a photo shoot, the history or implication of a type of flower at an event, or the socio-economic ties to artifacts. Further, how do color relationships effect our feelings on a psychological level or how can the pacing of a video impact illicit emotional response? All of these analyses lead to distilled, better, results-oriented design.

My process of creative direction always involves digging into the "why" in order to optimize the "what." When we tailor and remove the unnecessary, we're able to more clearly capture and amplify the important. Therein lies the space for impact.

In a world of endless webs of creative potential, I flourish when I'm able to sort through the madness in order to discern which directions are most value engineered, brand-serving, and mission driven. Let's tailor creativity to shape intentional, impactful and inspiring works of beauty!