Fourteen months ago, Masha Pasichnyk flew from her native Ukraine to the United States on a one-way ticket.
“I didn’t have money for the ticket back,” said the young artist who Thursday evening sat next to Stirling Moss in the Penkse Motorsports Museum in Scottsdale, Arizona, where they signed prints of her portrait of Moss and his historic No. 722 Mercedes-Benz 300SLR in the 1955 Mille Miglia.
Besides, she added, her homeland was embroiled in what she termed “a revolution” and she wasn’t sure she really wanted to go back.
Pasichnyk, now 24, spent six years studying fine art and stage design in Kiev, but in the United States, she is making a name for herself as an automotive artist.
“I loved to paint food,” she said of her painting back in Kiev, explaining that much of her professional production had been images of food on very large canvases for Ukrainian art galleries. One of her goals in the United States was to pursue a career in stage and set design for Hollywood movies or Broadway plays.
In fact, she said, she had only painted an image of a single automobile until she arrived in Arizona, where some new friends introduced her to Steve Austin, a motorsports art dealer who also organizes auto tours to events such as the Goodwood Revival, Targa Florio and Monaco historic races.
“I really didn’t expect a lot,” Austin said. But he was impressed enough with the paintings she had that he gave her a photograph of Dan Gurney racing in Italy and asked if she might do a painting based on that work.
Oh, and he said that if she could finish that painting and perhaps a couple of others, he’d put them into his booth at the upcoming Barrett-Jackson auction and automotive lifestyle exhibition.
Since then, Masha (she signs her work with her first name) has focused on motorsports themes.
“You see the sort of work she does, fantastic,” Moss said at an event that served as Pasichnyk’s official “welcome” to America, with Austin noting that while she arrived with only a visitor’s visa, she has become a legal resident of the United States.
“It is such an honor to meet you after painting you for all those days,” Masha responded to Moss’ words.
“I am just a lucky girl,” she said.
And she’s not the only one fortunate. Her painting “Fast Friends” of Moss and Norman Dewis in a Jaguar C-type at the start of the 1952 Mille Miglia will be auctioned at the Arizona Concours, where art prints of the image also will be sold to benefit Make-A-Wish Arizona. Moss, Dewis and the artists will be at the concours to sign those prints.