The Miami Herald - Sunday, January 18, 1998
Artist operates on a grand scale
By Lisette Garcia
Artist Anastasia the Great uses the finest resources from 15th Century artistic tradition by which she attempts to render her subjects immortal. Her collection of sculptures and portraits is prolific, but gallery mavens won't see her work unless they stop by her private showroom in Portofino Tower. Her work, which also hangs in the homes of Sylvester Stallone and Jordan's King Hussein, can withstand the venue. Sealed in wax like a mummy, the paintings are preserved by a method that can endure centuries.
Anastasia sells only commissioned works and does not believe art belongs in cloister.
"Artists here, are very quiet, they don't smile & don't speak," Anastasia said. "1 wear a gold dress. I dance the tango."
Though Anastasia, in Miami only a month, likes to have fun, she rarely stops working. "Leonardo Da Vinci is my star," Anastasia said, pointing at the night sky. If Da Vinci seems a high aim, it is not out of line with her training at the Russian Orthodox monastery where she was raised with her father until she was 15. Besides learning self-discipline through daily chores such as feeding horses; Anastasia gained a heavy liberal arts education. It was there that she mastered art.
At 5, she began helping her uncle -- a priest like her father who was restoring church relics.
After art school in Rome, Anastasia dabbled in five years of photography and modeling. A subsequent string of commissions brought her to Miami.
"Madonna di Stallone" was the work Sylvester Stallone commissioned of his wife and child. Anastasia applied to the portrait, not only her trade secrets, but genuine gems like diamonds and emeralds as well. The painting, like the one she did for King Hussein's 61st birthday, is inlaid with real diamonds. rubies and 24-karat gold.
Anastasia said she loves Miami and wants to give some-thing back -- something grand. 'Glory of Miami' is her plan for a monument -- larger that the Statue of Liberty to help "Miami traverse the new century". The monument will be constructed of steel, marble and bronze.
With city approval, she hopes to be sculpting it in Bayfront Park by March, with materials paid for by sponsors.
The steps would be he topped by muscled, bronze bodies pushing up a torch-bearing siren, symbolic of Miami. The design also includes an easier way up by interior elevator. Tourists would come up under the clingy sarong to a panoramic balcony.