Ilya Chashnik was one of the foremost disciples of Kazimir Malevich. He was born into a humble Jewish family in Latvia and spent his childhood in Vitebsk, where he was introduced to painting by a local artist. Chashnik moved to Moscow in 1919 to further his artistic training at Vkhutemas in Moscow, but his attraction for the work of Marc Chagall spurred him to return to Vitebsk. He accompanied Kazimir Malevich and a group of other students to Petrograd (1922) and designed at the Lomonossov State Porcelain Factory (1922–24). He worked under Kazimir Malevich at the formal and theoretical department in the Institute of Artistic Culture (1923–26), with Konstantin Rozhdestvensky at the department of the experimental study of the poster at the Decorative Institute (1925–26) and at the Institute of the History of the Arts (1926–27). During this period Chashnik concentrated on exploring the possible applications of Suprematism in daily life: he designed textiles, posters and buildings.