Ilya Chashnik was born in 1902 in Latvia (then the Russian Empire) into a Jewish family. He spends his early years in Vitebsk. In 1919 he moves to Moscow and enrolls at the Higher State Art-Technical-Studios. He leaves school very soon and returns to Vitebsk to study at the Vitebsk People’s Art College – the Fine Arts School founded by Chagall – under Malevich. His meeting with the Suprematist master changes his perception and he becomes an ardent follower of Malevich. In 1919 Malevich and his group found Unovis – the Affirmers of the New Art. Among its members are LIssitzly and Suetin. Chashnik and Suetin become close friends and work together on several projects.
Chashnik’s works of that period carry the Suprematist style in geometric shapes forming crossing planes seeking harmonious symmetry and rhythm. In 1922 he graduates from Vitebsk People’s Art College and joins Malevich and his fellow Unovis members in Petrograd. In 1923 Chashnik participates in the exhibition Painting of Petrograd Artists of All Trends. He experiments with applying the principles of Suprematism to daily life objects and utensils. He designs posters and textiles and works at the Lomonosov Porcelain Factory with his friend Suetin. He also teaches at the Institute of Artistic Culture. Chashnik dies in Leningrad in 1929.