Stanislav Szukalski was born in Warta, Poland on December 13, 1893. When he was only six years old, a teacher sent him to the headmaster's office for whittling a pencil. The headmaster examined the pencil more closely and discovered that young Stanislav had carved a tiny, near-perfect figure. Instead of punishing him, he called the local newspaper which did a feature on the art prodigy.
Szukalski came to the United States and lived in Chicago when he was in his teens. He became a member of the Chicago renaissance luminaries along with Ben Hecht, Carl Sandburg and Clarence Darrow. Two large monographs were published during those years, The Work of Szukalski (Covici-McGee, 1923) and Projects in Design (University of Chicago Press, 1929).