Dena Novak

Dena Novak

Dena Novak has Autism and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. She is based in Los Angeles, CA. She was born and raised in Chicago, where she studied painting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago before transferring to Colorado College to complete her undergraduate studies in fine art. While working on Master of Arts in Teaching with an emphasis on Art Education at Tufts/Museum School, she experimented with ceramics alongside her continued painting practice. Since 2003, she has been an art teacher working with all types of students. She uses her art to investigate the concepts of hope and fear through her experience of EDS. Each day holds a unique uncertainty, as the mobility of her body can be variably and unpredictably compromised by her chronic EDS. Her physical condition and its accompanying emotional responses could be detrimental to her art making. Instead, she lets it guide her, allowing her body’s ability at the moment to determine the outcome of her work. She view her paintings as landscapes of my internal nature, made up of gestural marks and sculpted forms that suggest a jumble of viscera; bones, organs, tendons, and muscles are rendered in dense oil paint with countless layers. Her goal is to go back to school to get her MFA and become a professor in painting. She wants to be a role model as an autistic woman and as an autistic painter. She wants to open up conversations about neurodiversity in art and open pathways for neurodiverse artists. Instagram Link