Daniela Naomi Molnar works in a range of forms including painting, art direction, design, site-specific intervention, a collaborative poetry/visual art project, writing, activism, and teaching. She grew up in the New York City area, a daughter of immigrants, and now lives in Portland, Oregon.
Daniela is the founding Program Director of the Art + Ecology program and a full-time Associate Professor at the Pacific Northwest College of Art, where she has been teaching undergraduate and graduate students about painting, drawing, environmental issues, visual culture, critical theory, and pedagogy since 2007. She also teaches at the Sitka Center for Art + Ecology.
She is a founding member of the Board of Directors, a backcountry guide, and an all-around integral part of Signal Fire, an organization increasing the cultural value of the natural world by providing opportunities for artists to engage with public wild lands. She is Art Editor for The Bear Deluxe Magazine, a publication devoted to exploring environmental issues through the arts, and Founding Co-Editor of Leaf Litter, Signal Fire’s art and literary journal.
Her work has been shown in various locations in Oregon, at the Henry Gallery in Seattle, and in New York City and has been recognized by grants from the Ford Family Foundation, the Regional Arts and Culture Council, and the Pacific Northwest College of Art. She was nominated as a finalist for the Creative Climate Awards in 2018. She has been awarded residencies at Caldera, Sitka Center, North Street Collective, Elsewhere Studios, and Leland Iron Works. She is an MFA candidate in Poetry at Warren Wilson College and her writing has appeared in Tripwire: A Journal of Poetics, Discursive Impulse, Archivaria, and Submit.
Daniela Naomi Molnar’s work operates at the intersection of art, nature, and culture and is informed by a deep ecological worldview. Her work asks questions — big, important, difficult questions: How do we find our place on a damaged planet? How do we visualize the embodied experience of living on a damaged planet, while often damaging it further in our living? How can art help us understand who we are and where we are? How can art have ecological, spiritual, political, and social agency? How can art undo some of the damage?
On a conceptual level, Daniela’s work engages with these intractable, intersectional questions provoked by the (Mis)Anthropocene. It is inspired by political ecology, sensory experience, science, traditional cultural/spiritual knowledge, and contemporary theorists. On a formal level, her paintings’ intense engagement with color provokes sensory awareness, involving viewers directly in their bodily experience of time and place. Her site-specific and collaborative work invites communities to think critically about the value of public space. Her poetry and her analytic study of others’ poetry focuses on ecopoetry, examining and celebrating all the ways that language can respond to the questions above.
Daniela believes that artistic practice should be a model for the world that we want to see. In this spirit, her work is collaborative, non-competitive, and exploratory. Art direction, editing, site-specific projects, developing and leading backcountry residencies with Signal Fire, founding and teaching in PNCA’s Art + Ecology program, and various other forms of activism are all ways that she builds and learns from an ecological system. She understands an ecological system as a community: the vast web of relationships that one is enmeshed in; all the things that give life, that we relate to and depend on.
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Some clients I’ve worked with
Scientific American magazine, sciam.com, Scientific American MIND magazine, McGraw-Hill Companies, W.H. Freeman and Company, Electronic Publishing Services, Inc., American Society for the Technion, Floreant Press, Park Sports Physical Therapy, Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History, Educational Development Center, Inc., University of California at Santa Cruz, The Berry Botanic Garden, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Pacific Northwest College of Art, Outstanding in the Field, Rose Live Music, Wine Label Design, Inc., Kitchenbar NYC, Jim Denevan, Art & Spirit Yoga Vacations, Mali Mrozinski, Kazia Jankowski, Edison Woods, Deer Stop Yoga Studio, The Bear Deluxe Magazine, Bitch Magazine, Orlo, Slow Food USA, Democratic Party of Oregon, Vinartculture, Signal Fire, Brooklyn Kitchen, Ruth Tobias, Natasha Gardner, Big World/Small Kitchen, Bark, The University of Nevada.