Daniela Naomi Molnar is an artist, poet, and writer collaborating with the mediums of language, image, paint, pigment, and place.
Image: LA Times / Genaro Molina
Daniela is also a wilderness guide, educator, and eternal student. Her art is about transmuting grief to wonder in order to help shape and nurture generative new questions, feelings, and ethics about what it means to be human at a time of socioecological crisis.
Climate justice, climate grief, and intergenerational trauma are topics she’s focused on in recent years. These intractable issues tend to break hearts closed — her work aims to pry those breaks open so that we can ask better questions of ourselves and our world.
Her work is the subject of a front-page feature in the Los Angeles Times, an Oregon Art Beat profile, and an entry in the Oregon Encyclopedia, which states, “Molnar pioneered the notion that art can speak to climate change.”
Her book CHORUS was selected by Kazim Ali as the winner of Omnidawn’s 1st /2nd Book Prize. Her poetry and an essay were recently featured in Poetry Daily. Her poetry will be published in The Glacier is a Being, alongside photography by Julian Stettler, in 2024. Her next solo book, Light / Remains, is a hybrid work of poetry, essay, and visual art and will be published by Bored Wolves in 2025.
Her visual work has been shown nationally, is in public and private collections internationally, and has been recognized by numerous grants, fellowships, and residencies. Selected grants include support from the Oregon Arts Commission, the Ford Family Foundation, the Regional Art and Culture Council, and Stelo. She’s received fellowships from the Western States Center, LABA (A Laboratory for Jewish Culture), and FestivALT (an organization supporting Jewish culture in Krakow, Poland). A few of the supported residencies she’s attended include Ucross, Caldera, Sitka Center, PLAYA, and The Arctic Circle.
Trained in both science and art, she was an Art Director at Scientific American Magazine and founded the Art + Ecology program at the Pacific Northwest College of Art in 2016, where she was an Associate Professor for many years. She now teaches poetry, creative writing, pigment-work, and watercolor independently and with Literary Arts, Sitka Center, Playa, Wild Pigment Project, Oregon Humanities, and elsewhere.
In 2008, she helped found Signal Fire, an organization that provides opportunities for artists to learn about social and environmental issues by engaging with public wildlands. She was a founding member of Signal Fire's Board of Directors and a backcountry educator and guide with the organization for many years.
She maintains a studio in Portland, Oregon but her work often occurs outdoors, in collaboration with global public lands and wildlands. A 3G Jew and the daughter of immigrants, she is a diasporic student of the earth.