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Unveiling Artistic Journeys: A Conversation with Danica Novgorodoff

A profile picture of artist Danica Novgorodoff


Boasting more than two decades of expertise in the realm of art, Danica Novgorodoff stands out as an acclaimed artist, writer, and graphic novelist, renowned for her enthralling graphic novels and captivating children's books. Her impressive accolades encompass the esteemed 2015 New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship, along with the prestigious 2022 Yoto Kate Greenaway Medal. Among her notable creations are graphic novels, including Long Way Down, The Undertaking of Lily Chen, and Refresh Refresh, as well as children's books like Alexander von Humboldt: Explorer, Naturalist & Environmental Pioneer and Not a Cat.


Exploring an Artist's Routine: Harnessing Meditation for Creativity


Amidst the summer break, Danica's work-from-home ritual begins with a 15-minute meditation—a practice she's embraced for two decades to navigate work-induced stress. This serene routine empowers her, an artist, to embody the present moment with unwavering focus and mindfulness.


"Through meditation, I'm able to breathe, observe the birds around me, and connect with my body's sensations."


A Journey of Art and Storytelling


In the realm of creativity, unanticipated journeys unveil extraordinary horizons. Danica's voyage commenced in her youth, nurturing a passion for storytelling. In college, she encountered like-minded comic enthusiasts, igniting the fusion of visual and narrative arts.


For the past two years, she's embraced book-making, from children's stories to collaborative cookbooks with renowned chefs. Her diverse projects mirror her multifaceted creative passions, illuminating boundless possibilities.

Alexander von Humbodt-- a book of Danica
Danica riding a horse

BenQ: You have worked as a Horse Wrangler before. Does that experience help you with your artwork?


Danica: Indeed, I have various interests, horses being one of them. My upbringing in Kentucky nurtured my connection to horse riding, a bond that continued through college and beyond. Interestingly, my initial book, created during my travels and never published, revolved around horses, mountains, volcanoes, and cowboys.


BenQ: What is your favorite work among all your works? Could you tell us the reason?


Danica: That's actually a challenging question. Right now, one piece I'm exceptionally proud of is the children's book I created last year, titled "Alexander Von Humboldt: Explorer, Naturalist, and Environmental Pioneer." …Often, I collaborate with other writers and provide illustrations, but this book was entirely my own creation. Being my first picture book for younger kids, it holds a special place in my heart.


From Creation to Dialogue


Discussing the enjoyable aspects of being an artist, Danica highlights the fulfilling and exhilarating creation process, alongside the rewarding dialogue with readers and fellow creators. Despite challenges, setbacks, and frustrations, she sees this multifaceted journey as invigorating, making her feel truly alive.


According to Danica, an exceptional artist extracts profundity from reality and life, posing thought-provoking questions rather than offering definitive answers. Their art challenges perceptions of the world, our relationships with others, and our connection to images and objects.


"In my opinion, a truly exceptional artist possesses the ability to draw meaning from images and objects."

The home studio of Danica

Illuminating Creativity: The Uncompromising Role of Adequate Lighting for an Artist


Danica's flexibility in work settings is unwavering, yet lighting remains her non-negotiable. “I've struggled with lighting issues in my studio for a long time, but the BenQ e-Reading Desk Lamp has proven to be a valuable solution,” said Danica.


Amidst this, an unexpected cataract in her left eye surfaced, challenging her reading and inducing dryness, possibly linked to eye surgery, prolonged screen exposure, or reading sessions. To alleviate discomfort, Danica relies on the BenQ e-Reading Desk Lamp, enabling seamless transitions between sitting and standing while infusing her workspace with soothing light.


BenQ: How long have you been using BenQ’s e-Reading desk lamp now? What do you think about it?


Danica: I have been using it for about a month so far. I really appreciate its versatility in positioning, which matters a lot to me. Getting the right angle of lighting is crucial because I can't have the light casting shadows on my paper. Plus, since I frequently switch between sitting and standing, the lamp's easy adjustability in height and position is a standout feature, and it's probably my favorite aspect. Last but not least, the adjustable brightness and color temperature are great because my workspace lighting varies due to changing daylight conditions.


The Journey Continues: Danica's Tale of Dedication and Devotion

Danica at work

Danica is now steadfast in her goal to finalize her climate change novel, a labor of both time and dedication, slated for completion within a year. Simultaneously, she's nurturing young minds with more picture books while delving into the intricate realm of mother artists. Her forthcoming book dissects the interplay between artistic pursuits and maternal responsibilities, aiming to harmonize these roles.


This multi-year endeavor stands as her resolute commitment, driven by the timeless words of Mary Oliver: "Attention is the beginning of devotion." Amidst her tasks, Danica's path continues, a testament to unwavering dedication.

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