Nancy Doniger


My work centers on a regular practice of automatic, or stream of consciousness drawings. I start with a shape or character, and draw a response to it. Sometimes that response is narrative, sometimes compositional. I try to draw faster than I can think. Then I repeat the process, gradually adding shapes, color and story. When an image resonates, I work with it in painting or printmaking in a similar process. I particularly enjoy working in monotype, because in that medium I can add, subtract and layer, working intuitively and spontaneously. I like to leave questions unanswered, the possibility of double meaning resonates with my experience of living. I also try to leave room for whimsy, which seems to temper emotions and remind the characters (and me) to breathe and to be open to the existence of joy.


I grew up in New Jersey. My first memories are of drawing on the chalkboard walls of my bedroom, as high as I could reach. Those walls were a great gift, even if the chalk dust was everywhere, and my friends’ parents had to remind them that NOT to try that at home. After college, I crossed the river to study at the NY Studio School, where I learned, among other things, to see. I spent many years working as an illustrator, mostly for the NY Times. I enjoyed tight deadlines, translating topics, from terrorism to AIDS, into pictures, and all of that becoming money for rent! And now, having crossed another river to land in Brooklyn, where I raised two sons and one dog, I have a studio where I can deepen and expand my creative practice, and tell my own stories in pictures.