“I have always enjoyed stories about the lives people live – those so fanciful they become movies, myths/legends and those based on the simple behaviors that make us human.”
Andrea Simons-Novak is a storyteller who works in oil, acrylic, watercolor and bias-relief assemblage mediums. Her work reflects a dramatic “still” in time used by Baroque artists and the combination of classical and contemporary objects and symbols of the Surrealists. The Michigan native enjoys exploring the correlation between human and animal behaviors and expressions observed in nature by staging animals, primarily birds, as characters in her paintings. These figures communicate as the human figure would but in a much more elegant, intriguing, and less obvious manner.
Novak has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Michigan with a concentration in oil and watercolor painting (1995). She studied a semester abroad in Florence, Italy where she was immersed in plein-air landscape watercolor painting and art history. She also holds a Master of Art degree from Eastern Michigan University with a focus in Painting (2003). She has exhibited as a visiting artist at various galleries in Michigan including the Washington Street Gallery in Ann Arbor, the Lawrence Street Gallery in Ferndale, the Ford Gallery in Ypsilanti, and the Main Branch Gallery in Grayling.
Novak has practiced as a K-12 visual art educator for 22 years. For the last 19 years, she has been with the Walled Lake Consolidated School District where she has taught art to kindergarten to fifth grade students. In addition to delivering visual art instruction, Novak has developed visual art curriculums (for both the Walled Lake and South Lyon School Districts), units of study, and assessments. She also holds a district representative position on the Oakland County Fine Arts Advisory Council; has coordinated and taught the Walled Lake Visual Art Camp; been the K-12 Student Art Exhibition Coordinator; and has frequently presented at the Michigan Art Education Association annual conferences. She obtained her teaching certification from Saginaw Valley State University (1998). Novak has received Newsweek’s-WDIV Outstanding Teacher Award (2000) and Mary Helen Guest Elementary Teacher of the Year (2007-2008).