Artist Statement



I am on a quest to communicate through abstract paintings. I am fascinated by what this medium can do and where it takes me. I aim to create alluring paintings that are approachable and that bring joy to both me and the others who view them. My goal is to create works people view and feel a sense of balance, delight, and thrill. I want people to invite my work into their spaces, whether their home or for public view in the community through murals, and cherish how my art lights up its surroundings.

My process is surprise-based and exploratory and often ordered in surprise, restructure, explore, and resolve–then repeat as needed. I use organic shapes and linework to take the viewer on an unexpected path of meditation. My inspirations and subject matter reveals itself to me throughout the day and I enjoy making direct responses to my earlier works as they continue to intrigue and guide me.

My recent work has focused on how my paintings can be experienced in non-traditional ways to reach a broader audience. I have explored sharing through video, sound, augmented reality, and public surfaces to communicate my artistic voice, process, and work. These additional outlets, other than on a canvas in a gallery setting, have provided me an opportunity to become a gateway artist for many first-time art buyers that feel a connection to my art and want to invite abstract art into their lives, which I find deeply special and rewarding.

About Dena

Dena Nord blends together design thinking with an organic process to create vivid abstract paintings. Her artwork brings statements to walls by offering visual playgrounds for the eye.

She was born and raised outside of Chicago, IL. She received her BFA from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee in 2009, where she focused on both design and painting. Dena currently works as an artist and educator while living in Milwaukee, WI. She is also a founding partner at Odvant Creative, a small design studio. Her work has been exhibited at the augmented world expo in Santa Clara California, the Milwaukee Art Museum, Rochester Museum of Fine Arts, Gallerie M and Redline Gallery in Milwaukee, and other galleries throughout her career. In 2017, she was a founding member of Spectacle Art Group, a group of artists focusing on art vs tech. See her personal photography series, called The Feet Project.

Dena has donated works of art to the following organizations for charity:
WMSE, Salvation Army of Wisconsin, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Islands of Brilliance, America Scores Milwaukee


2007 • Summer Abroad in Tuscany, University of Georgia
2009 • BFA, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee


5/15–Present • Odvant Creative, Partner and Founder
3/12–5/15 • Milwaukee Art Museum, Designer
3/12–5/15 • Splash Studio, Lead Artist & Designer
3/11–3/12 • The Kohler Company, Designer


11/08–1/09 • Milwaukee Jewish Day School
3/12–5/15 • Splash Studio
2/14 • Garden Homes Lutheran High School
11/14–Present • Cedarburg Cultural Center
1/16 • Carmen High School Winter Session
1/17–5/17 • Bay View High School


2014 • Finalist for Artist in Residence, The Pfister Hotel
5/15 • Artist in Residence, Cedarburg Cultural Center
2016–2017 • Bay View High School Artist in Resident, Milwaukee WI


6/12 • Common Pitch Milwaukee
2012 • Eisner Museum, New Years Eve, Newaukee New Years Eve Bash
2013 & 2014 • Milwaukee Art Museum, Newaukee New Years Eve Bash
2014 & 2015 • Urban Island Beach Party
04/16 • Milwukee Art Museum, Bal Du Lac
2017 • Salvation Army of Wisconsin Red Kettle Gala
2/18 • Milwaukee Art Museum, Artnonomous
2015 & 2016 & 2018 • Arte Para Todos
08/18 • Washington Park Wednesdays
2017 & 2018 • Colors and Chords at Turner Hall Ballroom


8/13  •  Little Free Public Library
2014–2016 •  Artist Working in Education, Lead Summer Artist
2015  •  Milwaukee Maker Faire Bottle Cap Portrait Creation
2017  •  Bay View Flow Mural on Kinnickinnic Ave


11/12  •  League of Milwaukee Artists Featured Speaker
09/17  •  Future of Immersive Leisure Conference, Las Vegas
4/18 • Woman in Design, Now I Know Pecha Kucha
11/18 • Newaukee Speaker Crawl
5/18 • AIGA-WI Alternate Realities
3/18 & 3/19 • Women’s Entrepreneurship Week


6/12  •  The Hide House
7/12  •  Splash Studio
4/13  •  Gallerie M
7/13  •  Timothy J. Showcase
9/15   •  Tonic Tavern Bay View
7/17  •  Gallerie M
1/17  •  Revel Gallery
6/17  •  The Muse Gallery Guesthouse
11/17  •  Frontroom Photography, Bay View Gallery Night
6/18  •  Sabrosa Café and Gallery


2/14  •  Cedarburg Cultural Center, You Gotta Have Art Gala
5/14  •  Augmented World Expo: AR Art Gala
8/14  •  Splash Studio, Complex Croma
4/15  •  Arts At Large, 43 Voices
5/15  •  Rochester Museum of Art, 2015 Biennial
6/18  •  Redline Gallery, Modern Landscape 


5/11  •  Art Milwaukee Jamboree
9/11 & 11/12  •  Made in Milwaukee
4/12–6/12  •  The Waxwing
6/14  •  Underground Collaborative
6/14–6/15  •  Revive Gallery
10/14  •  Italian Community Center
7/14  •  The Bradley Center, The Mecca Floor Project
5/15–9/15  •  The Muse Gallery Guest House
9/17  •  Redline Gallery, Culture Jam Group Show
2/18  •  Milwaukee Art Museum, Artnonomous Inaugural Show


Since 7/11  •  American Institute of Graphic Artists, Member
3/11  •  Art Mail Milwaukee, Featured Artist
1/12  •  Art House Reveal Art Contest, 1st Place
6/11 & 10/13  •  Art Milwaukee, Piece of the Week
3/13  •  Creative Arts Council, Founding Member
6/13  •  Innovation in Milwaukee Arts Competition, 1st Place
2013–2014  •  League of Milwaukee Artists, Member
2015  •  Design Like Mad, Participant
2017  •  Founding Member of Spectacle Art Group
2013–2017  •  The Dena Nord App
4/18 • Woman in Art 278 Magazine, Featured Artists
2018 • Milwaukee Teacher Education Center, Board Member