Hana Dvorak ’17

"We decided that once the pandemic started, people were needing more happiness to focus on in their lives. Allowing people to step away from their lives and enjoy some art that makes them smile: that’s important to both our art practices.”

-Hana Dvorak ’17

For artist Hana Dvorak ’17, art shouldn’t be complicated, difficult to understand, or require a detailed artist’s statement to appreciate. “I’m the type of person for whom the art is just the art,” she says. “I want to make people happy through my art, and you don’t need a lot of explanation to make people happy. I also don’t really like to write.”

A ceramics and glass double major at California College of the Arts in Oakland, Hana likes to let her art speak for itself. In May, two months after COVID first shut down the country, she decided the most important message that her art could convey was that it was okay to smile again.

So was born @The_Doodles_and_Dragons, an Instagram page where she and a friend post “happy drawings” almost every day for anyone needing a dose of good cheer. Hana does the dragon drawings, and her childhood friend Rebecca Spin, a graphic design major at UC Davis, creates the “doodles.”

Each of the more than 100 Instagram illustrations the pair created was inspired by a word of the day, such as fold or buddy. “Both of us had been working on finding a way to bring happiness to others,” said Hana, “and we thought why not share our childhood humor? We decided that once the pandemic started, people were needing more happiness to focus on in their lives. Allowing people to step away from their lives and enjoy some art that makes them smile: that’s important to both our art practices.”

During the pandemic, it has been difficult for Hana to pursue her work in ceramics and glass. “I have a lot of unfired pieces that are filling up shelves in the studio that I am concerned about because unfired pieces are a lot more fragile than pieces that have been in the kiln. But getting access to the kiln during the pandemic has been difficult,” she said. With CCA in distance learning mode, she has been getting her humanities and science requirements out of the way this year. “I am actually taking three history classes this year,” she said, “I hate the essays, but I love history,” a passion that she attributes to Mid-Pen history teacher Alan Cameron.

Like many, Hana has found that a silver lining to the pandemic. Good friends since kindergarten, when they were in the same class at the Keys School in Palo Alto, she and Rebecca have become even closer since the pandemic. “We critique each other’s work, although she is much more of the illustrator.”

Eight months into her daily dragon drawings, Hana is pleased by the response to their Instagram page—after all, who doesn’t love a dragon? She says she is also happy to take requests for illustrations from Mid-Pen alumni and students; she can be reached at hanagd@gmail.com or leave a comment @The_Doodles_and_Dragons on Instagram