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By : Daniel Smelansky

4 min read

Hello! I’m Daniel—a queer artist, illustrator, designer, and ballpoint pen lover. I was born in Belarus and grew up in a blend of Russian and American culture. This duality of culture along with the experience of growing up queer informs the dichotomies in my work.

When I draw, much of my process is intuitive and improvised. I use drawing to move through emotions and process my experiences. The characters and subjects of my work externalize parts of myself that are otherwise inaccessible. While some parts are light and playful and others are angry and explicit, the through-line is humor. I aim to provide people with a giggle that opens the door to explore more complex feelings.

For the cover of this issue, I’ve created a narrative that combines different ideas and feelings about the New Year. Some characters celebrate the transition—breaking through walls and welcoming in the dragon. While others reflect on the past—petting rabbits and napping by the fire. The coming of Spring threatens the reign of Winter and the passing of time never ceases to be overwhelming.

If you like what you’ve seen in this issue and want to work together or just chat—feel free to reach out!

Originally published in-print in Boston Compass Newspaper #165 January 2024



Check out all the art and columns of January's Boston Compass at



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