Julie Novak is a visual artist, performance artist, and musician, best known as the co-author of the feminist coloring book Girls Are Not Chicks (with Jacinta Bunnell) and lead singer and drummer of the indie punk band, "Guitars & Hearts".
Between 40+ hour work weeks, co-authoring a feminist coloring book (Girls Are Not Chicks), organizing transgender conferences and radical fat variety shows, Julie Novak has managed to persist as a powerful indie rocker in the most DIY fashion. Aside from forming a new band, Gigantic! and touring regularly with her own solo project, Novak has spent the last two years producing, financing and designing the artwork for the long-awaited release of her first musical project, guitars and hearts (distributed by her own label, Clingrap).
The Early Days
Novak was born on December 2, 1972. Grew up in the small town of Stow, Ohio (about 30 miles from Cleveland) Graduated from Stow High School. At age 18 moved to New York. Attended Orange County Community College.Studied Communications while working in the school theatre as the stage manager. After graduating, she ended up working at the college as the Assistant to the theatre director teaching workshop classes and co-directing several productions while developing an interest in graphic design via designing the publicity for the various shows being staged. She eventually returned to school to major in Graphic Design at SUNY New Paltz in New Paltz, NY graduating in 2002. While there she met Lauren Camarata, a fellow art major and musician with whom she formed Guitars and Hearts.
Guitars & Hearts
Between 2003 and 2005, Novak, along with guitarist, Lauren Camarata, turned heads as this explosive, dynamic pop/punk duo. Having met in New Paltz, New York in 2002, the two had collaborated with various other musicians in the local indie scene before deciding to start their own project which allowed Camarata, an accomplished drummer, to explore her desire to play the guitar, and Novak, always a singer, to explore subject matter that previous band members had not been comfortable with: gender variance, queerness, and heartbreak. The combination of Julie’s simple, driving beats, raw, passionate vocal delivery and charismatic stage presence along with the unique melodic, rhythmic guitar playing of Camarata, resulted in a pure and powerful sound that made their live show unmatched in its expressive energy. The group played their last show together in September 2005 just before Camarata decided to leave the Hudson Valley area to travel abroad after graduation from New Paltz College. She eventually settled in Brooklyn, working on her portfolio as a photographer and creating her own original music while occasionally filling in as the drummer for Indie faves Kite Operations. Novak has continued rocking steady with her new band, Gigantic!, formed in the winter of 2005 with guitarist, Erica Pivko, and bassist, Kristen Rodecker. Look for a CD release on Clingrap in the summer of 2007.
- “We Will Be Heard Volume 2” (Mushroom Cloud Records)
- “Various Artists” (The Fair School/Force Fields
- “Julie Novak is quite a talented musician...” -Brian
Mahoney, Editor, Chronogram
- “All female, all-rocking, dynamic punk assault is one
way to describe Guitars and Hearts, but their infectious stage presence must be witnessed for full effect.” -Zac Shaw, Scenery Magazine #2
Girls Are Not Chicks
In 2003, she teamed up with artist/author and close friend Jacinta Bunnell who asked her for help with a second coloring book following the success of Bunnell's "Girls Will Be Boys Will Be Girls Will Be.." with Irit Reinheimer (Soft Skull Press). The result was Girls Are Not Chicks, a revolutionary coloring book intended to empower young women. The authors eventually took the book on the road as part of "The Sparkle Kids Action Network Chorus of Crayons Tour 2006". The tour was a multi-faceted show that featured a make your own gender-defying Coloring Book Workshop followed by three sets of Acoustic Music by Novak and fellow musicians Michael Truckpile and Dave End. In the spring of 2007, Bunnell was asked by friend Neko Case to join Case on tour promoting the coloring books by presenting a Live Coloring Stage Show.
|This biographical article relies on references to primary sources. (May 2007)|