Hands-On Experience

Shelli Hoppe’s Unique Perspective on Neurodiversity Drives Career in Art, Design, and Advocacy

“Cookie Chanel”, 2022. Nick Cave faux fur and Swarovski crystal eyes – all recycled materials, 4 x 5 ft. All images courtesy of the artist.

Shelli Hoppe ’24 (UX Design MPS) is a force to be reckoned with. An esteemed artist and author, her work intertwines neurodiversity research, mixed media, paint, design, and sculpture. Her latest creations, mesmerizing oversized faux fur spiders adorned with recycled Nick Cave materials and sparkling Swarovski crystals, embody her unique blend of innovation and artistry — and draws from her personal journey with chronic illness and autism.

Guided by the principles of inclusivity and accessibility, Hoppe incorporates insights from Fernand Deligny’s pioneering spider web maps, which were derived from his work with children with severe autism in the mid-1900s. This influence, along with her own experience with autism, infuses her faux fur spider designs with a profound sense of interconnectedness and celebrates the beauty of diversity.

Beyond her accolades as an artist and author, Hoppe is committed to driving positive change through design. As a UX designer, she seeks to solve complex and large-scale strategic access problems and create user friendly websites and products. She currently is working with Boston University on an educational harm reduction platform for people on the autism spectrum.