In the studio with NICKI LENORE
We had the pleasure of speaking with painter Nicki Nysven of Paso Robles, California, this past week. Keep reading for an inside look at the artist's current work, life and inspirations.
We asked Nicki to tell us a little about herself, so that all of you can get to know her!
" Hi, I’m Nicki Nysven, and I live in quaint Paso Robles, California.
I’ve always loved drawing and painting, but didn’t realize this passion would turn into a purpose until recently. I have two children who have Lyme disease, co-infections and our family has been deeply affected by this. Life sucks ass sometimes, but it’s all about how you choose to handle it.
I had to change my mindset.
And so I turned to art as a form of self-therapy.
My daughter has been sick with chronic Lyme disease for most of her life, and within the last 3+ years, it has taken her childhood from her. My son contracted a co-infection of Lyme, and then his life changed dramatically. It took me a while into our journey with these medical challenges to figure out that if I didn’t change my mindset- I would either fall into a deep depression, or lose my mind altogether. Watching your children go through these challenges makes you feel so helpless and you will find yourself asking: “Why us, why MY kids?” I had to dig deep and learn how to remain strong for my family. I had to keep fighting for my kids!
I started turning the negatives into positives.
One example was knowing that I can’t control what tomorrow will bring, but I can control how I handle it. For me, that was done through painting.
I decided to post some of my paintings on Instagram, and began to realize Instagram was my positive place, there for me to post whatever makes me happy!
And it is ART that makes me happy.
People started to express interest in my work and began asking to buy my paintings. More and more, friends and others asked me to paint for them and it was just a lot of fun. Before I knew it, with some planning and paperwork, “Nicki Lenore” was officially a business.
Each piece I create is carefully thought out and made from my heart. Most importantly, I am enjoying it. "
Continue below for our interview with Nicki!
The Rescue Designs:
I’m so happy to have the opportunity to hear your story, talk with you about your work and share it with others! I’d like to begin by saying how strong, resilient and brave you have to be to endure what you, and your family are going through- and that is not lost on us. Lyme disease is scary, and under-acknowledged. Thank you for being open!
Nicki Nysven of NICKI LENORE:
"Thank you Shanna, I appreciate it. It’s been quite the journey and I do continue to spread the awareness in hopes to help educate others. I am one of the contributors of the Lyme Disease Challenge Team which spreads awareness through a campaign every May called Take A Bite Out Of Lyme."
TRD: What is your background with painting, prior to pursuing it as therapy?
NN: "I have always loved to draw and paint since I can remember, but have never had any formal instruction or taken any classes. It has been more of a hobby or passion to me."
TRD: You spoke about unintentionally captivating an audience, and how their support birthed your business. What sort of attention were you getting, exactly? Did you see support from the community dealing with, and fighting against Lyme Disease? Was this therapeutic act a sort of inspiration for others living in this reality, much like your family’s?
NN: "One day I just decided to post a paintings (online, via social media) .. that’s when I really started to turn to painting as a form of therapy. I had such a nice response, and then decided to share periodically. Painting made me happy and if they made someone else happy than that meant everything to me. That’s when people mentioned I should start selling my art. A women that I met through social media, Merrissa
of Rad Maverix, has a clothing line and asked me to paint her logo in watercolor form. That kicked off the cow-skull paintings which then started the journey of turning Nicki Lenore into a business. The Lyme community definitely supports what I do! I have even donated a painting for a silent auction, to help raise funds for Lyme disease."
TRD: Most of your work depicts nature, brightly displayed. What is it that attracts you to this imagery, and how do you draw inspo to create it?
NN: "I love nature, animals, the ocean, etc....I try to envision, or even compose an idea in my head- then I just start painting.
TRD: If you could challenge the readers to cultivate compassion today, how would you do so?
NN: "I have always been a compassionate person, and strive to acknowledge that everyone has a story. And their story is just as important as anyone else’s- no matter the severity. In having two children who have invisible illnesses, I have come to know first hand that you can’t judge a book by its cover, nor should you try to do so... and, even more, we cannot judge those who don’t fully understand our story, in turn."
NICKI LENORE is sold online and through boutique retailers in California. To learn more about purchasing, collaborating or commissioning please visit www.nickilenore.com