Time to reflect on my Identity Issues by Nico Lund

Issues #1 &2 of Identity Issue Zine by Nico Lund

Issues #1 &2 of Identity Issue Zine by Nico Lund

Here in the Pacific Northwest, autumn has dropped abruptly on top of the summer that I was just getting used to.

Even though I have lived here more years than my native Southern California, the feeling of being warm and sun bleached will always be a happy Feeling for me. (even though I moved to Seattle when I was 20 because I craved the weather changes)!

I just can’t fight my need for blue skies and warm days! It’s part of my identity I guess! The irony is how I tried to Goth it up in my teens with layers of black clothing and boots in beach weather. I still love my black clothing and boots…but since there are plenty of boot wearing days, I am ready to kick them off in favor of my flip-flops whenever possible.

Concepts and Brainstorms for Identity Issue #2 ( working draft mock-up of #1 and #2 in background)

I do love fall though. It seems to be the perfect weather to bring myself back to focus. While the days get shorter and colder, I find myself with more time inside to motivate me into my studio to reflect on my creative goals and my art process and get thee to work!

illustrations sketches and mock-up for Identity Issue #3: Coming soon!

This most recent chilly September day I decided I wanted to take some time to share a little about one of my projects: Identity Issue Zine. This zine came out of my work with Kelda Martensen in her BookArts Class ( my 3rd year taking it) at North Seattle College. This year was a little different as it was part of an Inter-cultural Communications Integrated Studies Course. It was a big Spring Quarter emotionally and academically for me. This class helped me to break into some unknown territory for me (can you say academic thesis paper?!?!). It ruffled my feathers as a student, artist, citizen and friend—just to be clear—this is what I wanted to happen.

My art has always come from a very personal place, but I often use abstraction, surrealism, metaphor, and other tactics to obscure my intentions and meanings behind my work. Sometimes intentionally, but often unconsciously.

This class challenged me to be more transparent and take some risks by being vulnerable in my choices. That is how Identity Issue #1 came about. It is about my experiences of having a long history of depression.

First draft mock-up of Identity Issue Zine #1

I wanted this project to reveal a snapshot of what it’s like in the moment of feeling depressed —not the overarching storyline of depression or its causes. It was important to me to share in an artistic way that depression is more than just a feeling a person experiences—it can be physical and all-encompassing and it can also be transient. I wanted to expose some of the intimate moments of being in a depression that are hard for people to understand who haven’t be affected by it.

After completing Identity Issue #1 ‘depression’, I already had the next Identity Issue on my mind. I began working on self-perception’ which is about my process of dealing with finding myself in middle-age and my experience of how the process of aging is affecting me. Although I am expressing myself from my experiences, it is my hope that the Identity Issues I focus on are issues or challenges that other people have had or are currently experiencing. Additionally, I think it makes a great gift for a friend who might need a little reminder that they are not alone! (no time like the present to start collecting those stocking stuffers)!

Beginings of #3 layout and drawing layers in Procreate on Ipad Pro

Identity Issue Zine has also been a way for me to hone in on my digital art skills. My ability to use Procreate, using an Ipad Pro and an Apple Pencil has greatly improved and with each new issue I am finding new ways to streamline the process a little more. My goal is to find a way to quickly produce zines and small publications since these methods are a great way to covey some of the more intimate parts of my creative process and life.

With Issue #3 on it’s way to completion, I already have issue #4 spinning in my mind. Since you took the time to read, I’ll share with you that my 4th Identity issue is: Artist. You’ll just have to stay tuned for Issue #3….it’s gonna be good!

I look forward to sharing more insights with you and release dates of future work! Please Subscribe!

Reflections on Doing the 100 Days of Faces Challenge by Nico Lund

If I think back as far as I can, I don't think there is anything I have ever willingly attempted to do everyday for 100 days besides Sleep, Eat, and other essential human tasks. In doing this challenge, I think I have learned something about myself, my creativity and expression.

Either Side Will Do                                                                                                   Ink, Watercolor on Paper 7.5"x7.5" a new piece in the aftermath of the challenge

I am by no means going to to say I have figured it all out, not by a long shot. Yet, by doing something everyday for 100 days, I understand more about my insecurities and fears around doing things that I am passionate about.

It wasn't long ago that I was that girl in the corner of a local cafe ferociously scribbling melodramatic poetry and angsty drawings in my journal while sipping coffee and smoking rolled cigarettes. It seems as the years have slipped by I haven't given up my cafes or my journals, but I gave up the cigarettes, and somewhere down the line I stopped giving myself permission to openly express my creativity in everyday situations. 

During this 100 day challenge I had to quickly give up the idea that I would have set aside time to paint each day. If I was going to complete the challenge, I had to have all my supplies with me all the time. If that meant I had to whip them out in the waiting room before an appointment, in the car waiting to pick up my kid from school or on the beach during our family vacation, that is what I would have to do.

No more apologies for being an artist on a mission. No more worrying if someone would find it odd or showy to make art in public. I realized I have carried a heavy guilt that I wanted to make art. Even when putting my paintings up for an art show, I seemed to carry a weight of shame putting my art up. What the heck? What is that?

One of my favorite books on creativity is What It Is by Lynda Barry.

She wrote it mostly about writing, but so much of it centered on the creative process and how to stimulate it and be a doer of it. The page in the book that floored me was a simple one. It wasn't mind blowing or anything, it just struck a chord. I knew this kind of questioning intimately.

Excerp from What It Is by Lynda Barry

Is it good? Does it suck?

Editing those questions out of my thoughts while making art has been a lifelong battle. I almost gave up making art worrying so much about how my creativity would be perceived.

In reflecting on the 100 days of Faces Challenge there are two things I have to say. The first is that I loosened up. I stopped worrying about judgements on my art and I even was able to have fun. My husband was even bewildered a few times when I was laughing and snickering to myself while painting. Another thing happened when I would labor on a piece that I wasn't feeling keen on. I would be amazed the next day when I looked at it and liked it. Some of those pieces ended up being my favorite in the series.

Secondly, I learned that work doesn't mean what I thought it meant. I like to work. Sitting around is boring, unless it's with intention like in meditation. I'm a doer and I like to share what I do. I realized that it's not work that is hard, it just hard to do work that you don't love. When you love your work, the word work is interchangeable with the word life.

So obviously, I am choosing work that I am passionate about and can share with others. What work do you choose?

from 100 days of faces     5"x5"      watercolor


In moving forward, I have not been painting everyday, but I still carry my supplies with me most places I go. I just never know when the next moment will be available to dive into a drawing or painting. I do it because It is my work and I know it doesn't suck because it comes from a place of love.