We had the good fortune of connecting with Nica Ware and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nica, what role has risk played in your life or career?
The idea of risk-taking is relative to your own personal situation. Risk to me feels pretty comfortable, I really don’t feel afraid of stepping out of my comfort zone, and I enjoy that bit of discomfort from being in a new place, having interesting experiences, and learning new things. I have traveled with just a backpack through 27 different countries as of now with no prior planning and a lust for the unknown. When I wasn’t traveling, I was guiding horse trail rides through intense terrains in a few different places around the world, every day was an exciting adventure. Living on dimes and yet having the time of my life, it didn’t feel risky at the time, though many people questioned my lifestyle; so it didn’t feel too “risky” to just dive head first into my passion for art and solely rely on making my own income, landing on a path that is more familiar to people. When COVID turned us upside down, I felt straightened out. I let my artistic intuition lead the way and I just started drawing, going back to my graphic design degree I’d earned before I began traveling. I feel like everything I’ve done up until this point has been more “risky” than where I’m actually at now, where I feel comfortable with my abilities and excited for what lies ahead. But the risks I have taken in past, the discomfort I’ve felt waking up in new places everyday, has set me up for success in a world that no day is the same, no amount of money is guaranteed, and I have no clue what even next week will look like.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Intuitive, free flowing, and spontaneous are a few words to describe my art and my process. When I do portraits for people of the animals in their lives, I use reference, but also a lot of feeling. It’s almost like I close my eyes and when I open them, the piece has emerged like magic channeling through my right hand. It feels that easy most of the time. I don’t often question what I’ve done, I don’t scrutinize or pick it apart until I’m satisfied, when it’s done, it’s done. Don’t ask me how I know. When I draw for myself, I always try to push the perimeter of my imagination just a little further each time, exploring deeper realms of my mind that I would have had access to as a child, but over my adult years haven’t been as familiar with. A lot of artists struggle with perfectionism, but I struggle with it in the opposite way, I cannot bring myself to make something “perfect” it’ll never be complete! I love asymmetry, coloring outside the lines, and quick marks that I could never recreate. I love imperfection. It makes art real. It also keeps the humanity inside of a digital drawing. I have always had a passion for art, a sketchbook was attached to me growing up, always doodling. My intense love for horses lead me down a path of working as a trail guide for years in a variety of beautiful places, and during those times I would casually paint horses and sell those pieces. I went to the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire and graduated with a BFA – Graphic Design in 2015, I didn’t like computers then, but saw it as a “solid career choice” if I wanted to pursue art. I really wasn’t great, and I also wasn’t passionate. So I simply bookmarked that experience and went on to travel the world. Traveling has flavored my life like nothing else. It is incomparable, indescribable. The lessons I have learned, the perspective I have gained, it is truly priceless and it’s far from over. But I nearly settled down once… Everything in my physical and emotional body told me it wasn’t right, but I insisted because it was my “dream” to co-manage a entire guest ranch with 60 horses and over a thousand acres. I was exhausted on all levels but fighting for this idea, and eventually, broke. You know, some things have to completely crumble in order to be rebuilt? Well, now I needed to reconstruct myself. After leaving, I felt a little lost, but also incredibly free. I immediately latched onto my art in ways I hadn’t had time to explore for years, it was healing and necessary. After a 5 month South American adventure, COVID nearly trapped my partner and I in Peru, but we escaped in time and that’s when my art career really began. It feels like forever ago, and yet, like yesterday all at once. It just seemed natural that after years of working with and painting horses, that I would circle back to my degree and dive into the digital world again so that my remote way of life would be easily maintained “after COVID.” I would say my road to get here in hindsight was all over the map, but it also transitioned into alignment seamlessly. When I started viewing horses in a totally different light, shifting my own perspective and questioning everything I’d ever known with them, a creative spark lit up inside of me as well. Horses are sentient beings with so much wisdom to share with us, keep us in the present, and acknowledge our own human body physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The further down this path I go, the more inspired I am to give that energy to others. They are the driving force behind my art, they are a part of the magic channeling through my hand. This past year has not only skyrocketed in creative growth, but also inner growth. I am diving into energy work for horses and learning as much as I can about holistic horse care (and conveniently it filters into my daily life!) My meditation and yoga practices have gotten increasingly stronger and I feel like I can regulate my emotions even better and also using them as fuel for my art. My aim is to draw a deeper connection between human, horse, and nature, and I know that I’m just at the tip of the iceberg in my creative journey.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m all about nature so I would encourage anyone to explore the beautiful mountains, beaches, and parks the city has to offer, like Topanga State Park. I think Los Angelos has so much beauty to offer just on the outskirts of the city itself. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I am so grateful to have friends, family, and a partner who have always supported me throughout my not-so-linear life, my free spirited adventures, and especially now throughout my creative career. I also am so lucky to have found my niche in the online community of compassionate horse people, who are drawn to my work and give me inspiration and work!
Other: I have a Patreon page that offer exclusive monthly drawings revolving around different themes, links to that in my website/Instagram