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Meet Our Intention Illustrator: Nik Daum

It has been a tradition at CreativeMornings to work with an artist in our community to create an illustration for the monthly theme.

Monthly themes inspires conversations and ideas outside of our world, inviting speakers to share a story around the theme, what it means to them, and how it relates to their work. The global theme for July is Intention.


While the artwork speaks for itself, we wanted to get to know the artist on a personal level and introduce them to the creative community.

Meet Nik Daum

Nik Daum has over a decade of experience conceiving and art directing ad campaigns for clients large and small.

While continuing the relentless pursuit of advertising, he also enjoys illustration, photography, design, and writing—sometimes even for money! His art and photography have been featured in various magazine, websites, and social media. At great expense, he has traveled to many places in the world, taking two “soul searching” half-year boondoggles in SE Asia and a “kind-of soul searching” half year in Europe.

Nik Daum currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee with a wife, cat, and four chickens.


How did you get into illustration work?

Even as a child, I knew art would be in my future. I had a lot of encouragement from family, friends, teachers, and nude models. Many, many, years ago I got a degree in illustration and was thereby legally obligated to draw for the rest of my life. But due to taking another path, illustration was never my main career. I do illustrate for fun and profit though.


At what point in your life did you realize that illustration was your calling?

I’ll let you know as soon as I do. ;)

How has your work evolved over time and what were some influences that caused it?

College was the first major evolution after being taught all the foundations, along with an excessive amount of life drawing and painting. Those lessons last a lifetime, and from that point I could choose to ignore them or apply them. The second evolution happened when I found myself in front of a computer all day in an office, and I wanted more creative freedom. So I started mixing real doodles done at work with all sorts of digital drawing and color. I realized that despite how awesome physically made art is, I hated buying art supplies, having a workspace for making art, and making messes. So I basically went all digital. It’s a visual tradeoff, as digital will always look digital. But for me it made the difference between barely making art at all and making it more often.


How do you define ‘intention’? and what role has this played in your creative life?

I think of “intention” as having a plan. I’m pretty good about making and following through on small scale plans, but any kind of long term plan is elusive to me. So I desire one, and am jealous of people that already live a life of intention. That gnawing jealousy and dissatisfaction fuels all sorts of creative processes.

What advice would you give to fellow illustrators?

If you love what you are doing, you’ve got life figured out. But if you don’t love it enough to make a living with it, there is no shame in making art as a hobby and earning money in other ways. I mean, I feel shame. But you don’t have to.


What’s something in your industry that deserves more attention?

I feel like many people think making art is some joyous and easy process. Maybe for some people it is. But when you hire a plumber, you can see him crawling around in cramped, dirty spaces, skinning his knuckles and getting sewage sprayed on his face and think “Gee, I’m glad I don’t have to do THAT for a living.” An illustrator can go through all the same crap, but since it’s inside his or her head you never see it. That makes us seem less valuable.


Tell us something about yourself that we can’t find on Google.

In some circles, I go by the name Saucy McGarnicle.


Photo credit: Jamie Sinz. Discover more of Nik’s work on his website and Instagram.

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