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Meet Nick Hagen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nick Hagen.

Nick, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I was born and still am a shockingly, quiet person. I always knew I wouldn’t really fit in with anybody even if I wasn’t shy. Experimental is a keyword in my life. I never wanted normal and that’s not at all what I got – at all. I was never good at school and couldn’t find a niche that fit me for years. I was a nerd, at least that’s what the multitude of bullies called me. It taught me to take care of myself even if it made others unhappy. I’d never not been me. I love keeping to myself, especially now.

It wasn’t until a couple of years into college that I found the courage to pursue art and drop out of school (which is something I’d always wanted to do). Right around that time, I had a newfound confidence. I had more time for art, less guidelines, and a ton less homework. I was living on my own and had a sense of individuality and independence. Art was my hobby, my life, and my former college major. I was completely ready to live the life of an indie artist.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It was a few months after my liberation that I was diagnosed with cancer. Stage 3B testicular cancer. 3B means that not only was the cancer in my testicle, it was also in my lungs and the lymph nodes in my back. Having a huge affection for abnormality, I happily took the challenge on, after a meltdown or two. I had to accept the fact that I was going to lose a testicle and go through months of chemotherapy, which came with a heap of challenges on its own.

Art was a great way to learn to accept things. When I took photos of myself, it’s like the emotions I was feeling in that moment were released, swallowed by the camera’s shutter, and preserved. I could show people my voice and my side of things because I finally had something to say. The quiet kid shed his skin for a while and I let it all out there. I shared my darkest fears and intimate moments. People around me were my diary. I shared everything and it reflected in the raw reality of my art. I go through my thoughts from before my diagnosis to after I finished chemo in my book “Reason for Visit”

It was a few months after my liberation that I was diagnosed with cancer. Stage 3B testicular cancer. 3B means that not only was the cancer in my testicle, it was also in my lungs and the lymph nodes in my back. Having a huge affection for abnormality, I happily took the challenge on, after a meltdown or two. I had to accept the fact that I was going to lose a testicle and go through months of chemotherapy, which came with a heap of challenges on its own.

Art was a great way to learn to accept things. When I took photos of myself it’s like the emotions I was feeling in that moment were released, swallowed by the camera’s shutter, and preserved. I could show people my voice and my side of things because I finally had something to say. The quiet kid shed his skin for a while and I let it all out there. I shared my darkest fears and intimate moments. People around me were my diary. I shared everything and it reflected in the raw reality of my art. I go through my thoughts from before my diagnosis to after I finished chemo in my book “Reason for Visit”

We’d love to hear more about your work.
Right now, I’m learning to draw and paint, a way to expand my reach as an artist. It’s something I always told myself I couldn’t do but I’m taking it ok very well. I still do photography but haven’t had too much time to focus on it. Portraits are my strong suit with a twist of the experimental thrown in.

I’m most proud of how much I continue to learn. Although I’ve been off the grid so to speak, I plan to unveil some new pieces now that I have a better knowledge for what I want to create. I want to be a voice for my generation (Gen Z). I have a lot that I want to say and I think it needs to be heard by all.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Love yourself. If you’re happy and can enjoy the moment as it comes and goes, you are successful. I truly don’t seek to gain a profit from my art. As a shy person, it’s hard to talk, so my art is my voice. I really just want create so I can say that I have spoken to the world.

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