Lunch Note Sketch

Monday Motivation with Carissa Nicholson

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Today's motivation can be found in the talents of stay-at-home mom, Carissa Nicholson. Carissa's brown bag art has been inspiring creativity in her son for over two years, and is starting to make an impact on her young daughter. You can find more of Carissa's work on Facebook and Instagram. You can also purchase your very own brown bags at her Etsy shop.

Tell me a little bit about your background... Who you are; what made you interested in art?

Who am I? hmm..that's a good question. I've lived in Oregon for the last 17 years, but I still consider myself a Southern girl at heart. I'm a stay-at-home mom of 2 amazing kids. My son, Jaiden is 8 1/2 and my daughter, Ridley, is 18 months. I've been interested in art for as long as I can remember, constantly doodling, drawing, or coloring every chance I get. 

Who are your current art inspirations and how do they affect your artistic process?

My current art inspirations are anything and everything really. Disney is one of my top influences, especially more so now that I'm a mom. Henna and tattoo artists are another inspiration to me....the intricate patterns and designs blow me away. And, of course, fellow lunch bag artists that I follow on Instagram are daily inspiration.

These affect my artistic process because they push me to try new ideas or techniques that otherwise would intimidate me, and constantly expanding my comfort zone as an artist.

Why do you prefer to work on brown bags?

I love the challenge that a simple brown bag offers--limited space, disposable, and I love surprising my son with a new bag (almost) every day. I started drawing on my son's lunch bags over 2 years ago simply because his reusable lunch bag didn't get cleaned, leaving a brown bag as the only option. But I couldn't resist doodling on it first and his reaction to them (almost) every morning has kept me going.

What are your thoughts on the art community in your area?

I don't really know what the art community is like in my area because I'm not a very outgoing artist. I am disappointed that my son doesn't get offered art on a regular basis at school like I did growing up.

How did your children change your life, both personally/professionally and as an artist?

Being a mom and having kids changed everything for me. I do a lot more creating art for or with them. I definitely have to get creative about my "art" time now that I have kids and have many late nights drawing on bags. But it's all worth it! My son is my biggest fan and supporter.

How have they been involved in your art?

My kids are constantly involved in my art. Ideas for bags come from movies we watch together, games we play, or Jaiden's latest toy craze. I also like to draw things that let me share a bit of my childhood with him. When I started creating these bags, I would mostly draw things that went with the season or holiday that we were in. 

How has your background as an artist affected your kids? Do you think having an artist mom helps inspire their creativity?

I think having an artist mom has definitely helped inspire my son's creativity. My son is very creative, but in ways that I am not. He loves to draw and paint like I do, but he loves to create and build things out of paper and recycle materials. His imagination inspires me constantly, and I love asking for his opinions and ideas for bags. I already see my daughter has a fondness of coloring and can't wait to do more art things with her as she gets older.

I would like to thank Carissa for taking the time to participate in this interview. More importantly, I would like to thank her for using her artistic abilities to make a difference in her children's lives. Don't forget to show Carissa some love on Facebook and Instagram. Remember, you can also purchase one of her brown bags from her Etsy shop.

Is there a parent who is an artist you know who could provide us some Monday motivation? If so, please send their name and a link to their work (or social media account) to LunchNoteSketch@gmail.com, or tag them in any Monday motivation post on any of the Lunch Note Sketch social media pages. I would love to feature him/her.