Creative Compulsive Disorder: Zina Nicole Lahr

Can you know someone, just by watching a video?

When that person is as amazing as Zina Nicole Lahr, the answer feels like, “Yes.” A creative force of nature and a pure spirit, Zina was a master of creation and science, fusing art, kinetics and robotics to make a world so weird and so wonderful, only Zina could live in it. She was filled with so much passion, Zina even saw her body as a canvas, turning herself into a showcase for a waifish steampunk aesthetic that seemed lifted straight from the movies.

What might have come across as pretension from a lesser artist, instead presented itself as an expression of Zina’s true soul. As hard as in may have been for the more cynical of us to believe it, she actually was the fantastic, intelligent creature that she appeared to be. Zina was quirky, sincere and instantly likeable. She was selected to appear on a reality television show showcasing special effects artists vying to get a job with Jim Henson’s Creature Studios, but turned them down to make sure she would be available to return to Colorado to care for her ailing grandmother.

A quietly religious woman, Zina was sure that God had plans for her creativity, even if she was not sure what those plans were. In August of 2013, she asked her friend, filmmaker Stormy Pyeatte, to create a video to showcase her art and creativity.

In August 2013 my friend Zina asked if I could shoot a video for her portfolio. She needed something that would showcase her work but also tell a little bit about her personality and her interests. We had two days to shoot and edit so we shot an interview and smashed something together to meet our deadline. On November 20, 2013 Zina passed away due to a hiking accident in Ouray, CO. After the funeral I revisited the footage and made this short as an attempt to capture her personality and creativity. I never planned to release it online but now I have a chance to share her and her creations with all of you! For all who are part of the Zina Lahr love bomb, this is for you!

–Stormy Pyeatte

No foul play was suspected. A quietly religious woman, Zina did not drink or do drugs. She simply slipped while rock climbing, and the world was instantly a less magical place.

Can you feel the loss of a woman you never knew? When she is as special as Zina Nicole Lahr, I believe you can. In these brief few minutes of video, Zina mapped out exactly how you can live a life of passion and creativity while remaining true to yourself.

That’s why she is a heroic girl.

Rest in peace, Zina.

Read more about Zina in Outside Magazine.