Creative Compulsive Disorder: Zina Nicole Lahr

[Zina Nicole Lahr] was an extremely talented artist, designer, puppeteer and maker, with a self-diagnosed condition that she liked to call Creative Compulsive Disorder which she describes as follows:

I suppose you could say I have a self-diagnosed condition called CCD, it’s Creative Compulsive Disorder where I have to make stuff all the time, and with whatever I have around me, so if it’s trash, or junk, or things that people would normally throw away, I try to find new ways to re-fabricate them into something useful and beautiful.

A true hacker at heart. She’s worked on tons of different projects in many different fields, even doing special effects and prop work for a TV show.

Unfortunately it is with great sadness that we share her story, as she recently passed away in a hiking accident.

What we are specifically sharing is a short 5 minute documentary about [Zina] which was made by her close friend [Stormy Pyeatte] a few months earlier for a school project. In this past week [Pyeatte] has re-cut the footage in an attempt to capture her personality, creativity and to celebrate her memory. She succeeded tremendously, our heartstrings cannot lie.

It’s a beautiful video about a beautiful soul. We wish we could have met you [Zina].

There is more information on the reddit thread, and [Pyeatte] was also interviewed on the radio, in case you’re not sad enough already.

[via thisiscolossal]

54 thoughts on “Creative Compulsive Disorder: Zina Nicole Lahr

  1. Its sadly mindbending to read about an so beautyfully and awesome person in souch an tragic context. :(
    I hear the first time about her but this knocks me out.

    Whereever your soul may be now, I wish you well.
    good bye Zina

  2. “Creative Compulsive Disorder”
    …lovely phrase to describe
    that desire to get back to “work” tomorrow,
    at the things you love doing today.
    but at times keep you awake far too long because you don’t want to lose
    that spark of the moment.

    my “_.C.D” come out in more of a “repairman”
    I haven’t gone through the links yet, But wonder if she had to deal with
    anti-personality meds,
    (as I’ve come to call them),
    being pushed at her.
    they Never worked for me.

    R.I..P child.

    And thanks to HackaDay staff
    for taking a chance by posting
    a “NottaHack” story of this sort.

    1. ““Creative Compulsive Disorder”
      …lovely phrase to describe
      that desire to get back to “work” tomorrow,
      at the things you love doing today.
      but at times keep you awake far too long because you don’t want to lose
      that spark of the moment.”

      Best thing I ever read.

  3. Thanks for putting this up here on hackaday.
    Although one could argue not a hack, i think this among other recent articles are a great example on how much more awesome hackaday is becoming.
    RIP Zina

  4. Hey Hack a Day! Thanks so much for posting my video! :) Its so exciting to see how Zina is inspiring so many people and spreading all across the globe. Her mother and I were talking and Cindy said, “Now Zina gets to be the world traveler she always wanted to be just in cyber space!” Thank you, thank you, thank you! On behalf of Zina’s family, friends, and the little community of Ouray Colorado thank you for spreading the love. I am so happy to see how Zina is spreading like wildfire, her light has not burned out. :`)

  5. I feel extremely guilty about not knowing not only about Zina Lahr, but also Aaron Swartz.

    It is amazing that so many of the people responsible for the thing that is transmitting this message are still alive.

  6. So a girl who did some work on puppets and make up, and killed her self in a undescribed way in an accident and this is somehow worthy of an article? Oh yeah, a good portion of HAD readers are those who are forever alone.

    1. Matt, Im sure the reason the article appeared has nothing to do with how she died and everything todo with how she lived.
      You must be a bored hopeless loser, and when the day of your death comes to pass, I can assure you no one will care.

      If only the world had more people like Zina, with the courage to creative and the drive to follow through with her ideas.

      Instead we get self centered wankers like matt.

    2. What’s wrong? Did mommy not love you enough? Did daddy not give you the attention you wanted?

      Projecting much? She did much more than work on puppets and makeup, had you even bothered to watch the video and read up about her, you’d know this, I doubt that you have even a tiny fraction of her talent and drive, which explains your asshole behavior, jealousy tends to do that… And yes, she is worthy of an article (and more), because unlike you, she was also a decent human being on top of everything else. When you pass away, what do you think people will say about you? Oh right, nothing, because no one will know who you are or even care… The only “forever alone” here, is you.

    3. Obviously you don’t understand that when a death is ruled an accident that means the investigation ruled out suicide. Zina was killed in an accident, that is all. It can happen to anyone at any moment. I think it’s just hard for you to believe that someone like Zina could be as talented and happy as she appears in this video. Rather than casting judgements on Zina maybe you should try to learn from her.

      1. Follow-up:

        I believe Zina will live as a piece of legend to artists, hackers and [reverse?] engineers for some time. She was about to become a pinnacle and leader in the autodidact/DIY world with the Jeri Ellsworths, Limor Frieds and Becky Sterns. Just Google her name: you will find some fragments of her potential.

        I am from Colorado. I did not know Zina personally, but I do know a little about her based on local input. We’re a melting pot, and even though we have our nut-jobs (ugh…shooters again…), we also have the best of everything else … (School of Mines!) It would have been a privilege to have met her; she was an “odd” person I would have absolutely enjoyed hanging out with – she would have been a helluva colleague in shop-talk… I feel a sense of loss without this creative, eclectic person amongst us.

        Zina died while hiking on a common trail, and slid off a cliff during a bad storm that jumped her in the middle of her hike. It’s a true, unfortunate sad story. We do have a lot of “surprise” weather in Colorado, seeing as how the mountains create “eddies in the stream…”

        As a fellow autodidact, I look forward to learning from the rest of you: I am standing on the shoulders of giants. I read HaD and other similar sites because I enjoy learning from and interacting with my intellectual peers (you superior vets are awesome, by the way.)

        My summation: Keep on learning. Keep on hacking. Keep on making. We are literally changing/making/modding/hacking/creating the future, piece by piece. We honor Zina and others in continuing our journey through the universe of science, art and ingenuity.

        Hack the world, baby!

  7. It’s nice to see HAD focus on the people of the hack and not just the hack itself, the person is just as important as the work itself. Although a loss to her friends and family and to the community as a whole, I hope that her life inspires many others. RIP Zina, I never met you but I wish I had.

    1. Not to mention that psychologically speaking, the behaviour she is showing when directly on camera is not so much that of a depressed and sad person, but more the whole awkwardness you might be picking up on. Which is really not that uncommon with “nerds”.

      Not to mention that a lot of the population doesn’t really enjoy being on display, but society dictates that it is necessary to get a job and the like. I.E. her portfolio, if you actually take a look at where she is taped without knowledge of it, she seems to just be happy/excited.

      Many of the people on here, probably know this from themselves through not wanting to be on photos or hating when people video tape you?

  8. Its a shame that such a talented person died so young. This little video has inspirede and I am wondering if anyone has any info about the little bird in the box she made. I would like to make something similar and I’m sure I could figure it out ony own but am wondering if anyone knows what they are called or how to look into ones that have been made before. Thanks.

  9. Creative and talented. What a workshop she has and look at everything she’s done. Pretty darn awesome. What would even be nicer is for her to be alive and to know how and what people think of her and her accomplishments. Imagine if we paid that kind of attention while a person was alive what a difference it might make in their life in feeling like they were a part of something. There are loners all over the place and being a loner doesn’t mean not being a team player it just means being a different kind of team player. I hope that she can see or hear all of these things that everyone here has to say about her accomplishments and efforts. It would be nice to let someone know when they’re alive.

    1. “being a loner doesn’t mean not being a team player it just means being a different kind of team player.”

      We just got our peer-evaluations at work, and someone said almost exactly that about me. :) It made me smile to know that my coworkers understand, even when I’d rather work on my own. You’re right, that so many people don’t know this, who need to.

      I’ll try to make a point to tell people more often. I encounter a lot, especially around the hackerspace.

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