Iceland reveals new photography adventures for Olivet alumnus

In November 2018, Nick Rasmussen left Indiana for Skagaströnd, Iceland, and his first artist residency.

December 13, 2018 Alumni & Friends, Arts & Music

Pursuing an artist residency was merely a distant dream for Olivet Nazarene University alumnus Nick Rasmussen ’18. That is, until he learned about an opportunity in Iceland.

Olivet alumni_Nick Rasmussen_Northern Lights_Iceland_artist residency_photographer_photography_Web1.jpg

Nick first visited Iceland in summer 2016 and immediately felt artistic inspiration from the country’s people and natural beauty. “I wanted to differentiate myself from the average America tourist with a camera or selfie stick,” Nick says. “I wanted to change the way Icelandic people view artists as we share their culture with the rest of the world.”

On Oct. 30, 2018, after two flights and three bus rides, Nick arrived in Skagaströnd for another opportunity to do that. 

First item on his agenda: to see the Northern Lights. He and three photographers he’d never met before got into a car and went in search of the spectacular natural art display. Braving below freezing temperatures, they found a vivid presentation for a magical photograph.

Olivet alumni_Nick Rasmussen_Northern Lights_Iceland_artist residency_photographer_photography_Web2.jpg

“It’s true what people say about your first time experiencing the Northern Lights,” he says. “The sight brought tears to my eyes.” 

Throughout November 2018, Nick lived among 11 other artists and 450 residents of Skagaströnd, a small fishing village on the north coast. His goals for this adventure were to engage in community, work and nature, while simultaneously engaging less in technology (excluding his cameras, of course). 

With only four to five hours of daylight each day, Nick welcomed the creative challenge of using available light for his work. He researched the human perception of color as it relates to light. He challenged himself to figure out how to bring light and color back into darkness.

Olivet alumni_Nick Rasmussen_Northern Lights_Iceland_artist residency_photographer_photography_Web3.jpg

“The light seems to be valued there more than possessions,” he says. “It’s as if the sun’s appearance delivers happiness to the people who live there.” 

As he was preparing to return home, Iceland was hit by a mammoth winter storm. All traffic halted, and snow blocked every opening of houses and buildings. Winds blew at the speed of 60 miles per hour.

When outbound flights resumed, he traveled for seven and one-half hours, finally to arrive home in Indianapolis on Dec. 2. He was just in time to hang his art show at Hubbard & Cravens Coffee Co., where his work will be on display through the month of December.

His second Icelandic experience will influence his work for many years to come. As Nick says, “Stepping out of your comfort zone can lead to unforgettable experiences.” 

See more of Nick’s work at @nickraz00 on Instagram, his blog at and at

To learn more about areas of study in Olivet’s Department of Art and Digital Media, contact the Office of Admissions at or 800-648-1463.

Published: 12/13/2018

Student on main campus wearing pink sweater and holding water bottle.

Where Your Future Begins

We Believe. You Belong Here. Discover why Olivet is a place where faith meets calling. Take the first step today.

Plan a Visit Start my Application