Eve Lanik became co-owner of the locally owned and operated business Eyes of the World Imports two years following her college graduation. Within the same year she began pursuing art as a professional career.
While navigating her career outside of the business, she credits her parents as major influences in both aspects.
Eyes of the World has been a part of Lanik’s life ever since she could remember.
“I’ve always been here since I was practically three days out of the womb,” she said.
Eyes of the World Imports opened its doors in Lincoln, Nebraska nearly 30 years ago. Eve’s mother, Emily started the business after a trip to Guatemala where she met women who hand make jewelry and home decor.
“She met all of these great women who were making beautiful jewelry and furniture and she wanted to share pieces of the world,” Eve Lanik said. “Her main goal was to uplift women and bring in that community for them to make relationships.”
Eve joined the business as co-owner shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic. She explained the pandemic created financial burdens on families in Indonesia with whom she spent time growing up which inspired her to offer more support.
“Fortunately, since we had that close contact with them, we could be like, ‘hey could you put together stuff for us and send it?’” she said. “We also have a friend who we stay with in Indonesia that we could wire money to so they could buy groceries.”
Emily Lanik said these women’s stories and life experiences inspired her with the business and philosophy of helping others that she transferred to Eve when she became co-owner.
“This really opened my mind and my heart in wanting to make a difference in women’s lives specifically,” Emily Lanik said.
Since becoming co-owner, Emily said Eve’s involvement is a huge blessing because she also offers a fresh perspective on merchandise.
“She is extremely conscious in ways that I am not,” Emily Lanik said. “For example, I’ve been selling white sage since the day I opened, but we’ve quit selling that product unless it’s from renewable groves, due to the fact that sage and Palo Santo are becoming extinct.”
Eve Lanik’s impact on the store extends to the close connections she’s formed with employees and customers as well.
Gabby Gunther is an employee at Eyes of the World Imports who explained the environment is genuinely supportive and inclusive.
“Emily and Eve do a really good job of making sure that everyone is feeling included and if there’s ever anything you want to talk about, it’s welcomed that you come talk about it with no resentment or grudges,” she said.
Eve’s history in art
The two constants in Eve’s life have always been Eyes of the World and art. Besides the business, she’s been passionate about art for as long as she can remember.
At the age of 3, she watched her father, Greg, who is a ceramicist and decided to get creative in her own way and began painting.
“I was kind of crazy. I would just run around outside naked and cover myself in paint,” she said.
Emily remembers Eve’s childhood that involved making art out of anything she could find around the house.
“She has always been extremely creative,” Emily Lanik said. “She loved to pretend to play in the dirt and draw, she definitely was not a television kid and at times I really wished she was!”
For most of her life, she encountered ebbs and flows of pursuing art as a hobby until she attended Wesleyan University and changed her major senior year from education to art.
“When I dropped my major, I was like, the credits aren’t worth it. But I got my art degree in two years,” Eve Lanik said. “I was definitely spread thin, but yeah it was worth it. I loved it so much.”
Eve explained most of her creations are sculptures, drawings and collages, but combines multiple mediums into one major piece.
“At first I was just sewing and then I was drawing on the side and now I draw and sew it together, then I started adding beads into that,” she said. “I honestly need to pick one medium but I get bored.”
Upon graduating, she started working with various Lincoln and Omaha galleries to display her art.
Putting on a solo show may seem daunting, but she explained displaying her art for the public is therapeutic.
“I just like knowing what people think. One of my favorite things to do when I’m having a show is to stand near my art and not tell people it’s mine and listen to what people’s thoughts are,” she said.
One of Eve’s most prominent pieces of work is a plaster cast of her body that she displayed in Studio 62. She explained this piece specifically allowed her to creatively work through internal struggles she was experiencing at the time.
“My initial feeling behind that one was trying to portray a second skin, like a shell as protection. At that time, I was having a lot of struggles with my sexuality and identity as a human and feeling really detached from my body,” she said. “And so making that armor like a second skin was really comforting and therapeutic.”
In the future, Lanik plans on becoming more involved with local galleries which includes an artist residency out of Omaha in June.
“It’s a converted mobile home, so it’s a gallery that can move,” Lanik said. “I get to curate the entire space by myself, which is something I really love to do.”
She also explained she intends to remain co-owner of Eyes of the World Imports and pursue a career in art while she lived in Lincoln.
“I love that it’s a co-ownership because I do get that space to explore that other piece of me that’s so important because I know if I wasn’t doing art, I wouldn’t be me,” she said.