The author Chuck Klosterman said, "Art and love are the same thing: It's the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you." This idea—that our identities are necessarily reflected in our art—runs through the veins of three artists we spoke to about their work. Each of these artists is demonstrating that in order to live life to the fullest you must pursue what makes your soul sing.
1) Born without arms, Rosie Jon didn't let adversity prevent her from pursuing an deep-seated passion for art. It was with support from a ministry called "We Want More" that Rosie started to paint using her feet. Invigorated by that experience, Rosie kept at it. Now she paints full time, is a motivational speaker, has a wonderful family, and is proving that anything is possible with determination and bravery.
"From the beginning, I knew there was a special reason I was born this way," she said. "I'm always striving to be extraordinary rather than ordinary. This motivates me to get there."
2) Michael Reagan is a portrait artist and a Marine veteran of the Vietnam War. 13 years ago, he started drawing portraits of fallen heroes from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as a way to help the victims' families heal.
The impetus for Michael's art was always one of generosity; when he got a phone call from a woman who had lost her husband to war requesting the price for a portrait, Michael realized that he could offer his services for free. So he combined his dual passion for art and for helping people, and created the Fallen Heroes Project. Michael knows that all the effort he puts into the portraits are worth it, when he hears from families who find great solace in the artistic renderings of their lost loved ones.
3) In 2009, Peter Mikulak was an average guy working as a contractor in New Haven, CT. But when the economy took a turn for the worse, Peter nearly lost everything. In a sort of silver lining, this was a wakeup call for Peter. He decided to sell his house and pursue his dreams of becoming an artist.
With his easel and a toolbox on the side of the road, Peter worked his way through hardships but never lost sight of his goal of earning money through art. "Success is a choice," he says. "If you choose to focus and put all your energy towards something, eventually there will be a breakthrough."