We had the good fortune of connecting with TAFT MCWHORTER and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi TAFT, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
My favorite saying is “Pursue Your Passion”. This is not only my mantra as an artist, but even more importantly, as a human being. My wife, Dana, and I raised our three sons (who are now in their 20’s and 30’s) with this focus and they are all in industries that are rooted in their passions. My wife and I also attempt to inspire anyone and everyone we meet and encourage them to focus on their passions. No matter if it is a hobby or a profession, this focus on what you are inherently passionate about is a foundational key to a happy life. Once you’ve started making your passions a priority and view it as a basic life necessity, you will find that all of your decision making becomes clearer and easier. Our happiness can come from outside sources, but if you aren’t happy on the inside, nothing on the outside will fulfill you. Pursuing your passions helps you better understand who you are and how you operate. It turns a spotlight on your uniqueness as a human being. That awareness will ultimately lead you to a stronger self worth and a happier life. To focus specifically on the artist’s perspective of pursuing your passion, I would encourage anyone who is even considering a career as a professional artist to start the journey TODAY. Go to art exhibits, befriend other artists online and in real life. Begin to infiltrate the art community and experience what it is like. Most artists are very open and love to talk about art. There are unlimited opportunities to participate in the art world. You just have to take the first step and walk through the door. I entered the art world at 37 years old with very little experience. After about three years as a “struggling artist”, I have spent the last decade making a very good living as a professional artist. It’s never too late to pursue your passion. Start right now!
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Our “art business” is distinct in that has a strong focus on giving back to our community. I started painting “live” at black tie galas and fund raising events back in 2013. The goal was to give back to the community. What we realized after a year of helping raise funds for non-profits was that we were also meeting new clients at these events. As a result, our business began to grow leaps and bounds. To date, I have painted “live” at over 200 events and raised just shy of a million dollars for dozens of non-profits in Houston and Los Angeles. I was one of the “40 Most Fascinating Houstonians” in an article by the Houston Chronicle because I was a pioneer in the painting “live”/philanthropic concept. I also conduct workshops and offer personal coaching sessions that help artists with the business side of art. I either charge a nominal fee or do it pro bono as it is not about the money. By giving them a foundation of things to focus on, I help these artists gain a footing in their journey to becoming a professional artist. I enjoy helping artists fulfill their dreams.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My wife and I are passionate about the water. Whether it is a lake, river or ocean, we love to connect with and play in the water. We live on the marina in Marina Del Rey. When we have visitors, we go to paddle boarding, kayaking or surfing. Our favorite beaches are Manhattan Beach or Surfrider’s Beach in Malibu. If water isn’t an option, we bike around the Venice Boardwalk and visit some of our favorite eateries, from dive bars like Hinano to high end foodie magnets like Gjelina on Abbott Kinney or the Misfit in Santa Monica. It is all about getting out and experiencing life. Good food, chill atmosphere and good people watching are our criteria.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
This is a shoutout to my wife and business partner in our art business, Dana. We have been married over 30 years and have raised three grown sons. We have been through pretty much everything and are still best friends. We have lived our life with a focus on the journey as opposed to the destination. The bottom line is that without Dana’s undying support, I would have never pushed through the early struggles of the art business. Mistakes are inevitable in any endeavor and I’ve made plenty along the way. In order to keep moving forward, we ALL need those in our lives that are supportive regardless of mistakes and struggle. Dana saw my potential and believed in me. She allowed me to make my mistakes (and continues to allow that), encouraged me to be myself and provided me the time and space to evolve into a professional artist. My life wouldn’t be what it is without Dana and “our life” together in the art business wouldn’t be what it is if Dana hadn’t been by my side. Thank you “Beautiful”!
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