We had the good fortune of connecting with Ken Reif and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ken, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Creating the best product I can. My passion for art runs ii afement and support my wnfinitely deep. I do believe that by producing the best I can, the rest of the strategy works much smoother. I apply this while striving to be in the moment.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I studied art at Chicago Academy of Fine Art and Columbia College in Chicago. Not long after college I married and had a family. I went to work painting and decorating for over 30 years. During this time I still created art but not as an occupation. Around the age of 50 I made a decision to follow my passion, thinking, its now or never. Was it easy? Yes and no. Yes, it is much easier to follow my passion. Much easier to work from home. No- the art world comes with new sets of obstacles. You can always find room in your mind for new problems. Artwork has given such joy. I consider my artwork to be Renewable Energy. Meaning you feel renewed with each viewing. I always strive to evoke emotion with my art.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would take my friend to some of my favorite Nature sites. Camping, eating at some of the local places and also grilling, and with my friend always a cooler of beer. We’d go to Illini State Park in Marseilles Il. This is on the Illinois river, I love to kayak there. Then to Starved Rock State park, just down river in Illinois. From there we head north to the upper peninsula of Michigan to Porcupine Mountains State Park. Beautiful old growth forest on the shore of Lake Superior.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many that I have learned from. My parents allowed me the opportunity to follow a creative path. My teacher Pat Olsen at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts taught me how to paint. My friend, Vic Fuentes helped free my mind . Sam Cicero of Cicero’s Development Corp. helped me on a path of self help where I realized “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” I am always a student, the teacher is everywhere. The encouragement and support my wife has always given me, which is so appreciated.