Initially, I went to college for mechanical engineering like my parents had always wanted me to. That first year, I flunked out. I had to face the fact that I sucked at math and it made me feel really bad about myself. Since I had always hated school, this was my tipping point. The whole experience destroyed my self-esteem, and I felt like I would never be able to contribute to society.
It was really my wife that pushed me to be an artist. I was first inspired to try doing art when I visited San Francisco and saw spray paint art on the street. Since I was only 16, I had to ask my now mother-in-law to buy me spray paint after school so I could make posters to sell the next day. Later during my senior year of high school, I signed up for a ceramics class. I wasn’t interested in the subject, but I needed my art requirement to graduate and I thought the class would be easy. This was the first time my wife saw me have a passion for something, but I ignored her because I thought that pursuing art wasn’t a practical option. When I failed my third engineering class in college, she began pushing me to do what she knew I would be much happier doing. I was really stubborn about leaving engineering for art, but eventually she won me over. I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to support myself because I was stuck on the idea of the “starving artist.”
My parents were really not onboard about me being an artist. I had no artists in my family, and none of us even knew any artists besides the almighty Bob Ross. It took a lot of convincing to get them to help me go back to school for art. I felt a lot of pressure the next time around to make something of myself.
While working at Costco and doing my fine art degree during the day, I taught myself digital art online at night. I sketched on my lunches and breaks, bought all the online classes and videos I could afford, and reached out to artists I looked up to see how I could improve. It took me almost two years after graduating until I got my start on the Disney Jr. show Puppy Dog Pals. To this day, it’s still hard to believe what I get to do for a living. I don’t know, I just feel really blessed as it's truly privilege. I had to work past a lot of fear, doubt, and obstacles until I got to where I am now. When you want something bad enough, you will find a way.