Friday, June 5, 2009
KC Magazine Interview
Jeff was interviewed by Kimberly Stern of the KC Magazine. Read the complete article below!
100 + 10
Not all Overland Park teens can count an iconic pop star, a Hollywood director and a hip actor/musician among their pals. But unshakable optimism in the face of a devastating disease quickly captures the hearts of anyone who meets Jeffrey Owen Hanson – including Sir Elton John, Harold Ramis and Jack Black. Just 15-years old, Hanson suffers from Neurofibromatosis and is legally blind. He’s also a wunderkind artist and a fundraising machine. Since 2006, sales of his work have generated more than $100,000 for national charities and local nonprofit organizations. Last spring Hanson presented Elton John with a $1,000 check for the Elton John AIDS Foundation prior to the mega-celebrity’s inaugural Sprint Center concert. Now, a Hanson original hangs in John’s London office, and the star commissioned Hanson to create a series of paintings for his foundation’s South African home for women and children affected by AIDS. Though Hanson paints his contemporary canvases in his parents’ basement, his work truly reaches worldwide.
1. What word do you love the sound of?
Fierce. My art is fierce. My painting smock is fierce. To me it means “bold” and “explosive.”
2. Who is your favorite musician?
I grew up listening to Elton John because my mom and dad are big fans. I even named a painting I gave to E.J. “View From the 22nd Row” as a tribute to one of my favorite songs, “Candle in the Wind.”
3. What do you like on your pizza ?
No sauce and lots of cheese – mozzarella, parmesan, cheddar and provolone.
4. If you had to leave Kansas City forever, what would your last meal be?
An all-American cheeseburger and fries, topped off with my mom’s chocolate chip cookies.
5. What was your first job?
Jeff’s Bistro, a driveway business that combined selling my hand-painted note cards along with my mom’s baked goods. I raised more than $13,000.
6. Fill in the blank: “There ought to be a law against ___________.”
Guns. I don’ think we should carry guns unless we’re an authority. Life is precious; I know that firsthand.
7. What is your guilty pleasure ?
My iPhone and Wii games. Pikmin is my current favorite. It’s fierce.
8. If you were the star in any TV show, which would it be?
Oprah’s “Big Give.” She’s trying to educate the world about the joy of giving.
9. Do you have a motto ?
Help create kinder communities, more compassionate nations and a better world for all.
10. What advice would you give to someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
Just go do it. Give to the world, and it will give back.