Friday marks the start of the Chinese New Year. Many believe it is the time for fresh starts and new transformations. Mark Yee is one man who boldly embodies all that.
As a first generation Chinese American, he grew up believing the path to success was in a lucrative career as a banker or lawyer. For two decades he followed that plan and landed a high paying job as a data analyst for the Federal Reserve.
That's until the day he picked up a paint brush at a local art class.
"I was amazed how the paint looked on the canvas. It started coming out really fun as I was adding all these layers," remembers Yee.
That canvas was a turning point for Yee.
A year later, he ditched the fancy Federal Reserve Building for a funky art studio.
With no formal training, Yee not only found his passion but success, in something miles away from the game plan. His diverse collection of art work began showing in galleries all over Chicago.
In a nod to his own roots, Yee has recently embraced work on Chinese War Horses.
The Golden Triangle store downtown Chicago has a special installation of his work now through April in honor of the Chinese New Year.
Yee says he is grateful and amazed for the path he has followed as an artist. More specifically, that a data guy could turn into a painter that brushes new life into the old art of painting.
"I know a painting is done when I'm putting all the layers on because I stop giving back and step back and the paining starts giving to me...and I feel it. I want other people to feel that too."