A 69-year-old post office worker who renders paintings for silk scarves that retail for over $300? Yep. Recently I stumbled across a Texas Monthly article that profiled Kermit Oliver, "one of the most important living African-American painters" and the "only American artist to design a scarf for Hermès," an ultra-luxury French brand. The introverted Oliver, who still works the graveyard shift at his local Waco, Texas, post office, was first offered the gig in 1980. The president of Hermès' U.S. operations had asked Lawrence Marcus, the executive vice president of Neiman Marcus, if he knew someone who could render a Southwest-themed scarf design. Marcus suggested Oliver, and 16 scarves later, Oliver is still painting for Hermès.
I'm obsessed with Japanese contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama for lots of reasons but one sentence can sum it up: She's inspiring. Kusama, 83, has chosen to live in Japan's Seiwa Hospital for the Mentally Ill for about 30 years for multiple issues, and has still created art that is in worldwide demand. She is best known as an avant-garde, pop art purveyor of repetition and patterns (see video,to the right). But she also shines as an abstract artist, providing a minimalist perspective that has been recognized and acknowledged by the art community. Not only is that inspiring to me, but it's a testament that you can and continue to be successful at any age.
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