IN THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS…NEVER QUIT DREAMING The Story of Art Nunez

Chicago Portrait Photographer

Meet Art Nunez an old high school friend. He is a constant creator, that is best know for his sense of humor and his talent on the guitar.  You can find him making people chuckle with his continuous Facebook humor @ Cinful Art.   

Chicago Portrait Photographer
“Do what you are going to do. Along the way you just trouble shooting.”



This is the home you grew up in. How old were you when you moved out? 

I moved out when I was seventeen. I rented a apartment, I wanted to work, I wanted to do what I wanted do without someone telling me what to do, when to do it, or when I can’t do it! I never moved back home. Eventually, my mom moved in with me. I just starting working and never stopped.
As a kid what did you dream about becoming when you grew up? 
That depends on how far back we go. Originally, I wanted to be a cartoonist. I always love to draw and I had an over active imagination. I loved making people laugh by doing goofy drawings. Cartooning was my first realization that I loved to create. Then, when I was twelve I started playing music and from there I always wanted to be a rock star. I got my first guitar when  I was ten, but didn’t start really playing until I was twelve. That is when I got my first amp. After that, I fell off the face of the earth. All I wanted to do was jam on the guitar while day dreaming of playing giant arenas with those little tiny speakers. I would be jamming on the guitar while jumping off my bed and going crazy. I am still doing that to this day. The only difference is that I do it live!
Did your parents encourage you to be creative? 

No. They thought I was a dreamer and I wouldn’t amount to anything. I really didn’t get any support from them for anything I wanted to do. Their idea was work hard! Basically, their advice was to go to a job, work hard and be the best you can be at that job. You are not too good for any job. That is what I did. I settled for any job and became the best I could be at that job, but I was miserable.
At this point in your life are you happy where you are at? 
I am happier than I have ever been. Granted, my rock and roll dreams have come and gone.  However, I am still playing live and I have a creative outlet.

If there is one significant thing in your life right now you could change, what would it be? 

Right now? I think I changed everything to be who I am now. I don’t think I could or need to change anything right now in my life. Everything to this point in my life has had its purpose. It has molded my into the person I am today. I am very happy!!
Can you share one of your most vivid childhood memories? 
Going back into my childhood is a little dark. I had a very depressing  childhood. Very few people know most of this stuff. The most vivid moment was one afternoon about noon. I was six years old and I got called into the office at school and officer friendly was waiting for me. I walked in the office and he said he needed to drive me to my Uncle’s house. I got really scared. When I got to my uncles house he told me there had been an accident.  He said my house burnt down and everybody was in the hospital. The first person I saw when we got to the hospital was my mom. My mom had third degree burns on parts of her face and body. They wouldn’t let me see my other two brothers or my father. My two year old brother was dead on arrival and my three old brother was in critical condition. I just shut down, I was in total sock. When we got home that night to my Uncle’s house we were watching the news. The story of our house fire came on and that’s how I found out that my three year old brother that was in intensive care had passed away.  That is my most vivid memory. It completely changed my life because everything completely fell apart after that. That experience shaped my into who I am today and why I do what I do on the community.
What accomplishment are you most proud of? 
My kids, of course. I am most proud of them. A father is something I never thought I would be. It’s something you cannot prepare for. They are growing up to be amazing people.
What has been the biggest obstacle over the years of staying creative? 
Work!! Having to work a day job to earn enough money.  It’s just something you have to do. Fortunately, I finally have a day job that allows me to still be creative.
How do you balance the 9 to 5 and family life while still being creative? 
 
My wife is super supportive, but there are some obstacles there. I want to be part of the kids growing up and the wife and I love each others company.  Most of the time, she will come to my gigs and we get to experience it together, which is pretty awesome.  Our thirteen wedding anniversary is coming up. She is so amazing and supports me all the way!
Do you have any advice for those people struggling with the dreaded 9 to 5? 
I firmly believe where your mind wanders is here you heart is. You just have to figure out how to get to that place you mind keeps wandering to. There is a reason your mind goes were it goes.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your younger self? 
Do what you are going to do. Be who you want to be. Follow your dreams. As long as you believe in them you can achieve them!! That is the most friction I got from my teachers and my family members. They said I was wasting my time. It could be so hard to become a musician. Ok sure, absolutely, at least I wanted them to give me a chance to try it. If I fell on my face so be it. I could have gone to follow the rest of the herd and do my 9 to 5 job. I didn’t want them to influence me to not pursue it!!!!
“Do what you are going to do. Along the way you are just trouble shooting.”

Here is an image that has stuck with me from my childhood. I went back to visit my grandparents in Chihuahua Mexico shortly after the accident. I remember going to work with my uncle who was a brick maker. They did it old school back then, they would gather adobe and bake it in a huge oven. One day, we walked across this railroad track with nothing on the sides. I was so terrified. My little feet fit perfectly between the wooden tracks which had to be 70-80 feet high. That railroad bridge has stuck with over the years, just because of how it made my feel that day. When I came across this image below on the internet it moved me and made me relive that walk.

Thank you for sharing, Art. It was great to get to know you a little better.
With every story I take a little bit of the conversation with me. It helps me understand, even though life is often not fair, we can still make of it what we want. We are in charge of our destiny despite the road we must travel to get there. I will leave you with one of my favorite sayings…or my variation of a popular saying:
Things happen for a reason. Yes they do and that reason is you!

 

 

Author: shawn@shawnkinney.com

The Short: I am commercial portrait photographer, a native Chicagoan and an avid dog lover. When not behind the camera, you can me find out creating new experiences with my fiancé Renea and our Border Collie Cooper. The Long: After working construction for nearly 10 years, I felt I needed more, so I left Chicago in 2000 to explore the West Coast. I spent a decade in the Nevada Desert and four years in the Pacific Northwest discovering a love for photography while roaming breath taking sand dunes and scaling mountain ranges. That love is now my passion. I’ve finally come back home to Chicago and my Cubs, but I carry with me experiences that have shaped me into the person and photographer that I am today. I met many wonderful and amazing people during my travels, some of whom I love to call friends and my journey has allowed me to connect with people on every level, adapt to any situation. “Your ability to thrive in any environment and any situation rests not primarily on what you do, but who you are as a person, an individual; a human being”.

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