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This Broke And Jobless Man Found His Calling In Life When His Mother Sent Him Some Oil Paints

When he was down on his luck, Scott Laufer returned to his childhood passion. He spoke to BuzzFeed News about how he turned his life around.

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As a child in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, Scott Laufer had a passion for drawing, but his interest in art disappeared when he became a teenager.

Jory Cordy

After graduating high school, Laufer enrolled in state university, but dropped out after a semester and moved to California to find his fortune. He had “no money, no friends and no direction”.

A couple of years later, his life hit rock bottom as he got fired from his job “at a retail tech giant” just days after signing the lease on a studio apartment in Los Feliz.

Recalling that time, Laufer told BuzzFeed News: “I can remember times when I would go a week on barely more than a tub of peanut butter and a loaf of bread, saving every dollar I had for rent.

“My phone got cut off every month. My lights got cut off, not to mention the bedbugs and roaches. Worst of all, I was alone.”

During his first four years in LA, he flew home only a few times, but on each visit he witnessed his young sister’s growing interest in art.

Jory Cordy

“At some point in our childhood my younger sister picked up drawing basically where I had left off,” he said.

It was then that Laufer began contemplating a return to his childhood passion.

In the end it was his mother who convinced him to start painting again. “I was very hesitant, but she sent me a set of paints and I gave it a shot,” he recalled.

Laufer initially hated the medium he had abandoned, but was determined not to let it beat him again. “I felt like the only thing I could start to control in my life was the paint,” he recalled. So for the next year or two he took painting up as a hobby.

As his passion for art returned, Laufer found a new set of friends for the first time since moving to LA, and they actively encouraged his hobby.

In December 2012, he returned to Bellefonte for a month, bringing with him his paints and a copy of How to Paint Like the Old Masters. Using two of his four siblings as models, he produced these paintings:


He said he had no idea where his interest in painting in the style of 16th century masters came from, but it may have something to do with growing up in the woods of Pennsylvania in an antique mountain town.

He said his next body of work will explore and document the creative people around him.

Scott Laufer

“LA gives me the unique opportunity to do something that the great portrait painters of the past did, which is document many of the culturally influential people of their day and age,” he said.

Scott Laufer

“Eventually I will explore concept and scale more deeply, but for the time being, it's the portrait that interests me most. Right now I'm just working on some commissioned pieces, selling off the rest of these works that are available, and trying to quit my bartering gig."

Here he is explaining his art and inspirations.