Just out of college in the mid-1990s, western artist Jason Rich had a decision to make. He'd spent a year putting his art-education degree to work, originally figuring a teaching job would fit perfectly into his plan to develop his own artwork.
"I quickly realized that I was either going to be a good teacher who painted once in a while, or a crummy teacher who painted a lot,"Jason admits. "And I couldn't be the latter. I enjoyed teaching, but it just didn't leave me much time to paint."
So Jason and his wife, Kari, made a decision. He gave up his guaranteed paycheck and headed for the Jackson, Wyoming, art galleries in search of someone willing to give an up-and-coming painter a break.
"I had a friend who'd hit the galleries right out of school, and he convinced me to give it a shot,"Jason confesses. "I just figured it was the right time to do it. Either you try it when you're young, or you have to wait until you're 60 and a little more established. Those are the two times most people can afford to take a chance on being an artist. Trying to do it somewhere in the middle, when you've got a family to support, is a tough way to go."