Westport Asian American woman born without arms creates art
Westport mom Rosie Jon is a strong voice for Asian Americans, and a fierce advocate for educating others about their heritage, but that's not the only reason she inspires so many.
Jon is an artist despite being born without arms. Raised in the UK and South Korea, she learned at an early age to use her feet to do what arms would've done.
"I grew up just with this attitude knowing that I couldn't be normal, but I could choose to be extraordinary rather than ordinary," she says.
Even at an early age, Jon loved to be creative.
"I still remember the very first time I picked up a paintbrush with my toes and remember thinking, oh this is really fun," she says.
Jon initially saw art as a pastime, not her path. She went to college in London for mathematics and computer science and then pursued a career in visual effects. Her husband's job brought them to New York City and then Westport, where they've lived for 10 years and now have three kids. It was after her second child was born, while Jon was at a ministry retreat seven years ago, that a friend asked her to paint in front of the group. That ended up changing the course of her art and her life.
"That was the first time I really realized that I had this gift that I could share with others, that I had a story that could impact others. I saw myself as a paint brush that could be used to make a difference in the world," she says.
In the years since then, Jon has painted publicly throughout town including at fundraisers, Girl Scouts meetings, and other events. She also makes trips to schools, where she invites kids to join her and teaches them different is beautiful.
"We all have something that makes us uniquely us and that is something we are to embrace and love and not be afraid of. My hope is that my story will be an example of courage and perseverance and hopefully inspire many to believe that there's nothing impossible," she says.
For Jon, there's a joy in her pieces and her process.
"When I'm painting, I really feel like I'm just dancing with the paints," she says.
Jon says every time she steps in front of a blank canvas, it's a different experience with one common factor -- she's painting from the heart.
"I'm really looking forward to how this journey continues, where my art takes me and there's no limit," she says.