When it comes to careers that are full of promise, "artist" typically doesn't top the list.
Although creativity and its many iterations are often the driving forces behind what keeps humanity trudging along, the confines of traditional success tend to draw distinct lines between themselves and art.
And this is a phenomenon with which tattoo artist Mo Ganji is all too familiar. His rise to corporate success at a young age was comfortable, admirable, and sensible. Although he was an expert climber as far as the corporate ladder was concerned, he wasn't sleeping at night. Something more important rattled behind his ribcage, and it was just active enough to convince him that comfort, admiration, and sense would never give him the life he wanted.
Ganji, like most artists, was born with a third eye of sorts — one that sees the world from a different angle and guides him through the creative process.
Although he's been drawing and painting since the second he experienced the satisfaction of creation, his most recent tattoo work has garnered considerable attention.
With one line, he creates compelling images that translate into tattoos drawn in a style that is utterly singular.
Just as impressive as his artistic process is the process that got him from point A to point B — from the office to the tattoo shop. "It all started with a thought I had long before I stepped into the corporate jungle," he explained to ViralNova. "It took about a year before that thought turned into a serious idea, and another year before the idea became concrete enough for me to act on it."
He was eating lunch with a close friend one day when he was posed with an important question.
His confidante asked, "What do you have to lose? If it doesn't work out, you can always go back to doing what you're doing right now." In that moment, the artist knew exactly what he had to do.
After thinking about the root of his hesitation, he knew that fear was the only thing holding him back.
"Fear is the paste that holds society together and keeps it working," he writes. "It ensures that most people will never develop and achieve their full potential. You never know what will happen, and this is the most exciting quality of life. Imagine living 100 years and realizing that nothing ever really happened to you. Nothing was accomplished. Isn't that a terrible thought?"
When his friends Isi and Momo put a tattoo gun in his hand for the first time, a whole new life was born. Since that moment, he's put every ounce of energy into his craft.
His signature style developed just as spontaneously. "The whole one-line thing happened overnight, really," he said. While drafting a three-headed deer design for a client, he scribbled a one-line version of the drawing as well. When the client laid eyes on the latter, he chose that one to stay with him forever.
From that moment forward, people started asking for one-line tattoos of their own.
Ganji believes that he inherited the gift of an ambitious soul from his father.
While most parents of a successful son in the corporate world would be stunned upon hearing that their child was going to leave everything he worked for in the dust, his decision wasn't questioned. His family understands the power of a passionate soul.
"It goes without saying that I would not be where I am at today without the love and support of my friends and family," he writes. It's this level of support that's not often received by those who chose to leave it all behind for art.
"When you choose this life," he continues, " you are pretty much left on your own, and you have to rely on your abilities to bear daily challenges. You cannot hide behind the logo of a big cooperation and try to fly under the radar. You pay a price for independence, but it's absolutely worth it."
When asked what he noticed about the world after making such a huge lifestyle shift, his initial response was simple: "an incredible deceleration of life."
In his words, "We live in a system in which people do things they don’t want to in order to pay for things they don’t need. Ever since I started doing what I love, I have lost a lot of appreciation for money and material things."
"Time is the most precious commodity in my life, and I treat it as if it were gold."