Painter Scott Kahn worries he’s running low on inventory. These days, the 76-year-old’s work is in high demand. One of his paintings recently sold for $1.2 million — far more than the few thousand dollars it used to sell for.
His paintings were once rarely noticed, and Kahn was convinced he would die the way he lived most of his life: as a starving artist.
“I was convinced I would die in obscurity and poverty,” he told CBS News.
But his dedication always remained firm, and his luck changed dramatically a few years ago when he struck up an unlikely friendship with a reclusive artist named Matthew Wong.
Kahn said the two had a “spiritual connection” and as Wong began finding more and more success, he would purchase and promote Kahn’s work on his Instagram page.
“That’s what triggered this enormous interest in my work. People started streaming through my studio door, collectors, dealers, other artists. And it went on nonstop,” Kahn said.
Sadly, Wong never got to see his friend’s accomplishments. He died by suicide in 2019 at the age of 35.
Kahn, who called Wong a “soulmate,” is now continuing on the path that Wong helped him carve.
“He’s very dedicated, and obsessed,” said celebrated art dealer Mary Boone. “You need obsession.”
Boone said his work has primitive and spiritual aspects to it and speaks to people because of its “dreamlike quality.”
“I think people are interested in things that they don’t completely understand,” she said.
Kahn doesn’t pretend to understand his late success, but is happy it allows him to continue his passion. He still lives a frugal life and said he was always satisfied simply by his work.
“I have two priorities. One is life. And the other is freedom,” Kahn said. “I love my painting. I will never stop painting. But life is– what a journey it is. And at this point in my life, that has become more important to me than anything else.”