Faces Of Kansas City: Jeff Hanson 9-30-2010 - KCTV5 News

Faces Of Kansas City: Jeff Hanson 9-30-2010


What if one of the world's biggest rock stars invited you to a party at his mansion, or if one of the richest men on the planet talked about you in a speech?

For one local man that's not a dream.

Welcome to Jeff Hanson's world, where the combination of color and texture make for stunning results.

"What I do is abstract," he said. "I like abstract, bright, colorful stuff."

Hanson's art studio is in the basement of his parents' home in Overland Park, KS. The 17-year-old has only been painting for five years, yet some of his work hangs in the home of the rich and famous.

What's possibly most impressive is that Hanson is able to create the artworks without being able to see like most people do.

"There are holes in his vision," said Hanson's dad, Hal Hanson. "If he looks at a page of words, even with a big font, he looks at the word 'the' and he sees 'he'."

In 2006, Jeff Hanson was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis. While undergoing chemotherapy and radiation to treat a tumor on his optic nerve, he began to paint.

"We thought, maybe there's a gift here," Hal Hanson said. "The colors he put together were really amazing."

Still, concerns remained that Jeff Hanson might go blind. When the Make-A-Wish Foundation asked him what one thing he really would like to see, he said he wanted to meet Elton John.
So the two met at a concert in 2007 at the Sprint Center.

Hal Hanson said the superstar was blown away when the 12-year-old Kansas boy gave John a check to go toward his charities. It was money he had made by selling his artwork.

"Elton wasn't satisfied that that was Jeff's wish to meet him backstage and hand him a $1,000 check," the elder Hanson said. "He said, 'Jeff, have you ever been to Dubai?'"

Hanson and his parents were guests of John and have since visited him at his mansion in England, and it all started with that $1,000 donation.

Hanson's artwork has become so wildly popular that he's been able to donate just shy of $200,000 to various charities.

Julie Hanson, Jeff's mom, said millionaire Warren Buffett heard her son's story and shared it with the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting. He said, "Go take your talent and have it be a part of your job and share it with the world and you will have the happiest days on this Earth."

And how does Hanson feel about giving to people in need?

"Awesome," he said. "It makes me feel great."

UPDATE: Jeff Hanson is being profiled in the latest People magazine issue. He has reached the $1 million mark in charitable donations and he hit it at the age of 19.

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