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Colorado scenery inspires Korean-American father to paint as a way to forget his pain

Since Seok Chan Hong was diagnosed with cancer in 2013, he has made countless visits to the doctors and undergone numerous procedures and surgeries. What has gotten him through his darkest days has been a newfound talent and peaceful pasttime—painting.

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Rocky Hong and his wife Sunny

Now at the age of 59, Hong says: “The intent was never to paint the perfect canvas; I just wanted to achieve something to make my current situation a bit more bearable. I additionally would like for my eyes to be distracted by paintings rather than a blank wall to avoid the reminder of my pain.”

He acknowledges when he was first diagnosed, he fell in to a state of depressiong. “People don’t really feel the presence of death when they are healthy. When I was diagnosed, I truly felt as though I was dying.”

The turning point for Hong came when he was in the hospital and saw a painting of cotton on the wall. He was immediately inspired to paint similar artwork, but at the time was in constant pain.

“One day, I suddenly decided to make something of this inspiration and slowly began to paint,” he says.

Hong, who goes by Rocky, had previously worked as a painter’s assistance in South Korea where he helped create movie posters, but he mainly observed the artist at work. Now, spending time painting helps take his mind off of the pain.

Hong and his wife Sunny reside in Denver, but have not explored all of Colorado. Their children started a GoFundMe asking for support of their travels.

They explain: “We would like for them to travel the world so Rocky can gain more inspiration to paint by visiting other beautiful places on Earth. We believe, the more he paints, he can be emotionally, mentally and physically more capable of facing this unfair foe. “

Hong asserts that Colorado is beautiful and there are many places he would still like to visit.

He believes that certain aspects of nature that can only be discovered through physically presence. Only then would I truly feel as though I am viewing mother nature through the eyes of my brush.”

He is also thankful for his very supportive wife, who has been by his side.

“One would believe she to be suffering more than I am. It’s tedious caring for a patient like myself, but she was strong the entire way,” he says.

“Enduring daily pain is heartbreaking, but I want to live as long as possible despite the conditions, as I get to spend time with the family, my granddaughter, and be able to continue painting.”

Follow @rockypaintings on Instagram. For more information or to donate to Rocky’s travels, visit

Written by: Annie Guo VanDan

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