On Centre | Around Bellefonte: Artist goes back to roots to help make ends meet

When former Bellefonte resident Scott Laufer, 26, gave up his pursuit of drawing at an early age, he didn’t realize his former hobby would one day help him piece his life together.

Laufer, who was born in Philadelphia, spent his high school years in Bellefonte.

One of his earliest interests as a child was drawing, he said, an interest that was left behind at about age 13.

“I remember distinctly having a thought at one point like, ‘I guess that part of my life is over,’ ” he said.

After one year of college, Laufer dropped out at the age of 18 and moved to Los Angeles.

With only $350 in his pocket, he said, he had no friends, no direction and no idea what he was going to do.

After trying his hand at commercial acting, he gave up.

A few years later, he said, he was at the hardest point in his life. He had been fired from his job right after signing a lease for a studio apartment.

What followed were several “terrible months” during which he would often go for a week living on a tub of peanut butter and a loaf of bread.

“My phone got cut off every month,” he said.

“My lights got cut off, not to mention the bed bugs and roaches. Worst of all, I was alone.”

During his time in Los Angeles, Laufer had the opportunity to return home a few times, he said.

He would see his younger sister drawing as he once did, filling her room with more and more drawings every year.

“I think that piqued my interest,” he said, “and I began to pick up the pencil once again.

“What else was I going to do?”

His mother suggested oil painting, he said, and sent him a set of paints.

He hated it at first, but didn’t want the paints to beat him.

“I felt like the only thing I could start to control in my life was the paint,” he said.

He would visit the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Getty Center museum multiple times a week, he said.

He could “look at Veronese’s “Allegory of Navigation” a hundred times and learn something new with each viewing.”

In December 2012, Laufer returned to Bellefonte for a month to get away from the distractions of the city and to paint, he said.

He wanted to see if he could finally get control of this medium.

Since then, he has continued to pursue this painting, particularly in the styles of the great masters, he said. Peter Paul Rubens and William-Adolph Bouguereau are among his favorite painters.

His next body of work will expand on his exploration of documenting and representing the creative people who surround him, he said.

“Living in L.A. gives me the unique opportunity to do something that the great portrait painters of the past did,” he said, “which is document many of the culturally influential people of their day and age.”

Laufer exhibits some of his work on his website,