Every now and then it’s a good idea to take notes from someone who has already been in a situation similar to yours. This is why we think that wise words from EMU alumnus Rocco Pisto are definitely post-worthy. Pisto graduated from EMU with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1974. During his time at EMU Pisto was a member of Tau Epsilon Phi fraternity, he wrote for the Eastern Echo, he played JV Tennis, he was in of Greek Council and 1974 he was the first person ever to be voted Greek of the Year. He speaks very highly of his time at EMU “The experience resonates in my mind,” said Pisto, “I’m still friends with many people I met there.”
Pisto is currently Vice President of Sales at Professional Computers, Inc, PCI. PCI is a Troy, MI based company, however, Pisto works in the satellite office in Powell, OH. Now you may be wondering how someone with a B.F.A ended up in the computer sales field, right? Well art is definitely Pisto’s passion. Originally he wanted to be an art professor at a college or university. He was even on the track for the Masters program at EMU.
Pisto's "Homecoming 2008" (c)
One of Pisto’s art projects was to do some painting in a Latino community in Detroit (Near the Ambassador Bridge for you Michiganders) . It was there that he was offered a change of pace. “A guy saw my work ethic and offered me a job to help minority businesses in the area” Pisto said, “He taught me how to put together loans and contracts.” Pisto took a few classes to learn accounting and budgeting as well. Pisto was doing well but the career change was very difficult fro him. “My passion is art, I am an artist ,but I felt I needed to get a real job,” he said.
Though Pisto has been working at his current company for about 23 years, a life challenge made him realize that he needed to get back to his passion. About 5 years ago Pisto’s best friend (whom he met during his years at EMU) passed away in a cancer related death. Pisto was painting a picture of one of the many vacations the two had taken together when he decided to get back into art. “I had been dabbling here and there” says Pisto, “but now I crank out as much as I can on weekends and evenings.”
Pisto regrets ever losing sight of his passion for art. He knows that he has always had a gift, even as far back as his EMU days. “The paintings I did in college are ones I’m still selling now” Pisto said, “I just sold one last week.” Among many other things, Pisto is currently working on a 50th anniversary mural painting for his alma mater Riverside High School, in Dearborn Heights, MI. He will also be featured in the Michigan Watercolor Society’s gallery in Traverse City, MI this August. His new project goal is to have artwork displayed in one of EMU’s art galleries on campus. Pisto is glad that he is now able to find enough balance in life to focus on his passion. His advice to recent alumni is as follows:
Pisto's "Nigh Lakeview" (c)
“Pick your career choice with PASSION. Even if it pays minimum wage, or even nothing. Take the job and use it as an opportunity to grow and flourish your talent will be recognize and things will start to happen. Too many of us don’t go into our CHOSEN field because we look for quick or easy money. We miss so many opportunities when we do that. Just stick it out.”