Former UCF football player Aaron Evans finds new passion in art, murals

"My love from art came from doing arts and crafts and art projects with my mom growing up," said Aaron Evans.

Evans is a former UCF knights national champion offensive lineman — turned artist. He played at UCF between 2013-2017, according to his UCF bio.

"I would just draw in meetings. I'd get in trouble because I would draw the logo of the team we were playing that week, or I'd draw the coach, while he was talking," said Evans.

After UCF, Evans tried his hand at the NFL and pro football, but never made a career of it. He was cut by the Eagles, and played for the Orlando Apollos for a league that ultimately folded.

"I knew that I didn't want to work for anyone. I knew that I didn't want a nine to five somewhere. I knew that I didn't want to sit in a cubicle every day. I told myself that I was gonna start investing in my skill-sets as an artist," said Evans.

That investing paid off because Evans has now created murals for people all over the state, including several at his alma mater's football stadium. He also sells his artwork online.

While he's made a career out of it, for him, it's all about connecting with people.

"The connecting with people is really what inspires me about it. Because art is such a unique medium and vehicle to just talk to really a lot of different types of people. Because each image that you create opens a door to a whole other class or group of people that you wouldn't normally have the opportunity to speak to," he said.

When it comes to the art world, Evans told FOX 35 that he doesn't really bring up much of his football past, but there are some people who are aware of it, and it brings out some interesting reactions.

"I literally have to convince people at my art shows that I'm the artist. No one expects it out of me. I remember I was doing a live painting at some party and the owner of the place came up to me, he was like 'you're such a big man, and you paint such beautiful, delicate things, it's so bizarre,'" said Evans.

Whether it's the time he now spends teaching art therapy to kids or at risk people, or his work on murals or paintings, Evans has found his true calling.

"I just feel a huge amount of gratitude, because I know where I've come from, and I can kinda see where I'm going for the first time in my life and I know that each brush stroke, each mural that I do is sort of leading that way, to that goal, and it's just, it's wonderful," said Evans.