Artistic and creative careers are among the most rewarding, but they also come with unique challenges. We asked some of the city’s best creatives to tell us why they choose to pursue a creative career.

Aliscia Marie Gilmore | Content Creator

I’ve been a creative my whole life, I honestly believe creativity chose me. I was the little girl that sketched women’s clothing instead of playing outside and told other kids what they were doing wrong in art class. So I knew at a very young age that I would be a part of a field that allowed me to use my creativity in an efficient way. Read more>>

Crystal Gray | Photographer/Videographer

I have been telling stories since I was a young girl, in fact I wrote my first book in kindergarten which was bound, wrapped and placed in my school’s library. This goes to show creativity is rooted in my DNA. When grew older, my passion was for print journalism but two years before graduating, the changes in the journalism industry meant that I had to pivot. I am fortunate to have received counsel from my professor and broadcast veteran during this time and switched to pursue broadcast journalism instead. Read more>>

Brandi.jae | Culinary Artist & Food Photographer

From childhood, I have always been a creative/artistic in nature. I always gravitated to the arts of many forms: poetry, painting, dancing, drawing, etc. As an adult, we often forget about our childhood loves and talents when we go through the motions of day to day living (work, school, families, etc), leaving our childhood dreams on the back burner. During the pandemic, I had more time to tap into that creative space once again, and I realized a career in the artistic/creative field is something that would fulfill me more, and I would get to inspire others as well. Read more>>

Morgan Stroope | Wood Artist

I pursued woodworking because I love having a creative outlet. Being able to bring a project to life with my own hands is so gratifying. And I love what it does for my mental health. The creative process is so exciting and having a tangible piece of art at the end is very rewarding. Read more>>

Crystal Alicia Garrett | Actress/Recording Artist/Model

I grew up singing in the church choirs and my church family was always supportive and I could tell I moved some of them when I sang. But your church fam is always gonna be kind (Thank God) but I really wanted to know if I could reach the masses with my voice, so I entered a pageant. Miss Sophomore at my high school. That night, I sang to an entire theater audience of most who didn’t know me from Adam! So this was the perfect test. I sang “Still I Rise” by Yolanda Adams and when I was finished, the audience erupted with applause and screams, and I got a standing ovation. It put the whole pageant on pause before they could move on to the next contestant. I just went back stage and cried! And everyone backstage including the other contestants ran up to me and hugged me and said what a great job they thought I did. I didn’t know what to do with that reaction. All I knew was…. I had something special and I wanted to keep sharing it. Read more>>

Sara Cunningham | Instagram Influencer (Food)

Creativity has always been a part of me and is naturally something I bring into everything I do. Even from a young age, I was always pretty outside the box and messed around with my parents’ cameras and made little videos with friends. So even though what I am doing is just for fun and not a “job,” it’s been a great way to push myself and get to experiment with new things. Read more>>

Trá Harriott | Entrepreneur

Art, in general, allows for creative freedom, expression, growth, and self-reflection. It’s a world that has no boundaries. Though many can critique your art, at the end of the day, only the artist’s perspective matters. You can decide to put as much or as little of yourself into your piece. Art is the ultimate stage of vulnerability because you put yourself before the world to be viewed, critiqued, appreciated, and accepted. You can do whatever you want, be whoever you want to be, see whatever you want to see, say whatever you want to say, etc. That’s absolutely amazing to have a career that allows you to be that vulnerable, and still provides security and comfort within that vulnerability. Read more>>

LaTasha Duggan | Owner of Dope Carvings

One word, OUTLET! I had so much built up inside of me after retiring from the Air Force and taking on this new life. I really needed something to do when the house was quiet. I’ve always found that being creative or artistic was a sure way to make one relax and have fun! When you’re able to put your ideas on paper or create things it brings a sense of calm. Being able to build things is like therapy in a sense. It’s an unexplainable high, a rush of endorphins running throughout your body! I believe we’re most creative when we’ve experienced things in our lives; may it be “gone through some things good or bad”. It’s easy to pull from your everyday life to create something beautiful. All creatives have a way of doing so. Ultimately, it brings a sense of peace over you by helping release positive energy into the world! Read more>>

DQTHEGOAT | Recording Artist

For as long as I can remember I’ve always had a passion for music. I remember writing my own songs at the age of 12. I also come from a musical background. My mother’s side of the family were singers and rappers. My father’s side being talented musicians, so I guess you can say music is in my blood. I started to pursue this dream once I realized I had talent and others enjoyed my music. Read more>>

Big A | Musician/Rapper/songwriter

I think it was something that I was just kind of drawn to. My mom is a big music head when it comes to the old school. She was the lead in her band back in the day lol So I grew up on a lot of funk, soul and R&B. Definitely credit her a lot for my passion. grandmother plays piano too they had me in this little family choir group when I was was a kid lol. I love it. I love being in the moment and creating. I just wanna do what I love. Read more>>

Jaunaé Freeman | Photographer

As a kid my parents were always carrying around disposable & VHS cameras. To this day I can still go back and watch my entire childhood on film. I picked up my fathers love for chronicling every part of life when I was young. Now, I couldn’t imagine working a regular 9-5 job job. I was always good in school, but I was never interested; I didn’t feel like I was actually learning anything. I tried the traditional path after graduating from high school. I went to University for Neuroscience for a year and half – which completely drained me mentally and I absolutely hated it. Read more>>

Hillary Urgelles | @Safarishoot Photographer and Content Creator

Creativity and art have always been in my veins.I’d like to say that I inherited it from someone, but in my family there are very few artists, I would say. When I was 12 years old I wanted a camera roll with a negative, and my mom and dad gave it to me on my birthday. Two years later, when I was 14 I got my first digital camera and then when I was 17 my first professional camera DSLR. Art it’s something that has been inside me, I know I still have to learn a lot, I have the motivation to improve every day to become better. Read more>>

Rodney Nelson | Event Coordinator & HMI Systems Operator

I believe that being raised in an entrepreneurial environment as a kid really developed my creative side.. Paying attention to the different cultures and how things develop around you. I think there is always a why, to how people react to the service you are rendering to them. Throughout the years I’ve learned that your life is your canvas, and everyone has their own uniqueness. The expression , the connection , the giving , really feels great. Its an opportunity. Read more>>

Carli Robe | Comedian

I pursued an artistic/creative career because I’ve had many different jobs and being a comedian has been the first and only job where I felt like I’m really making a difference in this world. It gives me a sense of purpose and I feel that I can truly change lives through comedy. Read more>>

Antoinette Blocker | Makeup/Lash Artist

I pursued an artistic or creative career because it allows me to express myself without having to say a word. It allows me to express my personality while making others feel beautiful and their best self possible. Read more>>

Volt | Music Producer & Creative Director

Being a Musician is a challenging path to take on, Growing Up, Music was everything, I grew up in a home that listened to different genre of music. I develop ears for good melodies, I love a great tune and cache Melodies, Would say I did not pursue an artistic career, It choose Me, Found myself doing something I loved and going after it was the best decision I made, Making Music gives me a sense of responsibility, Being creative helps me realize that you have more control of things around you and or decision making. I do Feel we all have something to offer in a creative sense and its the responsibility of every individual to utilize their potential and share among each other. So Yes I Did pursue an artistic and creative career because I want to share possibilities of Imaginations and taking on a Leadership Role. Read more>>

James Leonardo Linares | Singer/Songwriter, Audio Engineer and Entrepreneur.

Music is my accomplice on my pursuit for freedom. Inevitably, my entrepreneurial ventures are deeply tied and fueled by my creative output. Moreover, the desire to make my way while preserving a sense of adventure simply does not fit within the more conventional socio-economic constructs of the workforce. Instead of conforming to traditional boss-employee dynamics, I thrive in environments of collaboration where these hierarchies are elastic and even inexistent. Music has provided me with this environment and opportunities. Read more>>

Precious Latimore | Nail Artist

To be honest. it’s deep …but to simplify it…self discovery. I was blessed to grow up in a family full of creatives. And at the age of 5, my beloved mother had already deemed me an artist. I never acknowledged any of this though. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out who I was and where I was going in life. So much that I stopped painting, drawing or creating anything. After graduating college, my mother passed and I was so confused about my future. I like to think youth gave me grace, but the more I grew… the more I wanted to start living intentionally. I began painting and drawing again. Read more>>

Geoff Mitchell | Photographer

I’ve always felt a strong desire for self-expression and individuality throughout my life. Whether it was through art, photography, or music, I yearned for the ability to create something out of nothing; something unique that others might connect with as well. That drive is what pushed me to pursue photography as a career. I’ll be honest though, turning a passion into a profession seemed implausible and unattainable for a very long time. Diving headfirst into a career filled with uncertainty is a scary thought, especially for someone who longs for stability and hates surprises! Luckily, I have an amazing support system and am surrounded by artistic, inspiring people that have really pushed me to create and do something I truly believe in. Read more>>

Brittany Combs | Owner and CEO of BMC Designs LLC.

My parents will say that I didn’t always want to be a fashion designer. For the most part of my childhood I wanted to be a veterinarian. That was up until I formed a needle phobia and then vet school was out of the question haha However, I seemed to thrive in art class and started carrying a sketchbook around with me wherever I went. My pursuit of a fashion career started when I designed my 8th grade graduation dress. Even though I did not sew the dress myself, it was at that time I knew I wanted to be a Fashion Designer. I wanted to be able to take a sketch or idea and make it come to life. Read more>>