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.

HAK7M FARAJI | HIP HOP ARTIST

I pursued my career as an artist because at one point in my life, it was all I had. Before moving back to Atlanta, I was homeless like foreal down bad and the only thing that kept me afloat was the ability to record on a cheap ps4 microphone. Even in dire times, music has always followed me, however it wasn’t my first choice. But after all these years of it gravitating to my space, I have decided to actualize it as a profession. Read more>>

Eric Mack | Artist

I feel like I pursued an artistic career because I grew up in supportive and creative household that nurtured my ideas. Both of my parents provided the resources that I needed to explore all avenues of artistic expression. I’ve always visualized ideas in my mind, and had the ability to bring them to life. As a third grader, the hip hop culture was very influential in the early days of my creative growth. The hip hop sound flashed like fireworks in my mind. I also delved into the Breakdancing trend that was spreading like wildfire. All the kids in school were into it, and I would sell drawings of “breakers” in a variety of dance poses. I’d sell them for twenty five cents and with each purchase my classmates made, my confidence rose. This early venture planted the seed of realizing that I could make and sell work that people desired. In fifth grade, I also created my own blueprints for skateboard ramps, and build them with my dad. We lived on two acres of land, and I had plenty of space to build my ramps. Read more>>

Mary Rooks | Owner of Mae Rooks Beauty, Makeup Artist/Hairstylist

I think Willie Nelson said it perfectly,” I think I need to keep being creative, not to prove anything but because it makes me happy just to do it…I think trying to be creative, keeping busy, has a lot to do with keeping you alive.” Read more>>

Alphonso Whitfield | Producer, Photographer, Filmmaker

A decade ago, my reasoning at the time was solely based on the fact that I had always been toying around with cameras, and I loved soaking up information about photographers and filmmakers. It felt, and still feels like, being a photographer is a gift to see life and everything in it with a second set of eyes that can make memories permanent. It’s amazing that people trust me to see them, their products, their stories, or whatever they want, in a light that only they have imagined. It took years for me to translate what I loved about art into practices I could use while working for more commercial clients. In that time I managed to find myself in an abstract light as well. The commercial and artistic eyes work in tandem. I wouldn’t have known it back then, but in the present day I can say I decided to pursue an artistic/creative career because I love sharing the visions of the people and world around me and my favorite way to do this is through film and photography. Read more>>

Trence King | One half of the Atlanta rock band Dear Shadow

We have always had an undying love for music and creativity. We consider ourselves students of the music because we are always striving to learn more about music and how it relates to humanity. We wanted to make something that all people could enjoy. Read more>>

Newlah Hinds | Caterer and Farmers Market Organizer

Initially I pursued a nice stable career in nursing. I hated going to class every day and eventually I hated going to work daily. I’ve always drawn, sang or painted and right around highschool I began to bake and that’s when I really started to feel like myself. After a few life events I kinda fell into my creative career path. Read more>>

Somalia | R&B Soul Singer and Songwriter

Music is what has always come naturally to me. I am very passionate about it, and I’ve been able to do it with ease because I’ve always been good at performing arts. Throughout grade school, I performed, I was in the chorus, and I enjoyed it so I knew I wanted to pursue a career as a music artist. Read more>>

David Smith | Founder of 10th Cloud

Music is me. My life wouldn’t be the same without it. There is so much power in music. I use it to uplift people. To take them to the 10th Cloud. Read more>>

Tara Love | Singer & Songwriter

Music is powerful. I have many attributes to myself, including a bachelors degree. But, music truly makes me feel good. It is an indescribable feeling, especially when you create music. For instance, from the time I receive an instrumental to the time I write and record is such an amazing experience. Being able to hear the composition after it is completed is surreal. It also feels like an accomplishment. Because, being an artist is diligent work—from branding yourself to the songs you choose to release. I chose this path to continually create and rearrange my essence by using my words and voice, and help from producers, by using their beats. Read more>>

Ali Seeya | Published Fashion & Portrait Photographer

Well for starters, I’m a Pisces. So, I think it’s generally within our nature to pursue a hobby or career in the “artsy” world. I love everything involving the arts, whether it’s music, writing, film/tv, architecture, etc. It’s just something that’s always fascinated me. I guess you could say that photography is what stuck with me the most. Read more>>

Gary The Destroyer | Musician & Visual Artist

I always had this love for art and music I couldn’t explain since day one, and I feel like there’s no limit to being an artist/creator…you can literally be or create whatever you want, it’s crazy. There’s no rules or “rights and wrongs” to being who you wanna be when you create a universe for yourself, so i decided around 17 years old to start creating that universe for myself. Very liberating. Read more>>