Deciding to pursue an artistic or creative career path isn’t for the faint of heart. Challenges will abound, but so many of the artists we speak with couldn’t be happier with their choice. So, we asked them about how they made the decision in the first place.

Nikki Rowland | Personal Chef, Caterer, Entrepreneur

I love cooking. It’s my passion. I sometimes wake up with an idea of something to prepare. Not necessarily a recipe. More so, a way to to put my own creativity on something that people love to eat. I was a single mama, working in the corporate world. STRUGGLING. Struggling financially. Struggling mentally. Struggling emotionally. And I was a rebel in that corporate world. I liked what I was doing enough to make me believe this is what I SHOULD be doing. To care for my sons. To survive. But I hated the mentality of it. Read more>>

Khing Ceaze | Recording Artist/ Ceo Brn Ryl Media Group

The freedom. The freedom from the norm, the ability to be unique and not have to worry about conformity. Every artist wants to be himself, whatever that may be, and be able to express that freely. Working jobs you tend to become a prop for the company, a representation of their philosophy and science. I wanted to create my own chemistry with the world, i wanted to be different. I just wanted to be me. Read more>>

Mckenzie Bowen | Nail artist/technician

I decided to pursue nails , because I have always had a deep passion for art and sculpting. I was always the kid in class doodling and you could always find me in my room painting or creating. Being able to put my passion onto a small canvas and make others feel beautiful is really an amazing gift and I am forever grateful to love what I do ! Read more>>

Kiera Dunn | Graphic Designer & Photographer

Since I was a kid, I’ve always loved to draw and create things. Art was a way for me to express my innermost thoughts when I couldn’t speak up. Once I got older, I realized that nothing has brought me more happiness than creating for others and I knew it was something that I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Read more>>

Caroline Stephens | Photographer & Creative Director

As someone who went through hundreds of different career options in my head growing up, I was often conflicted on the difference between passion and profit. However, upon starting my own business, I realized you could indeed achieve both – with hard work and dedication to your purpose. I chose to pursue a creative career because the opportunities are endless. I originally started college with a marketing concentration, but I soon realized that attending school, while I was good at it, diminished many of my passions. Read more>>

FCP Osama | Music artist

Jus the love I have for music it’s self .music has helped me a lot throughout my life it’s hard for me to jus talk to people so music is a way I can express myself be me and express my feelings Read more>>

Traci Harris | Owner of styled by Ace : personal styling, modeling and photography

I grew up a only child with some troubling situations. My grandmother could tell I was struggling and introduced me to musical instruments, that’s where the creativity started. My father ( even though I didn’t get to know him) was a freelance artist;I believe the two forms of artistry began to mix at a young age. Growing up I noticed that I had trouble with being able to express myself and overtime I realized that my creative side was the most effective way in expressing my emotions. Read more>>

Terrence Brisbon | Radio Personality | Dj

It’s was to gain control of the narrative when it came to my content and what was presented to the world. To be a owner is a huge step. You dictate the next move with amazing counterparts that you can align with to bring your creative thoughts to life. Read more>>

Cara Leepson | Arts Administrator, Curator

A career in the arts was never really NOT an option for me. From a very early age, I was drawn to artistic practice. This was partially because my mother is an artist who encouraged me to explore creative concepts and ideas in the everyday. As a kid and teenager, journaling, collaging and photography allowed me to expand my mindset while I challenged myself to view the the world through an artistic lens. As I began my undergraduate studies, I found my conceptual art making skills to take a back seat and my analytical skillset to take control. Eventually, I abandoned my personal art-making and transitioned my focus into curatorial research and developing opportunities to uplift artists and their creative practices. In my graduate studies, I coined the mantra “every artist needs an art administrator” – and I am happy to serve that role. Read more>>

Bellavita Bree | Esthetician & Owner of Blue Phoenix Wax

I chose this career because I’ve always been such a free spirit. There’s nothing I love more than being able to express myself through the colors of my hair and my clothes. I can create whatever workspace I desire, at anytime. More importantly, I can spread my love and light through all that I do. I’ve always been the girl with the big smile and the weird colored hair and I love it! Read more>>

Sean North | Soulful Artist

I chose this career because it was different, and it wasn’t a norm. I also wanted to do something daring and found a love for it. I could answer on cue Read more>>

Michelle Mendoza | Model & Dancer

Back in Venezuela I went to college and got my Business Administration degree. Years and years of hard studies make me realized that that wasn’t the right career for me. I looked back in my past and my artistic side was always there, I used to dance ballet and jazz for around 10 years. When I started modeling and walking like there’s nothing wrong in the world, like is just you and that unique piece that you need to show and just feels amazing. All those things made me realize that I’m good at this, that I feel secure and I show my true self when I’m on stage. This is why I decided to keep my artist career, even though it’s not easy when you have to change your whole life due an immigration, but this is what makes me happy, this is why I have my artistic career. Read more>>

Rhonda Peterson | Creative Entrepreneur

I didn’t really make a conscience decision to pursue an artistic or creative career, it was something that organically happened. I was always interested in doing things that were more creative in nature, and so I followed those interests. Read more>>

Jessica Hicks | Visual Storyteller & Therapist

I am actually a therapist by trade; however artistry and creativity is an outlet for me is a way to express what I feel when I can’t say it . It is an avenue of self-expression when I have a difficult time verbalizing what, how and why I feel the way I do. I remember being in Kindergarten and my teacher asked the class one of the most common questions for a kid to ask….”What do you want to be when you grow up?” I remember saying with full confidence and excitement, “An artist”, Creativity and Artistry is and will always be a way for me to express and heal the inner child within me that struggles to give words to thoughts. When it’s necessary to give words to thoughts, I use my voice by the stroke of my pen. So many stories have to be told through the eyes of love and if I’m an available and willing vessel to do that…so be it. Read more>>

John West | Photographer

It was something that fell in my lap honestly. People saw that I had a creative eye & gift, every picture I took people were so amazed like “you need to get into photography” I kept hearing it over & over again, so I finally decided to make the decision to finally step into the creative industry & make a name for myself. Read more>>

Ty Andino-McBride | Visual Artist & Legal Analyst

As cliche as it may sound, I didn’t choose to pursue a creative career, it honestly chose me. I avoided studying the arts or doing much art related for most of my life because I fell into the trap of believing that it wasn’t profitable. I didn’t decide to take it seriously until my second year of law school. During that time, I was living in a new city all alone and studying something that made me miserable. I needed a release. Art saved me. That re-assured me that art was apart of who I am and I’ve been creating ever since. Read more>>

Matthew Zethren | Photographer/Designer

Being Korean Adopted it’s very hard to find an identify for yourself, whether it be culturally or ethnically it’s just hard to find where you fit in. I experienced a lot of this growing up- culturally I was American but ethnically Korean, meaning that I just couldn’t relate to many people or experiences. It wasn’t until 7th grade where I took my first digital design course at my middle school, we had an assignment to create a digital portrait of someone who inspires you. This project had no right answers, no certain mathematical process you had to follow, just create a piece of work to show what this person means to you. In the first time in my life I found a school assignment that just felt “right”. I didn’t have to justify my answer or show proof of my reasoning, I simply had to create and follow what was in my head Read more>>