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.

Tracie Joyner | Artist & Photographer

Art is my passion and an integral part of my soul that I simply could not exist without. An inspired new work is a creation waiting to happen and brings with it a sense of excitement, wonder, and joy. I enjoy working with a variety of mediums, including photography, alcohol inks, fluid art, acrylics, and collage. When everything starts to come together and I’m “in the zone,” it’s pure magic. Read more>>

Kojo | Artist

The reason why I chose to pursue an artistic career was due to the burn out lifestyle which the standard world of working a 9-5 entails. The unbalanced days of working and not being able to control the trajectory of giving myself 110% didn’t sit well with me. The skill sets and talents I have which I know if I could merge together, would grant me access to build a reality that benefits me and my legacy in this world. Read more>>

Farren Arendse | Fashion Stylist and Designer

Growing up I was always surrounded by creative influences. My uncle was a talented artist, he painted the most beautiful paintings onto the walls of my grandparents house. My grandmother loved collecting a variety of different objects that she would often turn into wind chimes for her garden. My mother enjoyed hosting gatherings for family and friends and get really creative making her own party favors for her guests. Read more>>

Scorpion Prince | Model & DJ

I didn’t necessarily choose or pursue the artistic or creative route. I thrown myself into it. I’ve always had a vast imagination, growing up as the only child. Since I had no siblings I was always in my head. I would literally dress up in my robe pretending like I was a Jedi knight. I never thought I would be in the world of art. I felt I was pushed away from it as a child. Dad wasn’t too pleased about my mom wanting me to become a baby model. When mom insisted on me learning to play the piano. Read more>>

Annelise Udoye | Videographer

I’ve been passionate about film since I was a child. To me, there are no rules or structure to one’s creativity. The capability of telling a story in the way that you want to is what drove me to pursue a career in film. No one can tell you it’s wrong, there are no limits to storytelling- it’s all a matter of perspective. Read more>>

Tyler Okito | Fashion Designer

It honestly just happened organically. I always had interest in fashion and design but never viewed it as a career path. Prior to the pandemic I still had hoop dreams but during the lockdown I started to explore my creative talents. Seeing the different vibes I could bring to life, the different mediums of creation I was naturally familiar with, it all showed me that this was a viable option for me. It showed me that I actually had something to bring to this industry and to the world. Read more>>

Danielle Bonanno | Outreach Director

As a trans woman in long term recovery from substance use disorder with an extensive history of sex work, I knew all too well the challenges that our trans brothers and sisters face when they are ready to begin their recovery journeys. Residential recovery services are not readily available to trans individuals. When I came into the addiction recovery field I made it my purpose to reach this population, and to make affirming education readily available to our community and its decision makers. Read more>>

Chris Da Cloudwalker aka Kewlcloud | Recording Artist, Designer & Entrepreneur

I’m a CLOUD WALKER….. A cloud walker; One who lives in the cloud of their own imagination or dreams, or one who does not abide by the precepts of society, literature, or art; An unconventional. Growing up in Atlanta, seeing a diverse scenery & having a musical family who’s southern roots encouraged soul by way of the church. I first started drawing before I could write as my mother would say then writing escalating as my taste grew without hip hop. Read more>>

Jae.P | Artist

In the beginning, my love of music came from the overwhelming feeling of euphoria. The instruments, the vibration of the speakers, but most importantly the words dance with my heart. That love grew into a realization, one that I’ve took time to make sure was as unbiased as possible. I have an incomparable artistry. One of which I bring to everything I do. One of my aliases is The Saint, a name that’s literally on my birth certificate. I have to spread that same euphoria to the world. Read more>>

Chris Simon | I am a rapper and song writer, I go by the name Braveaux

I’m an artist, for me just being able to create is therapeutic. It’s the way I express myself. There’s things I don’t know how to speak on or feel comfortable speaking to someone about I can put into a song so I can get out all my thoughts and feelings without there being anyone there to judge, give their opinion, or dismiss my feelings. I read once “music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul” and I couldn’t agree more. Read more>>

Jessica Bell | Custom Cake & Treat Designer

I have always had a love for food and the many ways it can be prepared. However, I decided to specialize in the pastry area, more so cakes, because of my own childhood. I never have had a cake nor a party, so I wanted to be able to create memories in an edible way. Not only do I create a unique centerpiece for different occasions, but for my kid client I add a toy(keepsake), so that whenever they see the toy, they’ll remember not only their party but the people that came out to celebrate their special day. Read more>>

Zandra Solomon | Manifestation Artist / Youtuber

I decided to pursue an artistic career after serving 8 years in the US Navy. During my time in service, having accumulated a multitude of experiences, my view of life became much more delicate. I suddenly had a burning desire to be free and creative- the complete opposite of military standards. I began to study Law of Attraction and Manifestation. Having began my spiritual journey, I was intrigued about how I could take what I was learning and use it in a creative space. Read more>>

Kate Gaither | Embroidery Artist

I have always had to find some kind of creative outlet for myself. As a child I spent hours in my sketchbooks playing with oil pastels or practicing drawing my pets, in high school this turned into hours spent in the darkroom experimenting with the different chemical processes to get different photo effects. It took me a while to figure out my creative outlet as an adult but I knew I had hit gold when I found embroidery AND people wanted to support me by ordering. Once I started doing it full time, I was happier than I was in any job I’d had before. That was enough for me. Read more>>

T Morza | Musical Artist, Producer & Audio Engineer

I pursued an artistic/creative career for a couple reasons. One reason I decided to pursue an artistic career is because I have confidence in my talent and creative abilities. I feel I have a sound people would resonate with and I love pushing the boundaries of what could be heard and conceptualized in music. I have always been fascinated with how music effects people, how curtain songs played in curtain circumstances can single handedly bring someone out of a dark place, Read more>>

James Wade | Musician / Song Writer

I’ve made it a point to make my life my ministry, music called me to it. Music became the soundtrack to my purpose and mission. The mission was to show others these mountains could be moved, it was a vehicle to inform, be insightful, enlightened and engaging. No matter my journey in life, music always was around, songwriting always called me to it. Wanting to be a positive reflection and addition to hip hop culture, was important to me. Read more>>

Vivian Gilbert | Creator

I am a highly creative person, and I am not really conservative. I love to use my imagination to come up with new ideas. A lot of things that I look at that inspires me are things other people created as their own idea like a T.V. show or a movie. I am also a person who likes fiction in the fantasy genre (princesses, dragons, space fantasy, magic, superpowers, fairytales). I am interested in fantasy because I feel that it is a genre that allows the impossible in human beings to be possible. Read more>>

Money Marley | Rapper, Model, & Boutique Owner

This is a very good question! I honestly feel like I pursued a creative career because it’s always been in me deep down. Since I was a child I’ve loved music, I’ve loved performing, and I have loved the spotlight. I always felt like I was meant to be a beacon of light for others and impact this world through my music and my modeling passions. Don’t get me wrong, NOTHING about being a creative entrepreneur or influencer is easy, but it is so very rewarding to be able to share who you are with others. I honestly can’t see myself doing anything else! Read more>>

Jeremy Bryan | Composer, Manager of Artist Development & Licensing, Music Industry Professional

Since I was young, I’ve always had a fascination with music. I grew up playing with electric guitars, drums, harmonicas, and electric pianos. There was just something about music that resonated within me… It was like an unspoken language that could be universally communicated, heard, and felt. At first, I started DJing at a local music store, which later turned into full music production. Once I started creating music I knew I was onto something. I would spend hours, days, weeks, months, and years just making continual music and improving my craft. Little did I know this musical passion of mine would begin to open doors of life changing opportunities. Read more>>

Elisha L NeVille | Visual Arts – Self-taught: Illustrator & painter

Just to be extremely transparent I didn’t pursue art. it really just happened. At a young age I discovered that I was talented in drawing but I didn’t take it serious until I got older. One of the main reasons why I even started drawing and painting again was because when Nipsey Hussle died it inspired me to create a piece of him. At the time, it’s been at least over five years since I’ve drew anything. After I finish the drawing I wanted to make a large painting of him & I never really painted anything before and I end up doing well on painting. After that I keep painting and drawing but when 2020/COVID happened I want all in and really started to take it more serious. Read more>>

Takiyah Denise | Curve Model & Influencer

I pursued a creative career because fashion has always been a dream career since I was a little kid. I knew that I wanted to change the fashion industry and bring curvy style into the mix. Watching America’s Next Top Model and Project Runway always seeing skinny models. It made me think why didn’t we have more representation of different body types? I knew, I wanted to be different and help women gain confidence in the process. I wanted to be that change. Read more>>

Breana Waldon | Baker

I wanted to use my hobby turned passion into something that brings people the same amount of joy that it brings me. Baked goods for most people hold something nostalgic and joyful; they bring comfort and peace. There is something soul soothing when I see someone truly enjoy one of my creations and that continuously gives me the drive and determination to keep pursing a creative career. Read more>>

Mark “T-Gunna” Tyler | Entrepreneur

I want to show the world that it’s okay to be yourself. I’ve heard for years that I’m talented with music or funny etc. and I just think the world needs to see it. My mother (RIP) supported me even when it was difficult for her to do so. I’ll never forget that. She showed up to my rap shows knowing that I didn’t want her there due to safety concerns and also just cause she was in church 4 to 5 days out of the week. I’m never going to stop pursuing my dreams because I know that she’s watching. Read more>>