We asked some of the most creative folks we know to open up to us about why they chose a creative career path. Check out their responses below.

Sara-Anne Waggoner | Photographer & Set Designer

Ever since I was young I’ve always been creative and leaned into my artistic abilities. I was constantly in my head & creating other worlds within my imagination. I would act out different scenes and write scripts & short stories. I was inspired by movies and TV shows and I always wanted to create my own stories & visions through the medium of filmmaking. I saw the movie Super 8 when I was in middle school and I loved the idea of adolescent kids coming together to make a movie. The idea of being a part of a project or something that is “bigger than me” has always been my dream. Art class was always my favorite time of the day, we got to express ourselves through painting, mixed media, drawing, & photography. Throughout middle and high school my art teacher Mrs. Leslie became one of my good friends and mentors. She even encouraged me to enter into a few regional photography competitions. Read more>>

Lock | Artist/Engineer/Skateboarder & Pioneer

I always wanted to inspire. Everything for me at that point in my life was geared towards chasing energy that granted conviction. Also being huge on anime i felt like this was the beginning of my storyline as the protagonist. About how I would inspire the world to inspire others. Read more>>

Given Sharp | Actor and Artist

I feel that I’ve pursued a career in the arts for the same reason most artists do; I just can’t imagine myself doing anything else. I’m at my best when I’m creating. Whether that’s in front of a camera or behind a canvas, I have a need to make art. Read more>>

KeMoNi | Singer/Songwriter, Photographer, Mixing/Recording/Mastering Engineer, IT Specialist, CEO of Media Vybe Entertainment (Record Label)

Honestly, the ability to touch the hearts of millions and make a difference. The joy of changing someone’s life or even the power to change or revolutionize the world in a positive way. My idols, Michael Jackson, Musiq Soulchild, Tupac were the ones who planted the seeds, I am merely here to water the plants. My sound, my music, and my message aim to help everyone heal, feel, and love once more. Frankly, We need to love more than ever in this new era, this new culture of living. Read more>>

Trish Roper | Stylist and Colorist

I tried to fight it for awhile. We have all heard the term “starving artist” before. We’ve all also heard that artists don’t make any money. In terms of my industry I had always heard that you can’t make much money as a stylist unless you own your own place, and people always told me I was “too smart” to “just do hair”. It was always an interest and hobby of mine but I let other people convince me that it wasn’t for me. I did two years of nursing school and was left feeling depressed and unfulfilled unless I was painting, doing a friends hair for a wedding or hanging out at my hairdressers salon. I realized that art was what fueled me and making other people feel beautiful was the “plus”. After years of fighting it I just decided to go for it and now I am so happy, and work at one of the top salons in the country!. Read more>>

Sandy Lee | Event Designer

With a background as a Registered Nurse, I chose to pursue a creative career, as an outlet for the creator in me. Working in healthcare, there are many procedures, protocols, policies etc, that must be followed. As a creator this isn’t the most ideal setting to foster creativity. After receiving many compliments from friends and family on events I designed, choosing to become an Event Designer was a ” No Brainer”. Read more>>

Anna Partlow | Baker & Cake Decorator

I grew up in a household where expressing myself was an important part of my upbringing. I spent most of my childhood on Lake Champlain painting, drawing, and baking with my grandmother. Even though I inevitably moved states away from her, that fire she sparked in me never dwindled. I spent my high school years painting and drawing, then graduated and pursued graphic design in college and worked in a bakery to pay the bills. I have been working in a bakery setting for 6 years now, and unexpectedly fell in love with the craft. It became an internal battle of what I thought was having to choose one path or another to go down in my career, however I am lucky to have been able to bring my artistic knowledge to the world of baking and cake decorating. About two years ago I started selling cakes independently to make extra money, and it flourished into an unexpected opportunity. Read more>>

Erin Borenstein | Yoga Teacher

Because otherwise I would slowly die inside! Different people are wired to do different types of work. At a very young age, I gravitated to the arts, specifically ballet, because dancing to music made me feel alive and complete in a way that nothing else could. Now as an adult, yoga and meditation give me a similar experience- a joy in being embodied- and sometimes the ability to transcend the stresses of life a little bit. As a yoga teacher, I get to share this with people and I get to be surrounded by similarly inspired people. I’ve tried to do other types of work, mainly because sometimes I want to wear a pencil skirt instead of yoga pants, but I’ve always ended up back in the studio and grateful to be there. Read more>>

Rozalyn Mattocks | Filmmaker & Head of Sledgehammer Pictures

Making art has never been a choice for me, my mind forces the creativity out of me. It’s like a festering sore, if ignored it consumes my being. As a sufferer of depression and mood disorder my whole life, letting that pain out in the form of storytelling has kept me from going over the edge. When darkness swells in my heart and my dreams get too big to manage, I write. Once I have a story, I hit the pavement raising funds and gathering crew in order to turn those stories into moving pictures directly from my demented brain. It is why I lean towards horror and dark themes, even when I’m just writing drama. When people meet me, they often get the upbeat section of my personality, it’s due to my process of regurgitating trauma on the page and screen. I chose filmmaking as a means for survival. Read more>>

Angela Hill | Brand Designer | Messenger | Public Figure Brand

I’ve always been into creative things. Being creative as a career was something that happened to me as I discovered that the possibilities of what i can do as a career are endless and up to me. I realized that my art is my life. Read more>>

Jamia A. Berry | Artist & Photographer

Looking back on my childhood, I always enjoyed drawing, painting, singing, truly any form of a creative outlet. As I got older, I formed more interest and hobbies, but the arts was always a consistent variable in my life. I decided to pursue an artistic/ creative career because art has always been an outlet for me to fully express myself. Being an artist is one thing that I am confident in and fully love about myself. In growing and learning through my art making (and finding inspiration from artists who have been influential in ‘molding my ideas and craft), I have found this realm of comfortability in expressing myself and speaking my truth in ways that I would not have prior. The world needs artists, creative minds, those who not only think inside the box, but outside said box and beyond. Read more>>

Melvin Toledo | Fine Artist

I never made a conscious decision or plan to be an artist. I realized as a teenager that drawing was something that came easily to me and it soon became an obsession, I spent many hours drawing the characters from favorite tv shows. I grew up in a small village in northern Nicaragua where most people are farmers. Even if you are able to afford college, there are few jobs available. One of my uncles owned a home decorations business in Honduras and he encouraged me to learn to paint so that I could work for him. I apprenticed under a still life painter in Honduras and as I immersed my self in the world of painting, it became my passion. I worked for my uncle for about seven years before I moved to the United States 13 years ago. After I moved, I had a few odd jobs, but I really began pursing fine art. Read more>>

Keem Settles | Rapper & Graphic Artist

I’ve always been fascinated by the process of making art. How do you get from point A to point Z? What was it about point K that frustrated you? Did you try something new this time or did you go for what you know works? Seeing those first few scribbles on paper become a full portrait, or those bare vocals form into a complete song is so gratifying!. Read more>>

Amina Daugherty | Sculptor & Co-Founder of WE Collective

For a long time, I pushed my creativity aside. I did not consider being an artist a viable career, so I focused my energy on trying to follow a more “practical” pathway. In the Black community, there exists a generational disconnect where our elders often advise us against taking a “risk” in pursuing creative careers. I was blessed to have two parents who are creatives themselves, and with their encouragement, I decided to take a chance on myself to pursue a career in sculpting. The driving force of my career is to showcase the stories of the African American community in connection with the larger Black/Pan-African diaspora. I aim to create spaces in the art world where Black people feel comfortable, heard, and represented. Read more>>

Ryan Miller | Graphic Designer & Musician

After spending four years studying Marketing and graduating from Georgia College with a Bachelor’s degree, I found myself not feeling super jazzed about my potential future in the bizz. The job descriptions for positions I was finding didn’t seem to stimulate much sense of excitement in me, and that’s when a light bulb suddenly went off in my mind – maybe I didn’t have to accept my future in Marketing just because it was what I had spent the last four years studying. Growing up you could most likely find me drawing, doodling, or sketching ideas ranging from portraits of my favorite NHL players, space-themed environments, or creating my own renditions of comic books, but it was a passion that I had slowly fallen off from as the years went by. I decided to try to rekindle my passion for art while in college, and took a few Digital Media classes that taught me some of the basics in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Read more>>

Corey Dionte | Creator of Handcrafted Natural Products

Personal expression is FREEDOM! I cant really say that I chose this type of field, it’s moreso that it chose me. I have always been a creative person, from the way that I style my clothes, to the types of music and art that I am attracted to. Creating products by hand, for me, has been a form of healing for me. I love providing products to help people feel and look their best. Freedom of artistic expression is love. Read more>>

Hunter Blalock | Songwriter/ Artist

I’ve always felt drawn to art of all kinds, music, drawings, paintings, architecture, books, everything. I’ve also always been a big dreamer, every since I was a kid. I always wanted to be something different, one day I grew up & realized that you can chase what you want in life & no one can stop you from trying. Read more>>

Jasmine Jones | Artist

Art allows me to express myself. As a child I always latched on to art class in school, drawing and just creating things. In high school I knew I wanted to start my own business but I struggled finding the right path. Once I dug deeper into myself, I realized it was in my face all along. I followed my passion and now we’re here today!. Read more>>

Danielle Towner | Creative Marketing Consultant

Even if I wasn’t being paid to do it, I would love to write, create content, and brainstorm ideas for myself and others. I’ve loved writing since I was a child and it just stuck with me, so it became the foundation of my business. Having a creative marketing business is a way to connect and relate, inspire, and create value for people in multiple ways. Read more>>

June Guz | Photographer / Visual Creator

I’ve always had an interest in the arts. Whether it was music, movies, art, photography or video. Honestly sports was never my strong point. I didn’t go outside as a kid. I stayed in and let the creative juices flow. Early years I wrote a lot of poetry and songs. My main focal point in the arts was music. I made hip hop music and rapped early on. So yeah, I haven’t been a stranger to the arts. In 2018 I picked up a camera and decided this is what I want to specialize in. I thought to myself since I’m good at this why don’t I pursue this and make a career out of it. Matter a fact, I do have a career already, but photography is a ‘side career’ that gets me away from my usual stresses from work. It allows me to be free and creative and I’ve been on that energy since I was a kid. Read more>>

Chase Waller | Musician and Teacher

For a long time, writing music for me was an act of emulating. In middle school, I listened to music, identified songs I particularly enjoyed, learned how to play them, and then eventually tried to write my own version of them. None of the songs were very good, and obviously none of them were very authentic. However, I contribute my love of songwriting to this very explicit form of emulation because making music for me even now is still an act of mimicry. All that to say, I chose to pursue music because songs are my favorite form of storytelling. My love of listening inspired a desire to create. Good songs and good artists continually reinspire and redirect my desire to tell stories through music. So, I think the reason I chose to pursue art is that I want to create that process for myself. I want to prove to myself that I am a good storyteller too. And, hopefully, the further I chase that goal, the more authentic and refined that process will be. Read more>>

Mampz | Talent Manager & The Plug

I chose to pursue a creative career because of my love for music and executing. I found that as a manager I get to be a liaison of people and resources. And artists need that analytical person to help them navigate the space and tasks outside of creating their art. My role allows me to creatively come up with solutions and keep the artist doing what they do best. I’ve been in the Army, I’ve worked in corporate and non profit and no other sector makes me feel fulfilled the way talent management has. Read more>>

Jordan Williams | Videographer/Photographer

I felt purpose in creativity. I never enjoyed a 9-5 occupation. I believe my art brings joy and rejuvenating one’s dream. To be honest I believe God allows me to share a piece of Himself with me and it just brings me joy. Read more>>

Honey AR | Artist

I pursue an artistic career because I refuse to be unhappy doing something I don’t love. I’ve always been an artsy kid and the goal is to be able to do what I love and get paid for it so work never feels like work. Read more>>

Shanique Yates | Journalist/Media Personality

I chose a creative career because when I was a child I found that creating was one of my only forms of escapism. Reading books became my favorite past-time and ultimately, I hoped that someday I could grow up and impact the lives of other Black women just as writers like Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison did for me!. Read more>>

William Mun | Filmmaker & Illustrator

I grew up fascinated by storytelling. The idea that someone can just craft a completely fantastical world through pictures, words, and performance is mesmerizing to me, and I knew early on that I wanted to be like that as well. I think as I grew older, I also saw the importance of who those storytellers are behind the scenes. I wanted to be there to tell LGBT+ and BIPOC stories so that more people like me could feel comfortable and empowered with sharing their voices. Read more>>

Nora Moore | Co-Founder & CEO, GigOut

I grew up during a period where traditional careers (doctor, lawyer, teacher, etc) were the norm and creative fields were viewed more as a hobby. I was an “A” student in high school but I struggled in college. Traditional courses challenged me to fit in a box that suffocated me. I changed my major at least 6 times and went to 5 schools before I graduated undergrad. I went on to work in the medical field for 8 years. I enjoyed connecting with patients but honestly, it wasn’t my passion. When my first son was born in 2004, I started a new career, stay at home mom. During that time I explored my love for writing and started a blog. Facebook was new on the scene and Twitter followed in 2006. As my blog grew, I incorporated ad campaigns and became an early entrant in the world of digital influencers. I became enamored with this new thing called “social media” and how it could help build my blog. Now a mom of two, creating content provided a much needed outlet for me and also afforded me the opportunity to be hands on with my kids at home. Read more>> 

Miranda Hassen | Pinterest Manager & SEO Strategist

For as long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed reading, writing, painting, and other creative hobbies. I’ve always been a believer in getting paid to do the work you love so it’ll never feel like work. After spending part of my early 20s working in retail, fast food, and closed office environments, I knew I was going to lack the stimulation I needed to be happy and fulfilled in this life. Now I get to spend my working hours writing, researching, designing social media graphics, and implementing marketing strategy, and I couldn’t be happier. Read more>>

Juana Alicia | Muralist, Graphic Artist, Sculptor

The drive to make images, to shape forms, to create with line and color and to speak to others has always been intense and irresistible for me. Surrounded by the music of Motown, growing up in a musical family, creativity seemed a natural part of life. Growing up in Detroit, I was most awakened by visual artworks such as Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry Murals, and spent a lot of time with them instead of going to class during high school. The monumentality of the images, the power of their messages and the beauty of the drawings set off an alarm in my soul, and I knew that this was what I wanted to do. Read more>>