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.

Carissa Merriweather | Wife, Mother, Veteran, Chef and CEO

I have always been drawn to do things that were artistic from a young age. I danced, was a signed musician at one point and fashion has always been something special to me. Read more>>

Whitney G | Artist (Singer)

All my life I’ve been a creative. I’ve loved the arts in whatever form; music, art, food, fashion etc. Music has been my main source of inspiration and the reason I pursued music is because my uncle always told me that if I didn’t use the gift God gave me, I would lose it. That stuck with me for YEARS until I finally had to courage to get in the booth and it’s been up ever since Read more>>

PongoFromTheS | Recording Artist & Songwriter

As far as I can recall, music always been in my life. I wrote my first song when I was 8 years old (in french). But it’s in 2015 that music really became everything to me. After tearing my ACL and MCL at the same time while playing soccer, at that time I wanted to become a professional soccer player, I came to realization that I wasn’t really playing for myself but for my father. The time spent off the grass made me rediscover my first love, music. Since then I haven’t been able to quit writing and recording songs. I make music for myself first, to free my mind. I’m a big time introvert, you’re lucky if you can get a few words out of me. My music is the bridge that links me to the people. I share it with the world because I think a lot of us can not only relate to my content, but also can feel the emotions that I’m trying to share. That’s my way to connect with people, through emotions. It’s hard for me to see it as a career, because I haven’t felt like I was working during my creative process yet. Career or not, I would be doing it anyway. Read more>>

Loretta Niblett | Home Stager & (virtual) E-Designer

From an early age I’ve always enjoyed creating things. I found a lot of joy in redecorating and re-arranging my childhood bedroom or creating costumes for school plays. Designing and creating came natural to me. I knew that as an adult I wanted to keep creativity in whatever work I did. I worked as a Hair Stylist and Nail Tech for many years, then transitioned to designing kitchens and baths for a company and now owning my own Home Staging and Design business. Read more>>

Yves Jeffcoat | Writer, Editor, Podcaster, & Yoga Teacher

Once I realized that I loved writing and could make it a career, I never imagined doing anything else. That’s not because I believed that I couldn’t do anything else or because I didn’t enjoy other fields. When I was old enough to really start thinking about a career, I was convinced that I’d be miserable and unfulfilled if I chose to dedicate many hours of my life to anything that wasn’t arts-related. I was laser-focused on becoming a capital-W “Writer” and inclined toward the art from a young age, but I did have moments of doubt in which I questioned whether I was being pragmatic enough. Fortunately, I realized that doubt was born of societal and some interpersonal pressure, as well as a fear of failure. And when I was being honest with myself, I knew that writing and making art were things that I felt the most aligned and whole doing. They brought me joy. And I wanted to learn more about them, get better at them, and share what I created with others. Read more>>

Jennifer Richards | CEO & Founder of Ajaa’ Naturals

I needed to connect with a career that made my soul feel good and something that lit a fire in my spirit. That’s how I would always stay connected to my purpose. Read more>>

KarriRxS | Musician/Artist

“I love creating music. From the lyrics to the 808 to the melody, there is always something to refresh my palate.” Music was the first form of emotional expression that contributed to Karri’s continuous development as an artist. After performing as a soloist in high school, he realized how performing can impact a person’s life beyond the auditorium. “Having the ability to control someone’s emotions through song and is very powerful. Being aware to not take advantage of that power takes great strength.” Read more>>

Nina Elaine | Transformation Coach, Healer, Author & Intuitive Guide

I decided to pursue a creative career because at my core, that’s the very essence of who I am- a creator. Since I was a kid, I’ve always had a really big imagination. I would dream up entire worlds in my mind and could easily live there forever. As I got older, I still kept that big imagination and actually had the resources to make them a reality. I tried the traditional route, but it never felt like I was able to truly be myself. I’m passionate, silly and playful and creative work allows me to express myself and honor my uniqueness. In my opinion, creativity makes life enjoyable and inspires us to explore the fullness of who we are. Read more>>

Paige Barton | Artist

The short answer to this question is that I can’t see myself doing anything else. The thought of having to abandon my passion for art and replace it with a traditional “9 to 5” job is (and always has been) terrifying to me. Of course, there’s the argument that I could still do my art “on the side”, but I have a feeling that wouldn’t satisfy me. Being an artist isn’t just what I do, it’s who I am. Who would I be if I subdued my passion for art to just a hobby? To be honest with you, I don’t know. Pursuing this type of career is not an easy task. There are plenty of reasons to quit now while I’m still ahead, but I know that if I did, I would kick myself for it later. I doubt myself all the time. I doubt whether my art is good enough, I doubt whether this is the path I really want to take, if I’m okay with the inconsistency of this job, or if all of this will even work out in the end. Read more>>

Maggie Van Zandt | Owner & Designer – Jamasoba jewelry brand.

I don’t think I pursued the creative/artistic career path. I truly believe I was led down this path starting from the day I was born. God chose the creative path for me. I never realized it until I was in my late 40’s. I started spending a lot of time alone thinking, reflecting and listening to the inner voice of my soul. I started putting all the pieces together from different moments in my life and realized that there was a plan for me, as a creative, all along. Read more>>

Aliza Li | R&B/Soul Singer- Songwriter

I always knew I wanted to be involved with music some kind of way from an early age. Music has always been a part of my life and really helped me get through life in general. There is something so alluring about how music is timeless. Whenever I’m going through anything I am able to express myself better through singing and song writing. Music has always been my outlet and I wanted it to become more involved in my life. Pursuing a career in music just came naturally and during I time when I needed my outlet the most. Read more>>

Phil Beach | Music Artist, Poet, & Community Leader

The reason I pursued an artistic and creative career is because of the freedom of expression that accompanies it, that feeling of creating is what drives me. I can’t imagine myself not creating or utilizing my creativity In my workspace, with the youth I work with, with my peers, and other creative spaces I create to aid in building the artistic and creative community in my hometown of Savannah, GA. I also have to credit the arts and my creative endeavors with playing a role in balancing and maintaining a health mental state. Sharing my craft and empowering others to do in their creativity potential for numerous reasons is something I eat, sleep, and breathe. Read more>>

Smith & Wyatt | Acoustic Folk Duo

I think the answer a lot of the artistic or creative types would give is “It is just who we are” or “It’s just in us” and thats exactly what we would say. For us it was never really a question. All we’ve wanted to do is write songs and perform them in whatever way we could do it. The question really at this point is “What else, if not music”. Read more>>

Kelton Holman | Actor | Singer

I have often said, “Being an actor chose me”. Because I know myself, I can say this. I am not good at a lot of things and I have grown to be perfectly okay with that. However, I am great at being an artist, A Creative. A Dreamer and I own that with all of my might! I have known practically my whole life I wanted to entertain or be a performing artist. I got so much enjoyment and felt so alive participating in talent shows, school plays, and church plays. I remember growing up watching all three movies of High School Musical and saying to myself, “I want to do that; I can do that.”. Those movies were more than just entertainment for me, it was part of my becoming. Read more>>

Taylor Cooper | Actress & Screenwriter

I actually fought with being a creative for a while. It was an internal battle with my logic and my heart. That’s why I didn’t pursue my Acting career sooner. I’d convinced myself to take the logical or traditional route and do what I thought was expected of me. However, it’s no mistake when God has a calling on your life. I’ve had many jobs and found other things I’m good at. Nothing gives me this… feeling. This beautiful and overwhelming sense of fulfillment. I know God doesn’t put any desire in your heart by accident. The first time I learned this was my first year out of undergrad. I was looking for entry level desk jobs, but I had Acting on my mind every single day. The desire was somewhat “haunting” me for a lack of better words and I wanted it to go away. The second time was last Fall amidst the pandemic. I’d taken time off from Acting to take care of my health & work on my finances. I remember feeling especially unhappy, unmotivated and lost. Read more>>

Joshua Cubas | Cinematographer

Movies and music played a heavy role in my upbringing. Its influence on me would spark a conversation and invite me to try and understand a perspective that wasn’t naturally my own. Memorizing lyrics of songs I liked helped me to dissect meaning and intention behind delivery. Watching movies was not only entertainment but became an exposure to a wide array of walks of life before I knew what character study and story arc was. Without question, that exposure to art opened up new thought processes and an empathy that would mold how I would observe and experience life. My decision to pursue a career in film is a desire to take part in exposing audiences to new perspectives and spark up an open dialogue on the infinite stories that film can present. The art of storytelling combines entertainment with an immersive experience and in my case, an introspective that I kept gravitating back to. As I began to study and engage in film, the pursuit of that means of expression and practice of the craft would pave the way for my ongoing career in filmmaking. Read more>>

Jessica Nova | Artist, Burlesque Performer, Creatrix

I suffer from chronic pain and mental illness coupled with HFA; being my own boss was the only way I could be happy. It was 2008, I was working in a clerical position. I wore wigs to work every day to hide my pastel rainbow hair and dressed in clothes I hated so I could fit in. It was reminiscent of some of those childhood personality crushing norms and boxes we force upon ourselves. So I broke out. I had an opportunity to take my side job of fetish modeling to the forefront of my career and just…..did it. I booked myself two months straight of modeling work up and down the east coast. I packed up my shitty car, a couple of friends and we left. I’ve been self employed ever since. I have reshaped what I create, how I create, and the overall branding but always as my pseudonym Jessica Nova. Jessica Nova is the creation from which all my art stems. Bringing that part of myself out allowed me a career of art. I’ll be forever grateful to all the parts of me that I used to think were ‘issues’. By keeping me from holding a job the way society says you should in order to be a successful human. Your biggest ‘setbacks’ are sometimes the greatest gifts. Read more>>

Amber Iman (The Fashion Stylist) | Fashion Stylist

For me, being a creative comes very natural. It is something that brings me closer to my Lord and Savior. Also, it is a natural gift that I have the visions of creative sets or the out of the box outfits that I combine. I am not the person that simply feels fulfilled by security in a job, I need to express myself and fashion allows me to do just that! Expressing myself through clothing and fashion while having others confirm my gifts brings me confidence to keep going forward and keep exploring my gift. It also illustrates my purpose because it does come so authentically, I am able to inspire others to find their place in this world as well and that is a fulfillment that I can not express! I am forever grateful to have the passion to explore my creativity through a career and the courage to do it unwaveringly. Read more>>

DeMarcus Morrow | Business Branding Guru

The reason I pursued my creative career was because I could tell I had a gift for what I do. For years, I would think that ideas on how to build businesses or how to brand your business a certain way came natural to others because it was so natural for me. I learned that most people needed guidance and somewhere reliable to assist their brand. That’s when Dreamaholic Agency was created. Read more>>

Jaia Robinson | Multidisciplinary Artist, Activist & Educator

I pursued my creative career because I wanted to promote Arts Education and Social Justice. Read more>>

Sylvester Long | Motivational Speaker, Author, & Musician

I chose to pursue my passion the creative arts because I wanted to be able to use my voice and talents to impact my community. As a motivational speaker, I use my past experiences and my faith in God as a foundation to encourage, motivate, and let others know that the pain we experience in life is only temporary, but it is connected to the purpose that is destined, defined, and destined for our lives. That is also why I wrote my new book titled “Out of Pain, Into Purpose” (which is also the name of my speaking business). As a drummer, I love playing music. I’ve played drums since 2003. It was honestly my first love. It became a huge part of my life. I was even able to be a volunteer drum instructor from 2012-2014 for my old high school drumline. Being able to show them the meaning and importance of musicianship. Even to this day, I learn from other drummers and musicians because no matter how long I’ve been playing, I can always learn new techniques and skills. Read more>>

15K | Recording Artist

Art was the only thing that could separate me from reality whether it’s me recording/producing, working on a video, creating phot concepts, etc. Throughout obstacles of life I’ve always relied on music to put me in a space of free thought & expression. My emotions are affected by music and everything else around me just seem so invisible. Read more>>

Sarah Trammell | Musician & Salon Owner

2020, and a global pandemic really put a lot of things in to perspective for me. Going in to 2020, I decided to start my own business – a salon – which turned out to be one of the best decision I had ever made. Creation – to me -is the easiest, and most beautiful way to spread your soul to others. Doing hair made me money, and allowed me to influence people in the most direct way possible – by making them feel good about their appearance. Music, however, is my first love. As an emancipated minor I was convinced that pursuing music was out of my privilege range. I completed college with a bachelor of the arts in literature, and music theory, and had no idea what to do. Hair fell in to my lap, paid my bills, but there was always something I felt missing. I thought I could fill that void of performing by attending my friend’s shows, and supporting as hard as I could, but there was always that feeling of needing “more”, and not having the proper resources. Read more>>

Darian Reilly | Atlanta and Destination Wedding Photographer

I was opposed to photographing people at first. I was complacent with nature and animals. When a friend of mine asked me for a session, I reconsidered everything. I fell head over heels having people on the other side of my lens, more specifically couples. Turning my hobby into a career felt completely natural. I’ve always pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I love learning new things, and I couldn’t see myself doing anything else with my life. Read more>>

Keema Chang | Makeup Artist, Hairstylist & Fashion Designer

I have always been a creative person since I was a little girl I was always making something, if it was making clothes for my barbies,playing in my moms makeup and doing my hair and my friends hair. I enjoyed recreating looks I saw in music videos like EnVogue or Whitney Houston. Women that looked like me!. Read more>>


Dylan Dent | Musician and Entertainer

For me, the catalyst for the decision was a car accident. I had been going back and forth with the idea “going for heart or going for smart”. After the accident I took a good look at my aspirations and priorities, some of which were changed by the event. I decided to go with my heart and I have been walking down that path the past four years. Read more>>

James Davis | Photographer

I’ve always been creative, but my job at the time was not allowing me to use my creativity as I had hoped. I chose to start doing photography as a career in order to have the creative outlet that I craved. I wanted a career that helped me see more meaning in everyday life. I decided to finally follow my passion and not just follow stability. Read more>>

Robin Elise Maaya | Photographer & Artist of Sorts

Making art has saved my life. From calming me down in moments of anxiety as a kid, to now being the outlet in which I tell my story, it has healed me in every way possible. This is why I choose to invest 200% of myself into my work. Without my creativity, I would not be who I am today and I owe my life to my artistry in every capacity. I chose to pursue a creative career rather than the “normal” 9 to 5 job for so many reasons. In addition to being genuinely happy to go to work when photographing people, I am able to add to my portfolio when making photographs for other people. It is a win-win situation with every client. They get photographs that go beyond the standard for family photographs, and I push myself further in order to fuel my inner artist all while being able to support myself through photography. This then all comes full circle because I am able to then apply that income to make my personal bodies of work which is where a huge part of my love for photography will always reside. Read more>>

Chasity Monique | Podcast Host/ Children’s Book Author

As cheesy as this may sound, I didn’t pursue a creative career. It came after me and every time it did, I was reminded that “it” was always there–existing this entire time. When I look back at my childhood days and high school journey, I see the creativity. I’ve always wanted to do this, but loved Education more and so I went with that. I still have a hard time accepting the label as a “Creative” and/or “Creator” it doesn’t feel as secure or safe as my former label did as an “Extraordinary Educator”, but I’m figuring it out and enjoying my process. Read more>>

Detrich Swain | Part Owner, Organizer, Writer and Artist For Black Creative Mind, LLC

I’m pursuing an artistic or creative career because I know my gift is writing and music. So I chose a path where I could be free to create and express my thoughts. I also believe music is a universal language that everyone loves and it brings so many different people together. I feel through artistic expression I can reach people to inspire them and give them some jewels without being preachy. Last but not least, this is also what God put on my heart along with the vision in my mind. Read more>>

Jennifer Edwards | Pole Dancer

I chose an artistic career because I felt too boxed in at a 9-5 job. I can express so many emotions dancing. Dancing is a form of communication and expression that I highly value. Read more>>

Crystal and Denise Williams | Owners of HookahMyStyle

We both have a creative side that allows us to always have a thought or an image in our minds that we can get together and make come to life, www.HookahMyStyle.com gives us that freedom or Outlet to create while both having an every day “Big Girl” job. Denise is a Speech Pathologist by day and Crystal is a IT systems analyst so being able to create one of a kind pieces for our customers is a great balance. Hardly feels like work!. Read more>>

Mvrco Tha Goat | Upcoming Atl New Hot Artist

I wouldn’t say I chosen my path, more like it found me. Growing up I have always been around music and had a ear for it. My dukes(mom) had her own studio, for when my uncles can record they lil demos and tapes. An later on down the line my cousin’s & brothers picked up their talents, so I guess you can say it’s in our blood. But truthfully it took me sometime to really find my sound and to take my music serious. Read more>>

Candice Bradley | Director, Writer & Animator

Everything I ever wanted to be or experience was in that creative category, though I didn’t know it at the time. As a little girl it was sketching and drawing on anything I could find. Pausing and rewinding every Disney animation, so I could both write down the lyrics to sing to, then do a quick sketch of Flounder. As a preteen, it was the discovery of how my joy and energy exploded and was shared by others when I danced. And how I couldn’t choreograph a dance without telling a story. Some nights, I would just listen deeply to classical music, waiting for inspiration, only to find my pencil wandering off in its own dance, and taking me back to my sketchbook. I didn’t realize this until later, but the music I chose was always a soundtrack from a movie. I’d put a movie on, and either draw or choreograph, or both at the same time. I eventually began to understand that I was a writer. A visual storyteller. But also a performer. And music was my trigger. Read more>>

Barcaas Holloway | Artist, Photographer, Videographer, Graphic Designer

Music is a big thing for me. Since i was 13 I always wanted to pursue a career in music because it was my mental getaway no matter what problems i ran into. My freshman year in college i got heavy into photography so that was something on the side for me too. Read more>>

Jenna Kanell | Actor, Stunt Performer, & Filmmaker

I’m happiest in a consistently evolving work environment, and not well suited for more conventional corporate structures. I thrive in the ebb and flow. The shifting spontaneity of the film world compliments my desire to experience more lives and worlds than I truly have time for in my short stay on this earth. Read more>>

John Bratton | Composer for Film, Band, and Orchestra

I pursued an artistic career because I feel most at home when I am composing or performing music. My parents said even as a child I would walk around constantly humming or whistling melodies I had composed in my head. Getting to see young musicians get joy and value from the music I have composed and seeing the impact my original scores for films have on both audiences and film directors are two of the biggest things that bring me joy in my career. Read more>>

Chris Noel | Branding Creator & Business Owner

Since childhood I’ve always had a sketch book, camera or paint brush in my hand. However, it wasn’t until I attended summer camp at Camp Best Friends in the Pittsburgh Community, Atlanta, Ga – where I was selected to design a mural for the center that would be painted in the swimming pool area. It was that moment that sparked my creative ambition. The mural has since been painted over, however, the joy I had as a child passing the center and seeing my artwork fueled my creative desires. Read more>>

John Claude Tamakloe | PR Consultant, Digital Marketer, Blogger, Writer & Freelance Publicist

I pursued an artistic or creative career because i understand the importance of societal needs. Secondly i believe in self value, self worth, self love and most importantly I’m able to operate freely under the umbrella of creativity without holding back. More so, i believe since God created me in his own image, I’m creatively inclined to birth new rich ideas into life to solve problems. Read more>>

Jacolbi Symone Smith | Founder & Artist

I decided to pursue a life of artistry to inspire all with the senses to observe. Most importantly, this life chose me because it would be a shame to dim the light. I want my family to share moments of success with me as well, they deserve to see it. Being from Birmingham, Alabama has taught me to paint the world any color I see fit. YLLLW. The original idea for YLLLW. birthed as a collective agreement that there is something more; something synergetic. Music was the foundation of it all. Specifically, as an early college student I decided to focus on fashion, art, music, & entertainment. Truthfully, the creation of the business began with the idea of life as art being an endless film. We start with the wardrobe, the scenery, the soundtrack & we capture the moments. Read more>>

Chelsie Butler | Magazine Editor

I started writing at the young age of nine when I was living in Nigeria with my mom. I loved to write short mystery stories and poems. When it came time to choose my major in college, someone who knew me well said I should be a journalist. I am proud to have been using my degree throughout my whole career. Read more>>

Alora Tefariah | Author & Entrepreneur

I pursued my career as an author because I knew I had a gift at a very young age and wanted to share it with the world!. Read more>>

Amira Nailah | Author & Designer

I wanted to be able to do something that would let me express myself. I’ve always been big on self expression, creativity and creation. I can’t see myself doing anything besides something that causes me to think, feel and put passion into it the way art does. There’s room for growth emotionally, mentally, physically– and it requires the deepest parts of you. I like doing things I can actually put my soul and values into. I decided to self-publish my own book at a very young age. I always knew writing would be one career path I would for sure take in life. So, diving into this business was just the action of following my passion and what I believe my life purpose is– which is healing and helping others with my writing. I had to put procrastination, doubt and fear to the side to pursue my calling. It doesn’t stop here, either. I plan to take “amira nailah” very far as a brand… beyond just literature. My love for interior design will come into play at some point down the line as well. Hopefully even sooner than later!. Read more>>

Tarik Mcmorris | Private chef & Caterer

Let me first begin by saying, when a person is debating on a career path they most often choice a path that involves money but I decided to take a path that not only aligns with my energy but with what I believe. What I believe is that people should do what they enjoy, do what makes them happy because if you’re only in it for the money one day you’ll wake up and realize your working a job rather than doing what you love. Soulfully, I’m a artistic/creative being I enjoy bringing different pieces together, I’m a chef and a caterer so I enjoy bringing different ingredients together for a final product, the best way I can I can put into words is the same way a painter starts with an empty canvas with a inner idea of how they envision the piece to come out is the same way I feel when I begin cooking any private dinner or catering order, food is art form when the right person is cooking. Read more>>

Anji Kaizen | Recording Artist & Vocal Coach

To be perfectly honest, being an artist and creative entrepreneur just makes the most sense to me. Having constant new challenges and endless opportunities for creative expression is the most stimulating work I’ve ever done. Whether it’s music or modeling, vocal coaching, photography or design, social media management or creating content, I love that I’m on a constantly changing cycle of projects and working with new people. When I’ve tried working in more corporate settings in the past, it’s always felt very suffocating and limiting to me. I felt caught in a rut of always trying to please a boss or keep up with other people’s expectations and that just proved to be very difficult for my creative spirit. And unfortunately, for a long time I thought that I had to work for somebody else or secure a high paying job to be “successful”, but actually I’ve found that success is all about enjoying your life and how you spend your time. Read more>>

Gregg DaCosta | Filmmaker

I pursued a creative career because I always wanted to show the beauty in showing an important message within a film. When you can write a screenplay then have others see it or watch it once it’s filmed and they have the reactions that you had when you were creating it, there’s no better feeling. Read more>>

Sara Edenfield | Illustrator & Barista

I think most creatives take this path because it feels like the only one. Six years ago, I couldn’t imagine working the rest of my life doing anything that wasn’t art. So much about living has always felt jerky and uncomfortable. The only time that went away was when I was making something. Something about drawing was so smooth and easy, even when I my work looked wrong. It was the only thing I really had confidence in, so I went for it. Now, it’s less about feeling like it’s the only way and more about knowing that this is the way that will bring the most joy. It’s still the answer, but the dilemma is not so dramatic. Read more>>

Jen | Cosplayer and Costumer

I’ve been making art for as long as I can remember. I used to sit at a tiny table in the kitchen and draw with pastels, chalk, or whatever my grandfather handed me during our summer visits. Some of my fondest memories are making art – from my dance class to the last piece of art my grandfather and I made together, to singing to my grandmother in the ICU. Read more>>

Messieurs Swank | DJ|Producer|Songwriter|Creative|Entreprenuer

Initially, I don’t know if I consciously pursed an artistic or creative career. Creative endeavors were always such a part of my upbringing that it seems like a natural progression. My mother is a published play author and well-known teacher and speaker in the community where we grew up. Naturally my family was always involved in the things she was involved in. My father was an avid music collector, so there was always music and entertainment in our home. My family have always been strong advocates of education, and also stress the importance of cultural knowledge and creative endeavors. In the summers my siblings and I would attend a community cultural arts program created and operated by my mom and my aunt. We studied black culture, dance, music, arts and a plethora of other topics. It all culminated into a performance for the community at the end of the program. As I think back, I was groomed for artistic and creative endeavors as far back as I can remember. Read more>>

Bed | Producer/Artist

Expressing myself is important to me. I didn’t really feel like I would have been able to do anything else long term if I couldn’t express myself in it. Also a great outlet for me. Read more>>

Matt Siegel | 3D Animator & Motion Graphics/VFX Artist

After a few years of working as a software consultant, I started to really desire having a creative outlet. I was spending a lot of my weekends at concerts and music festivals and slowly started to realize how much I loved the visual aspect of live shows and how my background in computer science could help me get started with VJing (visual jockeying) software. I toyed with the idea for a while and eventually took the leap in June of 2019, downloading After Effects to create 2D animations and Resolume to learn how to mix visuals for live events. Since then, I’ve spent a lot of time exploring different visual styles and mediums, eventually settling into exploring the 3D world and all of the challenges that it brings. I still do art only as a hobby, but I’ve consistently pushed myself to put in 2-4 hours every night after work into learning and experimenting with digital art. The more time that I’ve put into it, the more I’ve fallen in love with the creative process. Read more>>

Caprianna Bethune | Cakes By Cap

I chose this career because I truly love what I do. When I see someone enjoy my product that really makes me extremely happy and pleased that with all the simple ingredients I use from my pantry I am able to make a yummy treat. Read more>>

Stephen Keown | Video Producer & Musician

I was drawn to both video and music production at an early age. My parents were both amazing at providing my brother and I access to gear that allowed us to experiment and understand how it all worked. So when it came time to choosing a career I knew that I had to at least try and find something that filled my “creative” cup before I ended up in a cubicle. Luckily I ended up with an internship with an Atlanta-based video & event production company and I’ve been with them for the past 26 years. I also knew that music needed to be a primary component of my life as well. So once I had my video career path in order, I started playing in several bands in Atlanta and Athens and have kept music as a central part of my life. To have a career that facilitates my desire to grow creatively has been truly rewarding and one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Read more>>

Destin Howard | Poet

I decided to pursue a career in poetry because it’s something I know I’m good at and that I can be competitive with. As far as my writing goes I feel that my lyricism has involved a lot especially within the last 4 years when I decided to take it serious. I write and perform spoken word poetry because it makes me feel good I think it’s the easiest way for me to express my self. Read more>>

Christian Gerner-Smidt | Biotech Operations Manager & Musician

I always loved music growing up. Some of my earliest memories are sitting on my dad’s shoulders at a rock n’ roll festival screaming lyrics at the top of my lungs and being completely captivated by everything. My dad had a huge record and CD collection growing up, so I would always rummage through it and listen to all sorts of stuff, from Paul Simon to the Beatles to U2 to REM to Mozart. As I got older, I played xylophone and sang in the youth choir at my school back home in Denmark. After my family and I moved to the US, I started playing guitar and have basically been playing in bands and writing music since high school. Music has always been a vast part of my life, even now as I moonlight as a musician while working a day-job at biotech startup. It’s something I’ve always prioritized and made time for and honestly, I still can’t quite put my finger on a specific reason why aside from passion and love. Read more>>

Don “Rhythm” Sparks | DJ Artist (adeeperrhythm) & BLISScakedup Creator

Creativity feeds my soul and brings me joy! I wanted to build my career life around that joy. I also wanted others to experience a similar feeling through my work. Sharing my joy with others was the driving factor in choosing to be an artist and creative. Read more>>

Jennifer Demary | Seamstress & Animal Lover

My happy place was spending time with fur friends and my pet sitting business of over seventeen years provided that. Expanding into Kritter Couture happened unexpectedly and quickly forced me to step out of my comfort zone as a full time pet sitter to a full time seamstress almost overnight. My mother bought me a sewing machine for Christmas and on Valentines Day the following year my creative career was born. It takes so much hard work and dedication, but my pet product line has come so far these last four years and I’m excited to see what the future holds. I don’t know if I’d love to sew as much as I do if I wasn’t creating for fur friends, but what I do know is I am extremely proud to say that I am the creator and maker of Kritter Couture – Your Pets “Go To” for fashion and fun!. Read more>>

Jasmine Jones | Master MUA, Beauty Education & Training Specialist, & Owner of JRA•MUA, Co-Owner of J. Studios

Why did I choose a creative career? I would say it choose me. I never imagined I’d be a makeup artist. Initially, makeup was a personal hobby I picked up during college. YouTube tutorials, & social media beauty groups were becoming a thing, so I found a lot of inspiration and new ways to channel my creativity with makeup. As time progressed, family & close friends would ask me to do their makeup, and later refer me to others. I then developed a passion for the artistry aspect of makeup and began training alongside local artists in my artists in my area. Fast forward to present day, I’m a full time beauty professional, with a vast of expertise in bridal, editorial, film, & every day makeup artistry, as well as, beauty education., & co•owner of my own beauty studio. Read more>>

Kam | Artist Entrepreneur

As a child, I was always intrigued by my Godfather Ansel Butler. In my earlier childhood, he created a lion with Oils and I had the pleasure of watching it come to life. From that moment on, I knew I wanted to do that. Fast forward to elementary in 1st grade, when they asked you what you wanted to be, I always wanted to be an Entrepreneur. At such a young age I was merely infatuated with how long the word was so I was stuck on it mainly for it being a bigger word then teacher or police, LOL but I just knew I wanted to be bigger and better! Throughout life, I always added a creative touch, or was always somewhere trying to create something. It just has always intrigued my mind, and the thought of no judgement made it even better. In highschool, I had an experience with my Art Teacher who left a bad taste in my mouth for Art and School in general, however, I also LOVE, sports so instead of giving up all together on thoughts of going to Art School for something. Read more>>

Stretxhyy | Music Producer

I feel like thats who I am naturally. Being a producer just naturally came to me because I found it a way to be creative using music making you feel a certain way. Read more>>

Kanon Daniel | Comic Arist

Ever since I could remember, being creative in any way made me happy. From doodles in my school notes to little stories I’d write in my journals, I enjoyed being able to express myself. It was a passion that never went away. If anything, it only became amplified when I really threw myself into reading comics and delving into these wild stories. At the time, it was a nice escape from the crazy world around me. I didn’t realize how important that could be for someone until I was older, and this journey as an artist became more and more about creating an escape for other people, not just myself, when that realization really hit me. At the end of the day, if I can make one person feel a little better or safer or inspired somehow from my work, then I’d consider that a success. I want to do for people what so many stories did for me at a bad time in my life. Read more>>


Gabriella Garcia | Actor, Writer, Producer

The short answer: That was the only way to live my life. As I grew older, it only made more sense. The long answer: Why does the clock tick? Why does my tea burn my tongue when I’m impatient? It just does. I saw a play when I was five, and I don’t even remember the play or what was said. I got tunnel vision and witnessed a man and a woman on a stage. It was enough. It didn’t feel like a decision, but a discovery. Acting now serves me as a channel into other creative processes including writing and producing, and each serves as confirmation. This is the only way to live my life. Read more>>

Annette Bentley Smith | Children’s Book Author

I am an author of children’s books. I chose this career to be able to make an impact on a child’s life. I wanted to be able to inspire children to become creative and allow their imaginations to run as far it will take them. After an incident with my first son regarding his skin color and his race as a child, I saw the opportunity to help other children with the same issues. The book is called “What Color Am I?” That was my first baby and I continued from there, rendering twelve books so far. They are diverse in subjects, fiction, yet realistic. Read more>>

Shari Ginyard | Handbag Designer

I didn’t choose this path. It literally haunted me any time I decided to do something other than it. I would find myself in a state of absolute apathy working in traditional fields. Read more>>

Adonis Blackwood | Photographer and Videographer

I have been a lover of the arts from as long as i remember. I started out drawing as a child, then dance, photography and videography. I still currently do everything i mentioned, with the exception drawing, I chose an artistic career because it is fulfilling to me, it literally makes me happy. Read more>>

Arthur Smith | Visual Artist & Designer

I pursued this career based on the fulfillment received in each project. I would be lying if I said, I never thought I would be in this position because something always told me I would. It’s an inner voice that inspires me to continue evolving from within in order to give the best version of myself to the craft. I went from sketching characters for fun to operating a business with this gift that creates opportunities each day. The business involves commissions for my clients, the shop to sell apparel, and now practicing tattooing to unlock another level of skills. After four years, I am still learning new techniques, business strategies, and importantly enjoying the experience of being an artist. It is satisfying to know I pour my soul into these pieces and I am truly honest with myself and people who love my artwork. Read more>>

Jenean Carlton | Pastry Chef and Cake Artist

Carlton’s Cakes is my second career and my second company. I worked in optics and managed large optometric practices for decades. In 1999 I started a consulting business and worked as an educator, technical consultant, and writer for the optical industry until 2016. In 2007 I began concentrating on pastry arts, particularly sugar sculptures, recipe development, and cake artistry. I worked in both optics and pastry arts for the next 12 years as I improved my skills with sugar work. By 2016 I knew I wanted to start a luxury cake business and launched Carlton’s Cakes, LLC. I am a science nerd at heart and am also a creative person. However, I was not always this artistic. Tragically, my older brother, a music professor, was killed in a school shooting in 2001. He was 2 years older than me and was such a hero in my life. I spoke with him the night before he was killed and had a wonderful conversation with him. Read more>>

Coco Bai’ | Independent Recording Artist

I am an independent recording artist based out of the DMV area. There’s isn’t a time that I can recall when I wasn’t singing. Music has been a part of my life since I can remember, so it was easy for me to make the decision to pursue an artistic and creative career. I’ve said this before and I’m sure I’ll say it a million times over, my satisfaction in singing used to come from being commended by others. But as I’ve grown, my why has shifted. It has now evolved into a two-fold reasoning. I definitely still enjoy receiving accolades, but more importantly, I thoroughly enjoy serving others with my voice. Oftentimes, servitude is misconceived as a single act performed by a waiter or waitress, when in actuality, to serve someone is to act as a host or hostess in offering or distributing to another, no matter what that offering may be. Having the opportunity to take people away from life’s obstacles, if just for a song, is what I live for. Read more>>

Shirley Ipaye | of Orange Canvas

It’s honestly what I’m best at…creating. I don’t waver or second guess myself when it comes to art because it’s in my nature. I’ve literally worked in almost every industry and I never felt fulfilled, there was always something missing so those jobs never lasted. I wouldn’t hesitate to call it quits no matter how much I was making or how “prestigious “ the job seemed because being unhappy was not worth it. Being a full time artist/creator was the only lane that felt right for me, the only way I could feel liberated. Read more>>