Artists and creatives face innumerable challenges given that their career path often doesn’t come with a playbook, a steady paycheck or any form of safety net. It’s definitely not easy and so we asked a few of the artists and creatives we admire to talk to us about why they chose to pursue an artistic or creative career.

Carmen Simmons | Creator of nstyleatlanta.com

I didn’t choose a creative career it chose me. I knew as early as kindergarten that I was driven by creative arts. I wanted to be a dance choreographer just like Debbie Allen and after I saw my cousins in their movie “Krush Groove”, I wanted to do anything that involved Hip Hop. I was always glued to a radio recording mix tapes and watching music videos. During the late 80s I became a fan of Oprah Winfrey and Wendy Williams. I think that’s when I started being in-tune with Television and Radio; but by age 14, I thought I had chosen my life’s path to be a dance choreographer. That all changed in 1993 after a very intense professional class taught by Carrie Ann Inaba and the late Keith WIlliams. They were practicing or recruiting for a Janet Jackson video and they put the fire under my butt to keep up. It was after that class that I decided I may not have the stamina to be a professional dancer. Read more>>

Bosha Novart | Photographer

Honestly, it’s all I really know, kinda defines me in way, I was always surrounded by art or somewhat intrigued by the design of everything. Read more>>

Mulan The Goddess | Model, Artist, and Graphic Designer

The most important advice that my parents always gave me was, “Do what you love”. With that being said, I pursued an artistic and creative career, because it’s simply what I love to do. I think that people tend to get lost in this fast pace world, and they forgot to stop and visualize what is truly around them. Art, creating, it’s literally all around you. Being artistic also has a lot of benefits to it as well, it stimulates your mind in ways that a math career just couldn’t. Read more>>

John Carroll DeShazier | FIlm Director

My pursuit of an artistic career comes from being able to imagine things and situations out of thin air. I’ve always been inclined at being able to turn each and every situation in real life into a story of it’s on. It’s fun to do and also it helps me escape when I need to. Read more>>

Debrica Clyburn | Beauty and FX Makeup Artist

I love creating beautiful spaces, whether within others or actually on their faces, as a professional MUA. My life’s passion and purpose is centered around art and creation. Being able to utilize my talent to express my free-flowing ideas is what motivates me to continue. Read more>>

Letoiya Jones | Founder & Creative Director

As far back as I can remember, I have always been a creative artist. From drawing to painting to story-telling to poorly singing in the shower, I am an artist ( and I sensitive about my ish). I tried to follow the path laid out for me; college, career, & retirement, but after a five year stint of being a stay-at-home-mom, I took advantage of the opportunity to become an entrepreneur. Read more>>

Neal Cohen | Co-Founder, CMO

The common thread I’ve found throughout my career is that I love exploring culture – food, music, art, travel – and figuring out ways to present my findings in creative ways that allow others to connect with something I’ve found significant and worthwhile sharing. So, if that means writing an article about a market tour in Mexico City, collaborating with a talented photographer to showcase a product or conceptualizing a video that represents the experience of a 5 days music festival, that’s how I feed my desire to create. Read more>>

Pranav Kothary | Writer, Director, Producer

I was having a conversation with someone back in India recently, about there being a higher proportion of “misfits” in the art circles than other professions, and the absurdity of that (in no way scientific) statistic. I mulled over it later that evening and realized that to pursue an artistic career requires some sort of rebellion. A profession that can exist without structures; can be, on one hand a burden to those with structures to maintain it, and on the other hand a safe haven to those who might not feel like they fit into those structures. But, the fact that professions in art haven’t disappeared confirms for me the demand for them despite them being economic burdens. Of course I just pursued film because I enjoyed it, and in no way do I think it’s anything more than a career. But it’s something for me to think about anytime I might focus a bit too much on the futility of it. Read more>>

Korynn Wakefield | Small Business Owner, Developer, Designer

I am a natural artist who refused to believe it for almost 18 years of my life! I was brought up so technical and the technical stuff always made sense to me. I was always the girl with the plan. 2+2 always equaled 4. And I liked to leave no room for question nor error. But when I got out on my own and got to experience things I had never thought to experience before, it really opened my eyes, my heart, my mind to a world where I truly belonged. Where it was okay to leave open ends and okay to not always have a plan. Entering this new world, I felt balance. It’s unusual to find people who are both technical and extremely creative. But it works out in an amazing fashion for me! I’ve never felt more complete. So, from there, I chose a career that let my creativity work with my technicality every day. Dabbling in running the business and creative direction has just made it all come full circle. Read more>>

Jennifer Morse | Interior Designer

Even at a young age, I realized that I was pretty creative and artistic. I was constantly drawing, painting or trying to build something. I would put different shapes together, and would try to somehow make it into a house. It was just something that I did and didn’t think too much into it. As I grew older, I had interests in other subjects, but I realized that my passion was in the artistic field, specifically interior design and architecture. I was excited about the idea of combining art and mathematics in a creative way. The ideas and creativity that could be done with actual structures that can be built and lived in was truly exciting for me. After that, I knew there was no other career I wanted to pursue besides interior design. Read more>>

WISDM | Producer / Engineer

Ever since a young kid, I was always interested in creating something, not just working throughout what has been already done. I always loved music and was a musical kid growing up, but I didn’t know i wanted to pursue music as a career until i was graduating high school. I just honestly can’t picture myself doing anything else, and the main reason is because through my creative efforts, I can bring joy to others and to myself. That’s the coolest thing in the world to me! Using my God given talents to give back to him and help craft the soundtrack to moments in peoples lives, whether through Producing or Engineering, just the ability to be able to contribute to something that can touch a person’s soul, that’s the reason! So I’m just incredibly grateful to be able to use my creativity in any capacity I can at this moment, and I am excited to see where it will take me. Read more>>

Millionaire’s Estate Donnie & Epiqué Watson | Husband/Wife Urban Pop Duo

Honestly, music chose us! This industry is not for the faint of heart, but it is for those with a heart for music and people, no matter the genre. Music is like this fire inside of us that can’t be extinguished. It drives us to keep pushing forward everyday as well as connects us to people and places we would have never even known are on our same vibe. Also, we both have loved and been active in music and the music industry our whole lives, so a life outside of music is unimaginable. Read more>>

Dia’Monte Oliver | Cake Artist & Gourmet Baker

I grew up drawing, experimenting in the kitchen, creating paper objects etc. I definitely don’t think this career is something I chose but was born to do. It’s literally my gift. Baking has always been something I loved from the beginning. In the midst of creating objects and drawing, the tv was always on with either, Cake Boss or Ace of Cakes playing in the background. I think watching them and seeing how creative they got with cake, drew me in. I just knew I could turn one of the paper objects into a cake chile lol. Now that I’m an actual cake artist there’s no doubt in my mind that this isn’t my passion. My love for creating & designing cakes is beyond everything. Listen, having a blank cake in front of you and turning it into a MASTERPIECE…..You just can’t deny that this creative career wasn’t made for me. Read more>>

Samuel Dunson Jr. | Artist and Educator

FREEDOM!!! LOL. I love that I have the opportunity to make choices that fit my personal agenda at the moment as well as in the future. I truly don’t believe that working a 9 to 5 job is a bad or discouraging way of life, if that job allows you to fulfill your life’s dream. But for me the freedom to see either an internal or external stimuli as a path to follow, fills me up. Over the years I have been in the creative arts, I have used such stimuli as a form of research as well as rehabilitation, as impulse as well as therapy. The Arts have allowed me to ask questions that may never materialize into solid answers. In this regard, I am completely fine as the questions are far more important than answers in the Creative Arts I don’t believe there is any other field I would have had the freedom to stretch the boundaries of what is acceptable as in the Field of Art. Read more>>

Meet Hellboy Snow | Artist

Because i realized the power of words and emotions thru lyrics in music and art, if my music can have a positive effect on someone’s life then I’m all here for it. Hellboy is for the people. Read more>>

YOGI DADA | art 4 humanity

I chose to pursue an artistic career because it is what I have been created to do. My Mother observed and nourished creativity in me from a young age. I have always been drawn to having my own business, even while working a job for many years. I have indulged in the arts my whole life whether painting, poetry, music or language, if it is creative it drew me. It wasn’t until after my Mother passed in 2009 that the voice of her prayers began to play in my heart and mind, “Baby, I wish you could just leave your job and do your craft.” I painted my first set of “Dada” earrings in 2010 one year after her passing and it exploded. It wasn’t until almost a year after that, as business continued to grow, that I asked God if this was a business opportunity He wanted me to pursue, He replied, “Who gave you the gift to paint?” By 2012 YOGI DADA LLC was formed. I pursue my passion, my art because I don’t know what else would bring me joy other than my divine purpose. Read more>>

Amanda Schneider | Hairstylist and Choreographer

I have been an imaginative person for as long as I can remember. Because of this, I prefer working in a creative field. At a very young age I started dancing — amatuer choreography — in the grocery store and on the playground. I even had a nice dance set up in my basement growing up. Eventually, I attended Ohio University to pursue a degree in choreography and dance. SInce then I have performed in professional companies, assembled professional choreography, and taught dance to students. After many years of this work, I needed a change. Although I have not yet hung up my dance shoes, my main career is “Hairstylist” now. I have worked at Marie Marie salon in Candler Park for almost ten years now. Marie Hansen, the founder of the salon introduced me to the world of hairstyling. As a struggling artist, I used to clean the salon many years ago in trade to get my hair done. Being in this milieu opened my eyes to a different career path that feeds my artistic desires, and gives me the opportunity to meet a wide variety of Atlanta’s residents. Read more>>

Petri | Director / Editor / Videographer

I chose an artistic and creative career because it’s the only way I could truly express who I am and share my creativity with the world. It’s a great feeling to know that there are people who’d like to share your passion and see your vision. Specifically with directing and editing, your creative vision always literally manifest before your eyes…and that’s the best feeling in the world. Read more>>

Kathy Puder | Producer, screenwriter, author, & teacher

Because storytelling and creating stories has always been fun for me. I like to read expressiveness when I read stories and I find it fun creating stories & films. In regards to filmmaking, it is fun to see others bring the words that you have written on paper, to life. Read more>>