Artistic and creative careers are among the most rewarding, but they also come with unique challenges. We asked some of the city’s best creatives to tell us why they choose to pursue a creative career.

Len Foley | Children’s Book Author/Illustrator

When I turned 50, I realized it was either now or never. And if not me, then who? Read more>>

Andrea Lane | Singer/Songwriter and Actress

I think, honestly, every career is or can be creative. For me, being creative has always been a gift that fuels my life and artistry. Growing up, I went to a youth performing arts high school as a dancer. Then I fell into acting and finally music. But, basically I was born an artist and I always knew it. Pursuing a music career has been a great joy and it has paid off in ways that I didn’t expect. I never expected to do so well singing inspirational songs in spiritual venues. So, to answer your question, the arts chose me and I said yes. Read more>>

Phyllis Katz | Actor/Writer/Improviser/Teacher/Director

It’s what I was wired to do. I don’t remember being any other way. I was born into a family of gregarious, creative, funny, emotional people. Any form of inventiveness was rewarded. In the midst of wild dysfunction and moderate to high drama, making each other laugh and playing music had the power to dissolve or at least entertain a different perspective of the varying degrees of distress anyone might be experiencing. All my life I’ve had a passion to express myself and connect with people, at least in part, because I keep trying to understand the world better and, in some ways, fix it. I’m talking about both my personal world and the world at large. Read more>>

Hieu Gray | Filmmaker & Producer

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been drawn to storytelling. My head was always buried in a book and I was always writing in my journal. It wasn’t until I left a successful career at CNN that I really let my creativity shine. As the founder of the boutique production company Pho’nomenal Media, I finally allowed myself the freedom to tell the stories and narratives that matter the most to me – showcasing the breadth and diversity of the Asian American experience. Once I allowed myself the freedom to just create, my imagination took me to unexpected places. I find I’m constantly challenging myself to take that extra risk and try something new. I recently just completed a food documentary called Quan 13 about the Vietnamese diaspora in Paris told through the lens of food. Read more>>

Michael J. Epstein | Filmmaker

Art is the system by which we make sense of our perceptual and psychological interpretations of the world. I have a science background and am deeply invested in the scientific method and scientific pursuits, but there are abstractions that can only be touched by art. Read more>>

Brian Harwick | Artist

I chose to pursue this field because it has been a dream and passion of mine since I was a kid. Art and the creative process is so important to me as well, it declutters my brain and helps me to engage with the world and communicate in a very pure way. Read more>>

Michael Tullberg | Photographer & Writer

I went after a career in the arts because quite honestly, trying to establish myself in a more “conventional” field made it clear to me that doing so was a pointless waste of both my time and energy. Read more>>