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.

MiruDaru | Singers-Songwriters

The reason for pursuing an artistic career was to have an outlet and a voice. We are from Latin America and our culture is very conservative. Art, in our case, music, has provided us with a safe platform to talk about issues that matter to us, to explore and express different feelings and experiences we’ve gone through, to connect with other people who feel the same way we do, and to be agents of change and support for others. We truly believe that art allows to start conversations, and it sets our souls free. Music helps to create communities and bring people together. That is something that drives us and inspires us to create and write. Our music now creates intercultural bridges and it’s a magical experience when we can unite, educate and enjoy together different sounds and rhythms. Read more>>

Daniel Shar | Comedy Writer

Writing comedy has consistently been the most effective way for me to connect with people. My columns in the high school newspaper earned me the “Best Sense Of Humor” senior superlative in my class of +500 kids, even though I was only friends with 5 of them. In college, I didn’t even have acquaintances until I took a playwriting class and had my work read aloud and received well. Thankfully, my social skills have improved over the last decade, so I’m no longer solely dependent on my writing to make friends, but it is still my favorite way to express myself and converse with the world, so I can’t really imagine myself taking any other career path, nor do I want to. Read more>>

Ben Eaton | Guitar Teacher, Singer Songwriter & Session Musician

The reason I chose to pursue a career in the arts is the same reason I continue to pursue that career every day. It makes me feel good. It makes me feel excited to wake up and work at it every day. It soothes my troubles and takes away my pains and I feel so accomplished when I make a bit of progress. As a musician, creating a sustainable and stable career seems to be getting harder by the day, but I continue to work towards that because its what I enjoy doing and what gives me the feeling of inner completeness that I think everyone looks for in their day to day life. Read more>>

Kate Faust | Singer-Songwriter, Musician, Teacher, Medium, Intuitive &Writer

I pursued an artistic career because I truly believe that music, being a vessel of creativity, and refining my ability to share my energy and my heart through an artistic medium is what I came into this life to understand. All of my teaching work and all of my life lessons surround this central point… that power, empowerment, healing, pure expression is all about the ability to surrender, to allow, to take up space, to broken open and reformed, to shapeshift, to say “yes” to all of life, to be fully in our bodies, to be willing to be wrong and so far from what we know is possible and find the capacity in ourselves to keep going. I have a career because I have to. I have to work an earn money to justify my existence under a capitalist system. I understand that and I work and play within that. Read more>>

James Kicklighter | Film Director

When I was 12, my father died unexpectedly. He went from perfect health to dying in a week. The Centers for Disease Control later thought that it could have been one of the first American cases of SARS. I was in Eighth Grade at the time, and we had just come back from a Father/Son camping trip, where he first developed a cold. When we got home at the end of the weekend, he woke my mom up in the middle of the night because he couldn’t breathe. The local hospital in Claxton, GA did what they could to stabilize him, but two days in, the double pneumonia had set, and he had to be rushed to the bigger hospital in Savannah. Unbeknownst to me at the time, he died in the ambulance on the way. They brought him back, just in time to get him to the ICU. This is day 3, with no underlying conditions and pristine health. Read more>>

Andrew Stuart | Photographer

I decided to pursue a creative/artistic career, after spending over 10 years managing hard rock musicians, I fell in love with photography and it was time to finally take everything I had learned about managing other peoples careers, and apply at my own creative outlets. One of the best decisions I have ever made. Read more>>

Katt Balsan | Actor & Airbnb Host

After graduating high school I went to Business school (in France) for 5 years and worked as an apprentice in different corporations in the sales and marketing department. At 23 years old I had been employed by 3 different companies and was graduating with a Master 2 degree in International Business Development. For the past 5 years I had had a taste of what the corporate world was like. At this point; life didn’t really make sense to me. I couldn’t imagine my self being an employee for the rest of my life waiting to retire. I was just miserable, there was no purpose or goal to reach. Question is: “How to be happy in this society”? What could I do that would make me as happy as often and as much as possible? I thought about all the things that truly made me happy. And that’s when I realized that I could follow my dream of acting, “playing pretend”.  Read more>>

Alice Biletska | Film Director & Writer

Ukraine in the 1990’s was one of the last places you would ever want to go. Anarchy in it’s purest form led to the state where there were no money, no values and no future. But if you got there, you would not want to leave. The romance of the era was there, on each step. It was surreal, deeply dramatic and hard to resist. There was no cinema on the screens, but it was happening every day on the streets. The air was breathing with stories and it became the only air I ever want to breathe. So since I was 5 I knew that I want to be a filmmaker. Nevertheless, when it finally came time to go to university, my dad said that I will be a prostitute if I go to film industry. I did not feel like it, plus I started doubting everything in my life, so I took a couple of safe turns left. Firstly, it was the faculty of Economics, then Art History department, alongside with dozens of different jobs. Read more>>

Jarred Ratley | Drummer

I believe the music pursued us. We’re more or less just a vessel delivering information. I don’t think a single one of us know or could think of something we would legitimately rather be doing than making music. Read more>>

Rob Lewine | Photographer, Musician & Writer

I don’t remember making a choice in those terms. There wasn’t a moment when I asked myself whether or not I wanted to be in the arts. In high school I didn’t think about a career. I preferred liberal arts – literature, art, humanities, history — to science and math (though everything interests me now). At Swarthmore College I majored in English Literature but took enough art history classes for art to have been my second major. I’d taken pictures since childhood, using old-fashioned bellows cameras that had been in my family for several generations. And now I took pictures of my new classmates. But I didn’t think I was especially creative. I didn’t ponder such things. At UCLA Film School, I began to think about becoming a director. My first project was successful — one of two Project One films ever to be included in the annual student film screenings. Read more>>

Courtney Nichols | CEO & Co-Founder

I remember, at a very young age, being asked by a teacher whether I considered myself a “business” or a “creative.” This harshly limiting categorization followed me throughout my youth, into college, my internships, and eventually the infancy of my career. I would often pursue opportunities simply because it would prove that I am all business, and when I found myself entrenched in a creative project I worried that I would lose my entrepreneurial edge. It wasn’t until I begrudgingly attended law school that I realized the power and the beauty of being both creative and business, while refusing to categorize yourself as either. This epiphany lifted weight of my shoulder, as suddenly I could traverse all worlds, without the self-doubting dread that I was not living up to my defined category. My take away: pursue what makes you feel the most you, regardless of what was engrained in you since birth. Read more>>

Dominic Hure | Cinematographer & Director

When I was in Jr. High, I started making stop motion films and submitted them to a local film festival. They were mostly claymation parodies of bible stories. I won a few awards and the money I won became the budget for the next year’s film. This led me to pursuing a career in film and study at California State University Long Beach. There, I continued to make short films and documentaries while also working as a video producer at 22 West Media, where I made a multimedia Video and Podcast series titled Hyperlink, in which I interviewed people about their secret passions. At CSULB I also found a love for lighting and cinematography. Right now I’m working as a freelance Director of photography, gaffer, and director for short films, music videos, commercials and other fun projects. I have grown a lot as a filmmaker, but I still love telling stories using stop motion, 2D and 3D animation, and puppetry. Read more>>

Montana Rose | Founder, Visionary & Trendspotter

The most important thing for me its to be authentic to myself. When I lay my head down on the pillow at night I want to be satisfied that I was the designer of my destiny. Even when its hard, even when I have no leads for projects, even when I have grandeur success, I want it to be because I chose and took the sacrifice and bet on myself. Pursuing and becoming successful in my creative career is probably the hardest yet most fulfilling thing in my life. I thought about it – I created it – people enjoyed it. Read more>>

Kirill Yusim | Cinematographer & Teacher

This is a very interesting question, the reason I say that is that artistic can be defined in many ways. Artistic is someone who thinks no only in the lines but may think of ways around the lines or creating your own lines. Now that being said I chose an artistic field for my career in a way that may seem accidental but I believe that all things happen for a reason. The reason or the path may not show it self at that moment but it will at some point. My story is kind of an interesting turn of events that lead me to here. It all kind of started in 5th grade when I got into a fight with someone who has since that day been my little brother. But at that time or that moment I hated him and we got into a fist fight. Our punishment was that we had to work on the school plays. The principal did not want to expel us but wanted to teach us a lesson. Read more>>

Jenny Koesling | Angel Channel, Walking Portal & Candle Designer

After a period of time- two decades- of working with someone else’s dream, my dream began to scream back at me. I think it’s critical to listen to your inner voice and mine telling me to express. Express hard! Express often. And to start wherever Spirit led me that day. It could be making toast with the perfect spread of butter. Or writing some lyrics down or photographing something passing by on a stream. It could be a communication between myself and another. Corresponding in some way with a divine light in any manner- saying something gorgeous. Expression came up like a wellspring. Trying to stifle that any longer caused me a lot of pain and there was an ache that I had to address. So it was just really about rebirthing the artist inside of me and allowing her to make everything around her more beautiful, with her words or whatever it was I was feeling inspired to share or create. Read more>>

Tom Kramer | Writer, Director & Producer

I was lucky enough to know what I wanted to do since I first started making films in grade school. I love bringing my odd conceptual ideas to life and seeing how people react. I love the feeling when my work can inspire, entertain, and educate the audience. Read more>>

Dalila Kriheli | Concert Photographer

I was. born into a family of artists, mostly painters. I was always surrounded by creative energy and I tend to see the world slightly differently, and have a different perspective on this journey we call life. I feel it chose me instead of the other way around. Read more>>

Nicole Sands | Designer

They say “the best businesses are built around passion.” And that’s exactly how what drove me to pour my whole heart and soul into something I had been really building up to my whole life. Crafting colorful Swarovski crystals bracelets was my idea of an after school “sport” in my younger years. That morphed turned into crystalized belt buckles (yes, belts!), and then my eagerness to create full-time led me to my first job at a local bead store, where I would spend afternoons making pieces for the store and repairing beadwork for customers. It was then that I learned the true art of jewelry making. People began to buy my pieces off my back and, naturally, I knew I had to start my own jewelry company, Stones Be Thrown. But life got the best of me, and my degree in Journalism took me on a wild ride through the world of entertainment editorial – a demanding job that unavoidably made me put my talent to the side. Creating was my form of “therapy.” It was gone and I felt off-track. Read more>>

Shannon Keller | Teaching Artist

Somewhere between middle school and high school I found art. Not just that I enjoyed making things and dressing like an artist ( which I fully and completely owned), but the colossally transformative impact that art can have on a society, a group and an individual. It hit me all at once and I was forever under its spell. Creating art is a primal behavior. Art communicates, art heals, art tells our stories and art provides shared experiences (specifically music, dance, film etc). I don’t think it was much of a decision of mine to pursue but it was a long and meandering road to get to teaching. I am a teaching artist. I teach art to young people and it is a highly rewarding endeavor. It is rewarding in the way most would assume, by demonstrating an approach or a technique and having the students nail it or by breathing their own life into a skeleton of a project, watching the problem solving while witnessing and encouraging growth. Read more>>

Kipp Tribble | Actor, Writer & Filmmaker

People always say to find a career that you love. Something that makes you happy. The creative process was always that for me, so it was a no-brainer. Read more>>

Terri Lloyd | Art Renegade

I love problem solving, and story telling. And I’m not a good fit in corporate culture which kills creativity with meetings and committees and conformity. Read more>>

Jenn Muse | Creature Actor, Stunt Woman, Photographer & Digital Artist

Growing up surrounded by talented artists and having the encouragement and support of my family, allowed me to express myself through creativity and ultimately led me to where I am today. Read more>>