Deciding to pursue an artistic or creative career path isn’t for the faint of heart. Challenges will abound, but so many of the artists we speak with couldn’t be happier with their choice. So, we asked them about how they made the decision in the first place.

Kianu Reed | Music Artist, Business Owner & Poet

To be honest it has been my soul passion since my early years as a kid. One night after my first show performance with a friend in elementary school. We were swarmed by fans coming out the back door from back stage.. Now, at that moment I knew I truly wanted to pursue my artistic career. Read more>>

Noro Kocharyan

I pursued a creative career because I love helping people with my natural abilities. The traditional approach never spoke to me and I have committed to a life that reflects my unconventional approach. Read More>>

Foster Cazz | Musician/Artist

This is a question I have been thinking about for a very long time, yet I still haven’t found a complete answer to. Was I born with an artistic mind? Did it come about through how I was raised or how life positioned me? F**k if I know, but I love art; everything from music, to painting, to reliving my childhood through reminiscing on memories of skating/snowboarding and everything in between. Read more>>

Nikki Chen | Filmmaker, Animator & Designer

Part of it is because I wasn’t a very active kid when I was little. I got sick all the time, so I spent most of the time watching DVDs of animations from all over the world at home. Those heavy DVD albums are like my library. Seeing colorful and vibrant moving images on the screen brings me so much energy and joy. And just like most of the animation kids out there, studio Ghibli and especially Miyazaki’s works have a significant influence on me and my art career. Read more>>

Austan Wheeler | Actor

People always know when something is missing in their lives. They rifle through different experiences, friends, jobs, what have you and they diligently search for that one part that makes them whole. For me, acting is the creative outlet that makes me whole. It’s my therapy, my passion, my missing piece. We are all born to do something in this life. The ones with the knowledge on what they are the best at and act on it, turn out to live the life they always wanted and were meant for. That is why I choose to pursue an artistic career. It gives me the joy and purpose all of us seek to find. Read more>>

Natalie Ferguson | Visual Artist & Designer

To be honest, I don’t think I could exist happily unless I was able to be creative every day either in my personal life or my career. Being an artist is challenging on a mental and often physical level. It keeps me interested and inspired to learn more and be better as an artist and a member of society. It seemed like a no-brainer to pursue a creative career, but I really owe that idea to my mom. I had tried to get into Architecture my first year of University and I didn’t get in, and it was my mom that suggested I take some Fine Arts classes. Read more>>

Cassidy Swanson | Freelance Composer and Music Teacher

I pursued a career in the arts, in part because I felt it fit one of my biggest goals, which was to be a sorta modern renaissance man. I disliked the notion that if I pursued another field I might have to specialize drastically in a particular field. I was a bit of a book worm growing up so instead I wanted to find ways tocontinue to learn multiple fields and incorporate them in something I felt was meaningful both to a community and to myself. Read more>>

Saúl López | Videographer & Content Creator

If you would’ve told me while I was growing up that I would get paid to travel the world and make videos and take photos for internationally known brands I probably would’ve just laughed at you. I grew up in the arts; specifically in music, playing the violin for 10 years, the viola for 5 years and was in marching for 2 years as well. However, pursuing a career in the arts was never even a thought for me. Read more>>

Bailey Soudelier | Costume Designer, Production Designer, & Stylist

Pursuing a career in the arts, regardless of what it may be, is a notoriously scary decision for a lot of artists. With it comes stigmas about the idea of the “starving artist”, and especially in LA it’s easy to feel imposter syndrome when it seems like every artist around you is one step ahead. That being said, I think pursuing artistic endeavors is also wildly fulfilling and challenging in a way that maybe other career paths aren’t. Read more>>

Ryan Shores | Standup Comic

It almost happened by accident. I didn’t have any path when I arrived at college, but was made to understand that as long as I went to college everything would be okay. I enrolled in a dramatic arts degree and assumed that over the course of the next 4 years i’d figure out what I wanted to do with my life. At the end of that 4 years, I hadnt figured ANYTHING out. I was 5 days from graduating, and I had no direction, no plan, no job lined up and no idea what i was going to do. I was scared, angry and frustrated. I felt like I had been lied to by the world. Read more>>

Lyric Lane | Entertainer

Freedom. Every other option seemed so mundane and chain and ball like. Being a creative allows me to explore my self and talents in ways unimaginable. It allows me to challenge myself to stretch and grow in areas deemed uncomfortable. I don’t feel I could have gotten that same type of results in a non creative career pursuit. Read more>>

Safaque Kagdi Afzal | PR and Communication Professional

I was always inquisitive as a child. My father is a businessman, so the seeds of entrepreneurship were sown early in my mind. Growing up in a digital revolution, I helped my father boost his business by combining technology and creative marketing ideas which really worked well for him. Nothing as such was attempted in his domain earlier. Read more>>

Madaline Jones | Reiki Practitioner & Meditation Guide

I have always been a creative and have been an artist in various forms throughout my life. Had I been asked this question in my youth I would have given an answer along the lines of: “It was never a choice. It’s who I am.” While this is still true, like many people, my career path eventually diverged from my artistic center through societal expectations and pressures, programming, and the world around me that always seemed to be operating from behind a different lens. I eventually found my way into an “acceptable career” in tech & sales where I earned the respect of society as well as a decent paycheck and yet it seemed to come at the cost of my peace and my passion. Read more>>

Tiffany Wei | Artist

As cheesy as this may sound, I feel as though it was something that I had chosen from the very beginning. To put it simply, I could not see myself doing anything else aside from creating and designing. Although I had been very adamant about my passion for art from a very young age, it was in high school that this career path truly began to become a reality. I met various teachers and mentors who introduced me to the world of illustration and showed me how I could apply my art to the real world. Read more>>

Molly Dickler | Artist & Photographer

From as early as I can remember I was interested in performing, costuming and creating events. I was always drawing, fooling around with clay, and inventing shows with friends in the neighborhood. I went to the Music Academy at Hamilton High where I studied singing, acting, dance, photography, drawing, and painting. Read more>>

Apollo Naps | Producer/ Rapper

I enjoy making my own things. I’m a big fan of creative people that I want to be part of that world of people who just make stuff and make things based on how they see the world. Read more>>

Rob Magill | Musical Artist & Recording Label Owner

The reason for doing so, is that it’s the most information that I’m aware of. It has a completely fulfilling atmosphere, and soulful interaction. I relate it to everything else in my life or what life is. Skill wise it’s the most familiar format to me. Read more>>

Angie Stocker | Comedian & Entrepreneur

I didn’t really have any other choice. I’ve tried plenty of other occupations, but I always come back to performing and creating. Read more>>

Dana Brawer | Writer & Director for Film, TV, and Comic Books

I pursued a creative career not fully understanding the difficulties and emotional burdens that an arts career comes with, but I didn’t really see any other future for myself and still don’t. I work as a writer and director for film, TV, and comic books, and as unstable as the work can be – especially coming in the middle of the pandemic – I rarely question that I made the right choice. I say *rarely* because there have been dark times in between shows where I could barely afford my Los Angeles rent. Read more>>

Kira Hooks | Singer/Songwriter

There’s days where I ask myself why I pursued an artistic career, and it either leaves me in doubt of my ability to maintain one or grounded in what some may call a ‘higher purpose’. To be honest, I was privileged to do what I do. I’ve been comfortable in many ways to sit down and create. I’ve been able to tread water because of it. I also knew what kept me stirring the pot. Read more>>

Ida Yvette Robles | Indigenous Contemporary Boricua Artist

Why did I choose an artistic career? I chose this path because not only is it satisfying for me and a daily getaway, I love the joy and aw I see in others when the look at my art. To know that I can touch a persons soul and spirit with my creations is one of the most wonderful blessings. Also, to be able to create and capture my culture and its beauty, it’s life, its struggles and strength is an honor beyond any explanation. It’s a career that I love and I am proud of. It’s not a fully sustainable career as of yet but I know one day it will be. Read more>>

Ben Long | Cinematographer

As a kid, I was lucky enough to get to pursue hobbies that had immediate interest to me: sleight of hand, drawing comics, cooking, writing. What resulted was a set of skills that didn’t really fit into any typical technically-oriented career. When I discovered filmmaking late in high school, it revealed itself as the perfect blend of technical craft and artistic outlet. I can’t really imagine doing anything else now, but at the time it seemed like a paradigm shift of understanding what all these different disciplines could fit into. Read more>>

kurumi | graphic designer or something

i guess i pursed an artistic career because at the time (9 years ago) photoshop was the only thing i was somewhat decent at and i was able to find a job as a graphic designer without prior experience / schooling. that somehow turned into my career. Read more>>

Taylor Turner | Bakery Owner & Cake Artist

I stumbled upon my artistic career by accident. I graduated college in 2015 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology. Shortly after graduation, I became a cake artist. Baking and designing cakes was never a goal of mine but quickly became therapeutic for me. My creative career as a cake artist started from burnout. I was burnt out from working 2-3 jobs at a time to make ends meet. I kept trying to find something that I was passionate about but that would also generate income. Over the next couple years, I started (and didn’t finish) multiple businesses. Read more>>

Mike Penny | Shamisen Performer & Composer

I feel lucky to have found my vocation in music so early. Having a sense of being particularly suited to do something in life, and having the ability to pursue that thing, is an incredible privilege. Music has been my guiding star since the age of about ten when I first started playing, although my ideas about what type of artistic career I want for myself have changed countless times as I’ve grown. Read more>>

Danny Koerber | Reality TV Producer

I was always passionate about film & television as a kid, but growing up in the south was pretty tough, as it can be for a lot of creative people! I was bullied pretty badly for not acting “masculine” enough so I think that kind of forced me to try to be a “normal” kid instead of pursue those passions. I grew up thinking it’d be impossible to work in the industry without having connections or being rich so I gave up.  Read more>>

Taequan Black | Recording Artist, Songwriter, Actor

You know sometimes I ask myself this question or even something similar to. Growing up my mother wanted me to be either a Doctor or a Pastor. I could’ve very well chosen those avenues but my environment gave me music. For those who don’t know my story, I didn’t have the best childhood growing up or even a positive outlook of my life, music was my escape. I would write in my notebook all day, it just seem so natural and fun for me to tell stories. Read more>>

Steven Vanhauwaert | Pianist & Steinway Recording Artist

I get asked this question from time to time and I am never quite sure what the answer is. When I grew up, we had a piano and a lot of LP’s with classical music and I developed an admiration for music and the magic of the musicians playing it. I had good grades and could have also gone into engineering or physics, which were (and still are) also intriguing to me, but there was something mysterious about deepening myself into music and see what I would find in that world. I could not resist the temptation and the challenge it presented. I suppose in many ways I had no idea what I was signing up for, I was just following my intuition in a way. Read more>>

STELLY N/A | Celebrity Wardrobe Stylist

I pursued a creative career because it was the only career that would excite me. After college, I went from job to job searching for the perfect fit, but I hated every job. I knew I was not a person meant to work behind a desk. Most days were very unfulfilling and that was an awful feeling. One day I decided to change all of that so, I left my corporate job with Delta Airlines and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in fashion. I knew I was destined to have a creative career it was just about the right time and just taking the risk. Read more>>

Laura Bradley | Laura Bradley – Lead Singer, Songwriter and founder of The Longing Band//Lead Singer of ABBA LA – A tribute to ABBA

1a. Why did you pursue an artistic or creative career? As it turned out, pursuing an artistic career was not an option; it was the only logical choice. I graduated from Florida International University with a degree in Political Science, specializing in ancient medieval philosophy, which makes for fun cocktail party conversation and absolutely nothing else. My intent was to pursue Law School, but while in University, I spent my weekends singing at weddings, bar mitzvahs’, fundraisers and performing in theatrical productions. At some point I was earning an income as a full-time singer working in bands and beginning to write songs. Read more>>

Carlo Mendoza | Cinematographer

I was 9 years old when I fell in love with photography. This was the beginning of my artistic exploration as a kid. I enjoyed watching TV and going to the movie houses. I then joined the theater group in grade school and through this, I got the chance to audition for a magazine children’s show called 5 and Up in the Philippines. I had no experience being an on-cam talent but somehow, I was chosen to be one of the TV show’s hosts or reporters, as we were referred to. it was through this amazing experience that I started to learn about telling stories and communicating through media. Read more>>

Salvador Vasquez | Producer

I do not recall the exact moment I decided to pursue a creative career. I believe I was naturally drawn to the entertainment industry. I do remember in high school, I applied to Pali High’s New Media Entertainment Academy. That gave me glimpse of the world and its potential. I’ve never looked back since. Nowadays, I want to focus my energy on content that has a positive influence. Read more>>

Alyssa Ruffin | Singer-Songwriter & Recording Artist

Music has been my passion for as long as I can remember. My mother is also a Singer-Songwriter. When I was five she competed in a singing competition and went on to the finals at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. When she came home, we watched the competition back and there was a little girl named Ashley. She was also five years old and she competed in the same competition as my mom. I have always sung for as long as I can remember. I was always inspired by my mom but in that special moment, seeing another little girl doing it gave me that extra spark to pursue it. Read more>>

Tyler Tafolla | Musical Theatre Writer & Composer

I grew up up on a healthy diet of Disney, Spielberg, George Lucas and The Muppets. I was that kid watching TV Land and The Dick Van Dyke Show at 11 Years Old. I loved comedy and stories that could take you to another world. I gravitated towards stories of people wanting to become something more or be a part of something bigger than themselves. I think one of the most influential experiences though growing up was watching Mary Martin fly through the window for the first time in Peter Pan. Read more>>

Amira Gill | Vocalist and Music Therapist

Every interest of mine is creative or artistic – so at some level – I don’t think I had an option but to pursue an artistic career. Sometimes I entertain the what ifs that crop up in my mind: “if not music, then what else would I have chosen as a career?” I weigh my options. Read more>>

Danica Carver | Portrait and Fashion Photographer

To be honest, I never considered pursuing anything but a creative career path. From a young age I dreamt of being a dancer, writer, or photographer (I really wanted to be Britney Spears but we won’t get into that), so a conventional 9-5 was not in my ideal plan. When I was deciding whether I wanted to study English or Visual Communications in college, my parents were extremely supportive of either choice. My parents life-long unconditional support of my creative endeavors has definitely given me the confidence to pursue life as an artist. Read more>>

Khyran Shank | Artist-Entertainer & Business Owner

The reason why I’ve pursued the career of an artist or creative rather is because I’ve never been able to just sit still. As I grew, I kinda knew that a regular 9-5 schedule wasn’t for me. Not to say that there’s anything wrong with that but I just knew I had more to offer for myself Read more>>

Jennifer Gómez Grande | Actress and Model

I chose an artistic career because it’s what makes me the happiest and I really enjoy doing it! I’ve always grown up having a curiosity and interest within the arts, and once I pursued it and tried it out, I felt like it was something I was meant to do and I would love to keep doing it for as long as I can! Read more>>

Sara Kil | Writer/Blogger

I’m supposed to be a writer. Everything that has happened to me has led me to this point. I didn’t choose it; it chose me. I’ve had people say that I can write, and that gave me confidence. Writing has been healing to me. I want to write and inspire others to chase after their dream. Also, my faith in God is important to me and all the glory goes to him. Read more>>

Justin Nuckols | Producer, Drummer, Keys

This Dark Heaven, is Derek Hackman & Justin Nuckols. We each started in our artistic careers at very different times, yet for similar reasons. Both of us were stunned by live music when each of us were in high school – it lit a fire in each of us to learn an instrument, and make it on a stage. Derek started in the local music scene in 2008 in high school after seeing a couple live shows which made him think “local bands can’t be that good – but I want to be THAT good and put on shows like this”.  Read more>>

Raymone Walton | Recording Artist/Entrepreneur

Since a child I could remember being surrounded by the sound of live instrumentation, singing, & dancing. I myself didn’t know that I would grow up to be an artist but every time I would hear the sound of the drums snare, the deep vibration in a bass guitar, the screams of a lead guitar and my cousin or uncle singing on a microphone hooked up to an amplifier to complete the process caught my attention every time. Read more>>