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.

Fish, the Vermin | Artist & Producer

To be honest I just really like making shit. Growing up I liked working with my hands, I was always building random things or doing origami which is folded paper art. Music didn’t peak my interest until about 7th grade. At the time I didn’t really know who’s or what kind of music to download so I just went off what some of the kids at school were playing like Odd Future, MF DOOM, A$AP Mob etc. Immediately upon listening I started picking apart the different layers and patterns in the beat and from there I wanted to start making music. It wasn’t until summer going into freshman year of high school that I started teaching myself how to make beats on FL Studio. Since then I’ve learned how to use other DAWs like Ableton, Logic, and Pro-Tools and I got the privilege to meet so many dope artists from the same city and even in different countries. I still have a lot to learn, a lot to give, and a lot of sounds for the world to hear. Read more>>

Taylor Jed Martin | Creation Starts Here

I’ve always been a creative since a young child. Creation is a very special thing; bringing into existence what didn’t exist. Whether it be poetry, film, music or any other art form, creation and perception is based on each individuals vantage point and perspective. Even when you are able to make a positive impact on just one person, that’s what it’s all about. Read more>>

Baz King | Music Producer

Despite many attempts from my family to derail the internal drive to lead a creative life, my heart persevered. When I was confronted by the proposition, “Why don’t you work to make money now, and then after do what you want to do?”, that I came to realize the great lie told to society that we must suffer to be safe. The act of creativity is innately rewarding and is the fuel for the muses to sing louder into our ears. Not to say that I refuse to do what I don’t enjoy: admin work, taxes or cleaning the toilet. I am incredibly grateful that my days and energy can predominantly be directed towards making art, expressing emotions and providing an atmosphere to assist people process their own feelings. Being a creative is a role I am so honored to have, and I am so thankful that it provides me with all that I need to keep expanding and exploring. Read more>>

ÊMIA | Songwriter, Producer and Pop Artist

I grew up pretty sheltered so diving deep into music, books and movies was the best way for me to feel like I was experiencing an exciting life. Since then, it’s been so important for me to have a creative career and almost try to reverse engineer that feeling I had as a kid. I want to create little universes for people to escape into and find themselves in. The writers and artists who did that for me shaped me into who I am and I would love to do that for someone else. Read more>>

Taylor Dahl | Singer Songwriter, Musician & Actress

I pursued an artistic and creative career because I felt I had to. I had to or my life would be unfulfilled. The stories, songs and performances that live inside of me had to come out. These creations give voice to a part of my soul that needs to be set free. I love the creative process…. and sometimes I feel frustrated with the creative process, but mostly I love it. The beauty and vitality of inspiration. That feeling that I must drop everything and write down my idea immediately. The flow that moves through me when I get in the channel of creativity…It’s magic and cathartic. Once I started performing and sharing my music with the world, I realized that I could have a profound effect on people’s lives. I could bring them joy, peace, love, understanding, change and a feeling that they weren’t alone with their thoughts and feelings. That is the biggest gift. Read more>>

Jairus Edwards | Musician/Artist

The makings of a true artist I think isn’t something you simply pursue. As cliche as it may sound, I believe the creative life is something that chooses us. Taken in my life experiences and the community I’ve built is what shaped me as the artist I am today. As an artist, I dream of bodies of works that’ll last forever, I dream of changing the world through music one show at a time, and my journey of growth to reach my fullest potential as a human. The belief in myself and my community to even attempt such goals is why I am an artist. Read more>>

Max Zupanovic | Creative Development Executive & Artist

Ever since I was a child, my parents always pushed me to explore my creative side – whether it be listening to classical music as a baby for inspiration, reading me countless children’s books with illustrations, or enrolling me in art courses. I was a natural in fine arts, and obsessed with drawing and painting, especially monsters and surreal imagery. I was even voted “most artistic” student my senior year of high school. I was (and still am) an avid film buff, and loyal fan of hip-hop music (and have even been writing/producing my own since high school). These passions helped me to understand that tapping into my creative prowess was an absolute necessity, and to be successful in my future career, I would have to have to have a job that allowed me to utilize that part of myself. Read more>>

Young-Ji Cha | Visual Development Artist & Painter

Pursuing a creative career was a pretty easy choice for me since art class was only place I felt comfortable and excited to be in during school. I figured I’ll just follow the path that I was most comfortable with even though I was not a very creative person. This push me to work harder since there wasn’t any other profession I saw myself to be in the future. Read more>>

Evan Miller | Entertainer, Singer, Dancer, Teacher

I decided to pursue an artistic career because it has been everything I have ever known. Art has saved my life countless times over, kept me out of trouble and most of all, connected me with so many people around the world! Giving my energy to people through my artistry allows me to connect with their minds and show them that the world most definitely is a beautiful place. I am art and art is me. Read more>>

Kayla Mason | Steadicam Operator.

I pursued a career in film because of my passion and love for creating and telling stories. Read more>>

Louise Fogerty | 2D Animator & Illustrator

I’ve always been a storyteller, and I’ve always been drawing for as long as I can remember. It was a childhood dream of mine to create my own comics or my own series one day, and whilst I had many interests and passions, I was at the heart of all that, an artist. Going down an animation and comics rout has enabled me to draw from my interests, create what I love, and give something entertaining and often informative back to the world on topics and subjects which are valuable and important to me. Creating art and stories to be enjoyed by many is extremely fulfilling, and I could never see myself doing anything else. Read more>>

Ben Blackburn | Brand Identity Designer + Artist

Nothing in school ever clicked with me… I just liked to draw. I actually wanted to drop out of college when my brother suggested I should try graphic design. It was the first time it ever occurred to me that I could make money using my creative abilities.The art classes that I took in college really helped me learn to express some of the most complex feelings and thoughts that I had through my art. Read more>>

Tristan Ott | Actor, Stuntman, Director, Producer, Content Creator

I decided to pursue an artistic/creative career because it was something that called to me, lights me up, and allows a deep connection to others regardless of languages spoken, region of origin, and social standings. The arts and creativity are all expressions of what is inherently a birthright and physical manifestations of emotion and energy. Art can transcend time and space and evoke mind and soul expansion. Turning art/creativity into a career for me is upholding the age old adage of “if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life”. Read more>>

Lex Nycole | Culture Curator | Creative Entrepreneur

I chose to pursue an artistic career because I knew that art and entertainment were some of the most influential platforms to be a part of. Once I understood that, I wanted to do all that I could to use art as the vehicle to drive the progression of change that we all want to see. I love what I do and I wouldn’t want to do anything else. Being a creative entrepreneur I get to wake up and choose to create a world where my work has meaning. As a curator I get to make culture more accessible. . Read more>>

Perrine Virgile | Composer

I think for me there was never another choice possible. Music has always been a part of my life: my mom started giving me piano lessons when I was 5 years old, and after that it felt pretty natural to keep studying music as I grew up. I attended the French Classical Conservatory, fell in love with film scoring at 13 years old after watching “Donnie Darko” and since that day, wanted to become a film composer. Read more>>

Chalise Varner | Illustrator & Graphic Designer

When I was in high school getting ready to apply to colleges, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I saw my friends picking out which college they wanted to go to based on the career they wanted to choose, and that definitely was not me. I changed my mind about 5 times while in college from wanting to be a teacher to a firefighter, a fine arts major, and then finally landing of graphic design. I had always drawn my whole life and had even created binder covers for my friends in high school for a quick buck. When I started taking classes that allowed me expand my art in ways I had never know I was capable of awakened a fire in me. I knew then that I wanted to pursue a life in the creative world and being part of a community of people who inspire me. I love to be in a field where I am constantly pushed to be better and to do better. Read more>>

Shane Macias | Full-time Crocheter & Artist

Like most artists/creators, I started experimenting with art at a very young age. A moment didn’t go by where I wasn’t drawing or crafting. I always shocked my family with my huge imagination. As I grew older, I slowly stopped creating because I thought I had to pursue another career in order to be successful in life. In college, I was extremely lost and unhappy. After two years of college, I dropped out and started to craft again. I went from just doodling to rekindling my love for crochet. Before I knew it, I had a flourishing business. Read more>>

Marc Kharrat | Creative Director & Producer

I was born in Beirut in the late ’80s and then migrated to California in the mid-’90s. That move really shaped who I am today. I had to adapt on the fly, meet and make new friends, and completely change my way of communicating. At first, I was reserved but quickly realized that I needed to stay true to myself, no matter what country I’m in now. As a kid on the edge of becoming a teenager, I had to find a hobby in a new country. Read more>>

Gueston Smith | Shipping Container Home Design, Experiential Mobile Retail Space Design, Logo Design & Jeet Kune Do Instructor

I would say that my creative career pursued me. I come from two creative parents. My mother suggested that I become an architect when I was 12 years old so that I could design a home to accommodate my younger sister’s special needs. My father was a self reliant man who refused to work for anyone but himself. I was inspired by my mother’s vision and my father’s attitude to create my own life in the way that I envisioned. I built skills around my ability to visualize and create which gave me value to integrate with the rest of the world on my own terms. I held on to my mother’s suggestion and got my Bachelor’s of Architecture from the University of Southern California. I am so grateful for the love, support and encouragement that I received from my family to pursue my own creative career. Read more>>

Steven Saturn | Artist & Tattooer

I think your career should be who you are, defined by natural ability and passion of interest. Pursuing a career, to me, means taking a passion seriously enough to make it your life’s work. My passion is creation; I decided to become an artist because I knew that no matter what, I would be content at the end of the day knowing I was doing what I love. People need that from each other, and for themselves. When passion and intention is put into your living it improves the quality of your work and those who need your services. Read more>>

Jaison and Auriana Spencer | Graphic Design and Screen Printing

My husband and I chose this artistic career for different reasons. Personally I have been an artist for as far back as I can remember. I grew up illustrating my own stories, drawing cartoon characters, painting, and video editing. I’ve always wanted to make art for a living so running a business where I create logos, edit designs and screen print t-shirts is the ideal career for me. My husband has always been creative too and wanted to provide value to people by helping them put their ideas onto shirts. He is a self taught screen printer who continues to perfect his craft. Read more>>

Ashley Hall | Content Creator & Influencer

I pursued a creative career because the signs were all there. I struggled with corporate jobs – I didn’t enjoy them, they weren’t challenging enough, or they didn’t have budgets to keep me, and more. It got frustrating after a while to continue running into these blocks, so I had to figure something out, and quickly. I was already blogging and after being at a Valentine’s Day event in 2017 with a lot of the mega influencers, I knew I was where I was supposed to be. Time and time again, I’ve seen multiple signs to let me know that I’m on the right track, so I continue to press forward. Read more>>

August Pemberton | Musician & Audio Software Developer

Whenever I write a new idea that I really like, I always go to bed listening to it on repeat – the feeling of making something and being proud of it is such an incredibly rewarding feeling. As any kind of creator, you’re ideally making things that perfectly match your tastes, so not only do you get the satisfaction of having created something yourself but you also get to enjoy something that perfectly suits you. Some people might find it difficult to listen to their own music once it’s been released, but I love it – this is music that was literally made for me. Read more>>

Danny Cano | Writer, Director, Actor, Musician, and Podcaster

I decided to purse a career in the arts, primarily as a means of connection. Growing up I was an incredibly shy child that sought solace in things like films, comic books, music. I was a shy little kid up till 5th grade where I discovered that I liked to make people laugh, I became a class clown and from than on I felt I had purpose and finally I felt I had value rather than never being seen. I pursued all artistic endeavors that I had a passion for with reckless abandonment, from music to podcasting, to acting, to film making. Read more>>

Kyoko Caulfield | Fine Artist

My artistic career started by joining the art club to spend more time with a boy I had a crush on, and grew into my hobby, my career path, and eventually my whole life. I started by painting portraits. Even when I worked a retail job with no connection to art, I would ask my coworkers to pose for paintings to practice my skills. After that, I expanded to textile art, photography, writing, and sculpting. Although I employ a range of methods when producing my art, it all reflects my Asian heritage and mixed-race background. Read more>>

Lindsay Solo | Vocalist, Songwriter

My creative and artistic journey was one of self discovery and curiosity. Growing up, I would memorize and sing every Disney song imaginable. Around the age of 6, I sang “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” for my grandmother that brought her to tears although she rarely cried. A moment I will never forget while she was recording me on a vintage recorder. I started singing “The Lord’s Prayer” in church and discovered an unspeakable joy that came so naturally. I had moments of nervousness but used it to fuel what I felt was naturally given to me. Read more>>

Rockie Brown | Dark Pop Artist/Singer/Songwriter

Music has always been my life. I grew up in a musical family… music enveloped me. I remember they would pass a hat when I would sing at parties as a little girl, and a light bulb went off as I went home with a wad of cash haha! My first paid gig was singing back up for my mom at a corporate event at the age of 10. Throughout school, my favorite class was always music and all my electives revolved around choir, theatre and dance. Read more>>

Amy Maeven Pace | Artist, Writer, Activist and Creatrix

Growing up I knew I wanted to be an artist and a writer, but I had the type of family that didn’t look at the arts as a viable career option and they pushed me towards other pursuits. Throughout my teens and twenties, I struggled with finding a path forward that felt authentic and wasted a lot of time and money trying to convince myself to get degrees in history and music so I could become a professor. My failure as a student made me feel like a failure in life, so I re-branded myself a gypsy, an anarchist, a hundred other things trying to create a context that distracted everyone from the fact that I had not managed to finish college and become a real adult. Read more>>

Melissa Dale | Photographer & Video Editor

I was always fascinated by photography and the power of images to transport you to a different time or place. I remember looking through the old copies of National Geographic when I was a little kid, and I was very much aware of the fact that someone was able to travel to those places and take those photos AS A JOB. Mind blown! I started getting heavily into music around 9th grade and was obsessed with the portraits in Rolling Stone and Spin. The love of music and visual images organically led me into video and working with musicians in that capacity. Read more>>

Liam Aguilera Kelly | Film Director and Writer

I wish I had some poetic speech or justification for this “divine call” upon becoming an artist, but after many years of asking myself this exact same question, I believe my answer is rather simple. Truth is, I grew up in an artistic household, where I was encouraged to lead an “alternative” life: organic food vs fruit roll-ups, homeopathy vs allopathy, David Bowie vs Luis Miguel, David Lynch vs Michael Bay. Read more>>

Jordan Ifueko | NYT Bestselling YA Fantasy Author

I was an avid bookworm as a kid, but unfortunately fantasy novels were a genre that did not love me back. I never saw anyone like myself represented as a main character in fantasy novels, but stories were a a place where all parts of me, plus the magic additions, could exist and thrive. Read more>>

Eleanor Kingston | Singer, Songwriter

When I was six, I was cast as a princess in the school play, ‘Character Matters’. I remember looking out at my parents in the audience and falling in love with performing; Even though it was my first time performing, I felt like I was being reintroduced to a passion that felt so comfortable. Ever since then, I pursued acting heavily but when I experienced a lot of anxiety in my early teens, I turned to poetry and lyricism. For me, acting has always been a way to explore other states of being and music is where I really express and meet my inner self, my own being. Read more>>

Daniel Diaz | Dancer/Choreographer/Stylist/Creative Director

Being an artist/a creative has been instilled in me from an early age! My mother was always very supportive of me trying out different forms of expression-whether it was playing the piano and the trumpet at a young age, to doing colorguard and ballet folklorico. Read more>>

Glenn Bolton | Musician, Comic & Producer

Realizing it was more satisfying than working in an automotive factory. That and I’m too polite for armed robbery. Read more>>

Michael Johnson | Film Director

As artists, we’ve developed a perspective about the world that shapes our truth. We all want to share our personal truths, find others who agree with us, and change the minds of those that don’t agree. At my core, there is a perspective of the world and life that I had grown up with that has shaped me. All I can do is share my perspective and hope that it resonates with someone watching. Truthfully, I pursued an artistic career to feel less lonely. Read more>>

Mitchell Coriell | Screenwriter & Poet

I deeply believe that all forms of art exist as the catalyst to unite people from all colors, creeds, faiths, orientations, moral values, etc. Art is a fabricated expression of a universal, humane emotional experience and thus opens audiences to such a vulnerable state, that any and all walls get torn down until we are but humans feeling alongside other humans feeling. It is in that moment of purely vulnerable emotional exertion when we, as living human beings, can unite and rejoice in the mere capability to show such engrossed passion towards a given piece of art. Read more>>

Jane Goren | Fine Artist

I would have to say that I did not pursue an artistic career…it pursued me. I majored in Biology and minored in Art at Brooklyn College. I found that drawing things I saw microscopically was quite compelling. I also loved depicting dissections. These things found their way into my paintings and jewelry designs. I worked as an immunohemotologist at Bellevue Hospital in NYC and found myself rearranging bloody slides into floating staircases which I adapted to set designs for an off – Broadway theater I was working at at the time. I quit my paying job and took the chance and the rest is history. I have been immersed in my life and career as an artist ever since. Read more>>

Dave Perea | Lyricist, vocalist and harmonica player for Donkey Island Penitentiary

I don’t have any other marketable skills? Haha! I’ve been creative since I was young, and my parents encouraged art and talent in all their kids. Before I knew how hard it would be I decided to be a creator when I grew up. That vision has changed many times, and along the way I’ve become something of a Renaissance man, with a myriad of skills that help the band as an organization. Read more>>

Natasha Houston | Special Event Freelance Makeup Artist

I pursued an artistic career because I get to do something I absolutely love while helping women feel their most beautiful and confident self on their special day! As a special event makeup artist, it’s an honor to be a part of that. I get to meet amazing women and travel to different locations which offers variety. That has always been very important to me. Read more>>

Jamil Akim O’Quinn | Writer/Director/Lover of Humanity

As a queer. black man, from Compton, CA living with Multiple Sclerosis, I’ve often found myself fighting to be heard and seen within a world that has deemed me systemically voiceless. I fell in love with performance art when I was young child. First, within the context of my church. I sung, gave speeches that I wrote, and danced. This led to acting in theater and on television. After having many diverse careers from finance to touring with a Broadway show, “The Book of Mormon”, I realized the global impact and reach of television and film. I also realized that if I am to give voice to those who are systemically voiceless, then I needed to be at the helm of writing the stories. Now, I write family narratives that give voice to people who are destined to be seen and heard in a society and world that at attempts to shut them out. Read more>>