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.

Jessica Liu | Designer + Founder, Petit Anjou

I actually didn’t start off in jewelry. I used to be an attorney, but even then, I always found myself itching to do something creative where I’d be working with my hands. I used to take on side projects as a hobby, one of those being woodworking. I’d restore coffee tables from around the house, completely changing the look by adding a new tabletop and refinishing the pieces. Read more>>

Keanu Alameda | Music Producer

I pursued Producing Music when I was younger because all my life I was in Love with music and I would always loved to hear how it was created. My strongest memory is Jay-z ‘Dirt off your shoulder” being produced by JT, hearing the story how he started with drums then doing the melody and SFX with his vocals was just insane to me. Read more>>

Meghan Lewis | Book folding artist @JustWingingItbyMeg

I have another career as a flight attendant but I still needed my artistic side to shine through. I’ve always had an artistic side to me, but struggled to make a career of it. Expressing my artistic/creative side through @JustWingingItbyMeg is a great way to be creative while continuing my career as a flight attendant. Read more>>

Kefan Shi | Illustrator

I love drawing, and I think, like many people hobby is an essential motivation for pursuing an artistic career. Since I was young, I grew up loving to draw landscapes and comics around me. Whenever I showed my work to friends and family, I was filled with happiness and confidence. The encouragement made me happy with my work, so I applied to an art college. Read more>>

Savannah Keyes | Country Music Artist

Since I can remember, I have always wanted to sing, write music, and perform those songs. It’s always been something that felt natural and exciting for me to do. I was constantly writing songs in my bedroom or looking for a stage to perform on. I never considered pursuing another career. Read more>>

Maddie Stephenson | Film Composer, Songwriter & Pianist

Although I’ve been involved in music ever since I can remember, it took me a rather long time to realize why it meant so much to me. Both my parents are professional musicians, and so my siblings and I grew up playing various instruments; mine was (and is) the piano. Some of my earliest memories consist of attending the symphony, or listening to my parents practice around the house. I can still remember the warmups my dad used to play on the trumpet when I was a kid. Read more>>

Stephen Trimble | writer & photographer in the Desert West

I feel like I have always written because I love books so much. I never really made a decision to be a writer, and I never really made a decision to be a photographer. I simply wrote and I took pictures—and eventually people paid me to do these things. Read more>>

Xiao He | Artist

I never considered becoming an artist until I met Mr. Gesang Zhaxi, a Tibetan Thangka artist, in the summer of 2015. I left my hometown in southwest China and came to the United States to attend college earlier that year. That summer, I stayed on campus and received an email informing me that the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market was seeking a Chinese-speaking volunteer. Read more>>

Phoenix Phillips | Filmmaker

I pursued a creative career because it was something I truly had a passion for. I picked up a camera for the first time my freshman year of high school. By the time I graduated I had been hired to do video work in places like Greece, Alaska, and throughout the states. I didn’t make much money but it was real proof that maybe I could do this for a living. Read more>>

Emily Morse | Muscian

In my early adult years I had a very hard time expressing and processing my darkest emotions. Artistic expression was the only way that felt right. It felt innate. Words and sequence of melody was the only releiving action. It was my form of therapy. Fast forward to now. It still eases me but in other ways. I believe we are all artists for our own reasons. Those reasons fascinate me. Read more>>

Madison Anglin | Pianist & Film Composer

Ultimately, I pursued an artistic career because I never came across another field I was more passionate about. I didn’t become aware of the film scoring industry until I was in middle school but had always been surrounded by music in church and school growing up. I started out in piano lessons which taught me discipline and laid the foundation for music theory that would turn out to be very helpful down the road! Read more>>

Noah Howard | Artist

Art has always been there for me. When the noise of limited thinking clouded the view, Art provided a clear path. Through art I have gained so much support and encouragement to keep going. I remember sitting on the floor of my sisters apartment, just a few months after dropping out of college. Read more>>

Smitty Gritty | DJ/Producer + Saxophonist + VO Artist

I consider myself to be a unifier. Being an only child, I’ve spent most of my life trying to bring people together. I can’t think of a better way to do that than through music. The feeling I got from DJing and seeing firsthand how people connect with music was euphoric. I am still chasing that same high, only now as a producer. At the end of the day, if I can be a part of making music that moves others emotionally the way it has me, then I’ve succeeded. Read more>>

Allison Hudson | Artist

Growing up I never really thought of myself as creative. My parents were both professionals, and it was education that was valued – not art. It wasn’t until my senior year of college that I tapped into my creative potential. I took a drawing class on a whim, and it changed my life. Read more>>

Syreeta Brown | Author-Relationship/Dating/Sex & Intimacy Coach-Dancer-Certified Aging & End of Life Doula, Non-profit Founder

My creativity and artistry is the most essential part of me. I have known since I was a child that I wanted to serve. My confusion was determining how. The dance part of my career was determined the moment I walked into a dance studio. I remember having tears in my eyes because I felt like I finally belonged somewhere. Dance was healing for me as a child because of my home life. And now it’s an extension of everything I do. Read more>>

Lila Westcoast | Spiritual Advisor and Content Creator

I pursued an ~unconventional~ career because times are changing and life is too short to live everyday just to work. Working for myself gives me flexibility to live and experience everything I want. Read more>>

Andy Moses | Artist

It was a little bit of a journey getting there. I think I have always been on some kind of search or quest. Growing up my Father Ed Moses was a well know abstract painter but discouraged me and my Brother from doing the same. Read more>>