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.

Nina Grace | Singer-Songwriter & Peacemaker

I’m the type of person who is curious about so many things. I may be pursuing a career as a singer and songwriter, but I have a past life as a dancer. I’m also very passionate about animal welfare and learning languages (currently learning Japanese). In college, my less creative career interests ranged from astronomer to sociologist to translator for the UN to veterinarian. I can say very clearly though, why I have chosen the path to leading a very creative life. There is no better method of expression than through art. I get to say so many things that would be difficult to express in everyday life. The craft of songwriting has an incredible power to pull things from my heart and mind and put it all together into something that is cohesive and relatable. My favorite thing about being creative – it can be such a connective force. Read more>>

Alex Nester | Singer-Songwriter

I don’t feel like I chose an artist/creative career. Instead, I feel like it chose me. When I was in third grade I auditioned and got the lead in my school play. I had wanted to be an actor before that, and was stoked at the chance to play a lead role on stage. I also had a solo. That solo changed my life. I went to a small school so we only had one performance, which was pretty much for all our parents. I got a bit nervous before the show started, but when I sang that solo something changed. I was overwhelmed with a feeling of such great joy. It was an elation I didn’t know could exist. I still get that feeling today. Such great joy and peace from being exactly where I belong and doing exactly what I’m meant to do. It’s like my soul found it’s home. After that little solo in third grade I knew I wanted to sing and make music. It became my life in that very instant. A year later I started working in the studio. Read more>>

Matt Ravenelle | Industrial Designer

Art and creativity was something that came naturally for me growing up. I was known as “the art kid” throughout grade school and in the back of my mind, I always knew that whatever I pursued professionally in the future was going to be something creative. I think what makes the creative discipline so interesting for me currently, specifically industrial design, is that it has a lot of power to shape society. It can take what is deemed a cultural impossibility and turn it into a cultural possibility. It can empower people, include people, gather people, and make life a little more pleasant. It’s thrilling to be able to create something with your own hands, whether it’s an object or experience, in order to influence someone’s life in a positive way. There is nothing more exciting than taking natural resources and technologies – mixing and reordering them to form an idea or solution – and then bring it into the physical world to change our cultural reality. Read more>>

Tisha Brenee’ | Fashion Photographer

I pursued a creative career because being creative allows me to be myself. It allows me to dive deep into my imagination and push the limits. It really makes me happy to create and produce images that were once just a thought. I’ve always been a huge fan of art. As a child, I was always creating something, from drawing, sewing, to photography and even making mini movies. I knew right away, that I’d work in the creative field. I just needed to master one thing, & it was photography. Initially, photography wasn’t a career choice, I just enjoyed capturing the essence of art. I didn’t really know how to turn it into a real career. Until I started to take myself serious, I began to grow an audience that loved my work & it became a full time career that has propelled me farther than I could’ve ever imagine. Read more>>

Kyle LaLone | Singer-Songwriter, Session Guitarist & Music Educator

Because it is what excites me and gives me the most satisfaction. Read more>>

Melissa Tasslo | Actor & Artist

Since I was a kid I was always drawn to artistic things, dance,music,theatre m,everything. Art makes me believe that everything is possible, something where most of the time you don’t need words to express yourself. Art is so pure and perfect in the imperfection. I did A little reflection in these times of quarantine. Art is not always considered important like being a doctor, engineer or lawyer, it is believed that they are “easy careers, hobbies”. But Can you imagine a world without ART? Without music, without museums, without movies and tv shows, without books, without dance ? Without musicians you wouldn’t have music to listen and relax, without painting, crafts, ceramics and artistic activities you wouldn’t know how to spend your free time, relax and distract yourself and help the creativity of the little ones at home, without actors, directors, writers you wouldn’t have anything to see, feel understood and go to different worlds. Read more>>

Kristina Denton | Actress, Writer & Producer

According to my mother, I told her I wanted to be an actress when I was two years old. What I knew about being an actor at that age remains a hilarious mystery to me. What I do remember was a few distinct periods in my childhood and adolescence of feeling very alone. Whether it was from being bullied at school or just feeling generally misunderstood, I didn’t feel like I belonged. And then came movies and television. I have vivid memories of finding a deep connection with the characters and their struggles. It was so profound for me to find belonging in their stories. I even remember one day, sitting on the floor in our family room by myself when a wave of truth washed over me that said ” I want to be a part of this. I want to help people feel less alone.” I’ve made my best effort to incorporate healing into storytelling. Read more>>

Joan Zodianz | Intuitive Artist, Astrologer & Angel Medium

I have always loved art, and I have always loved using my creativity to share different types of messages. I find that art soothes my soul in so many ways. It’s my therapy to create. I also really just love creating intuitive and energetic artwork that expresses how I feel about spirituality and diverse cultural beliefs. Read more>>

Jonquil Wilson | Fashion Blogger & Content Creator

I find that it’s the only thing that truly feeds my soul. I’ve always had a yearning for creative outlets my whole life, and my mom was very instrumental in letting me explore that side of myself. Getting to exercise my creativity and plan outfits, shoots, locations, photo ideas has been such a rewarding experience! Read more>>

Andres Paredes Arroyo | Director & Producer

I come from a cultural byproduct of latino history and western media. I grew up watching American tv series, cartoons and movies. Everything I saw growing up reflected the culture of the United States, that slowly permeated into my life and that of all my fiends. We never really noticed this but there was a small subconscious despise that had formed against our own culture; against our music, our movies, our traditions and our people. I decided I wanted to pursue a creative career when I noticed how much media had damaged me, my culture and that of many other countries. I realized that the ability to communicate and tell stories is one of the most powerful tools for change. Decisions are taken from within our emotional brain, not our logical brain. Read more>>

Racquel Roberts | Vocalist, Songwriter & Audiobook Narrator

I chose a career in the arts because when I was performing, I felt the most myself, like I was standing in my clearest truth. I also felt energized, turned on and excited when making music or acting. I initially entered college at UCSD as a Science Major with an emphasis in Occupational Therapy. My mom thought I would be good at it, knew I wanted to help people, and knew I could make a good living in the field. One semester in though, I knew in my bones that I wasn’t in the right place. I changed my major to Musical Theatre, with my parents’ full support. Read more>>

Laurent Malaquais | Filmmaker

I never felt like there was a choice for me. Read more>>

Melissa Center | Actress, Writer & Producer

From a very young age I knew that a life in the arts was for me. Despite my parents’ consistent attempts to dissuade me! I’ve always been a very sensitive person, which naturally lends itself to artistic expression. I was also exposed to the arts early on, thanks to my parents, so I had a frame-of-reference for my aptitudes and interests. Read more>>

Laura Van Yck | Actress & Model

Honestly, for me it was never a deliberate choice. I started being creative from a very young age, which was the reason my parents sent me to art school. It was always my way of expressing my personality. Drawing, writing, acting out stories, I couldn’t live without it. Still can’t. I guess it was my way to discover and develop myself. Being artistic was a drive in me that I couldn’t get out, it was a part of my personality. I never really had a moment in life where I was comparing different paths in life, different studies or different careers, and contemplating what to choose. So in that sense, it wasn’t a choice for me, I was just driven towards it. Of course in the end you still make the choice to actually go for it, or abandon it. The support of my mom and dad definitely played a huge role in that for me. and without them I probably wouldn’t have come this far. Read more>>

Earl Park | Rapper & Sketch Writer

After college, I worked as a high school teacher in Oahu. It was a demanding job, but like what every teacher says, the kids kept pushing me to do my best. I honestly envisioned myself working that job for a long time. But something happened that put things into perspective for me. I remember waking up one weekend to an emergency alert that said BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. I called my friend Caleb and told him about the message I just received. Looking back, we were strangely calm about the whole thing. We reminisced about the good times back at Occidental, and I told him that I had no real regrets. But if I survived this, I said I would move back home to LA and try to do music for a few years. See where that goes. Well, I’m here now, and it’s been a fulfilling journey so far. Read more>>

Celea Guevara | Artist & Educator

Well I am start first by saying that art live in me since I was inside my mother’s womb I was born gifted. From a very early age I was fortunate to develop the ability for the Arts. I was first discovered by my father. He saw the unpolished stone hidden in me he first gave me the push to continue in this career; it was that way that he created a master plan for my life where I had no idea I would be able to advance further. My father’s plan was to send me over to Mexico at the Fine Art School. Time passed and that plan did not come to pass. I am able to be an artist because of God’s grace, my father, my creator, my redeemer, my everything, to whom I honor my life. Trials and challenges are always in the way; there were times when I could not manage to feel defeated because the way is long and hard. Being a creator forced me to become resilient in the way I live my life but also in my processes and enjoy aspects of becoming not what I want, but what I have been called to become. Read more>>

Marilyn Anderson | Author, Speaker & Award-Winning Film and TV Writer

I didn’t have a choice – my creative career chose me! I wasn’t always in the arts. I didn’t go to school for it. In fact, I have a couple of degrees in biology and physiology. But while working as a Biomedical Information Specialist at the National Academy of Sciences (say that five times fast!) I was acting in dinner theatres at night, and really loving it. So I decided – I didn’t want to work in science anymore — I wanted to be a STAR! So I quit my job, sold my car, sold my furniture, sold my boyfriend (didn’t get much for him) — and moved to New York to become a star! A week after I got there, I got into a Broadway show. It was so exciting. The show didn’t last long, but I knew an artistic career was for me. I went on lots of auditions, did some acting gigs and performed stand up at The Comic Strip. Then one day I knew I had to take a vacation or get a job. Read more>>

Devon Glover | eMCee, Poet, Playwright & Teacher

I pursued an artistic career as a way to work for myself. For a long stretch of time, I was having more financial success with my contract songwriting and performing jobs that my part-time teaching and retail jobs combined, and I felt that my pursuing an artistic career was the foremost way for me to provide income and survive in New York. This opportunistic career fell in my lap. Work as The Sonnet Man brings me in schools worldwide, giving me the pleasure of combining both of my careers – education and music. Read more>>

Sam Jennings | Creative Consultant & Artist

Growing up I was inspired by the tremendously talented artists that came before me. In particular I saw the musician, Prince, as a shining example of an artist living up to full potential of his creativity. His passion was for music, but he played an active part in all aspects of his experience – photography, design, fashion, video, movies, etc. I appreciated his dedication to his craft and bold presentation to the world of who he was. It inspired me to pursue my own creative vision. I felt the power or art and inspiration. I loved how the right song, movie, book, performance, or image could powerfully connect with an audience and change their view for the better, improve their lives in some way, big or small. The power of connection and community can be expressed so profoundly through the arts that I wanted to be a part of it. Read more>>

Stacy Moffatt | Illustrator

I pursued a creative career because that is the most authentic way I connect with the world. I always knew everything else would leave me feeling like there was a void. Innately, creativity is my legacy for being alive, and that doesn’t mean only in terms of the arts. But everything. It is the way my brain was wired. Read more>>

Julia Olsen-Rodriguez | Professional Ballet Dancer, Choreographer & Instructor

For as long as I could remember I always knew I wanted to dance. My first exposure to Ballet was when I was 3 years old. I was watching a tv broadcast of Mikhail Baryshnikov’s The Nutcracker. My mother told me I was glued to the TV when it came on. Soon after I started my training in Ballet and ever since it was all I wanted to do. I dedicated myself and my life to dancing. It gave me ultimate joy and I strived to never stop moving and to never stop improving my craft. Read more>>

Jill Lin | Co-Founder

Both my husband and co-founder and myself come from the creative industry. He’s a creative director and I’m a fashion illustrator. Given our love for design, fashion and animals, it seemed like the perfect way to utilize our skills to create something new but also give back to animals. Read more>>

Andrew Pisula | Wood Sculptor & Engineer

I have been creating in one medium or another for my whole life. But hadn’t found the right vehicle to feel like immersing myself in art made sense. Once my skills with wood grew and my tool sets expanded, I couldn’t stop making. It still took several years to share my work with the public and become a commercial artist. After my first show, the feeling of sharing something so personal with the world was amazing. I knew this is what I wanted a major part of my life going forward to be. Read more>>

Tony Nguyen | Artist

Like many artists, I grew up drawing and doodling all the time. I’ve always loved making art and seeing my progress through the years. The scariest part of making art is always the beginning – the blank canvas. But one of the best parts is the feeling of accomplishment after you spend hours and hours making something. I chase this feeling every time I put pencil to paper and it helps me get over that initial artist’s block. The other best part of creating art is seeing something you’ve done make someone happy. When I create something that makes someone smile or cry it just reaffirms that what I am doing has purpose and value in the world no matter how big or small it is. Read more>>