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.

Alysa Gutierrez-Sierra | Dancer & Actress

When I grow I want to be an actress, a singer, a choreographer, creative director, etc. I want to do it all. I love being able to be creative and express myself. I chose a creative career because I feel this is who I am. Since I was a baby I loved music. I danced before I could even walk. I was singing before I could even talk. Read more>>

Nate Hapke | Writer & Director

I chose to pursue an artistic and creative career for myriad reasons. First and foremost, I feel most alive when I am being creative. Secondly, I have always felt a sense of accomplishment when I have made someone laugh, or at least done everything in my control to make them feel welcome and okay. And finally, I knew it was the easiest way to share my empathy with the world. Read more>>

Kevin Palencia | Digital Compositor & YouTube Content Creator/Streamer

As a young boy, I loved playing video games and having people watch me beat a level or just be the best one in the game. All my life I loved being competitive and being the best out of everyone I would come against. I’m glad I went through that phase in life because living in the world we currently live in right now everything is a competition. I do my best to one-up the person next to me or the person in front of me. Pursuing this creative career of Visual Effects and being a content creator/streamer on youtube takes a lot of competition and lashes back but “you have to be able to take the hits and keep moving forward” – Rocky Balboa. Read more>>

Adam Siddiq | Multi-Award-Winning Author & Narrator

Earth is an anagram of heart. You can’t spell either without art. Art is how we express ourselves. Pursuing an artistic career wasn’t a choice for me, it’s necessary for the purpose and impact I’m committed to fulfilling during my lifetime. From the dawn of humanity, storytelling has been how wisdom has passed down from generation to generation. Through stories, humans find meaning, relate to characters, discover more aspects of themselves, expand awareness, and somehow, one million different people can read the same story, and yet each one receives something different from it, something unique to their experience of life. Storytelling is the art I’ve pursued and the reason why is because I want to inspire a wonderful, kinder, loving, magical, compassionate, sacred, beautiful, meaningful, harmonious, evolved, integral, intentional change for humanity. Read more>>

Azra King-Abadi | Lighting Designer

I made the decision to pursue a creative career because from a young age I really couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Like most children I had interest in many subjects. I wanted to be an anthropologist or to study space in some capacity, but those ideas never went anywhere. I loved to draw and my parents always supported me and so I was placed in alot of art classes throughout my childhood. When I was graduating high school and trying to choose post-secondary education all I wanted was to create art! I found that theatre was the place where I could combine many artistic interests, and lighting specifically is like painting on the stage. Read more>>

Marton Veress | Professional Drummer & Instructor

I have always wanted to play the drums since I was a child, however my parents signed me up for piano lessons first. When I got to high school, I had this itching feel again, that I should really play the drums. I believe that I found my path through this instrument and it changed my whole life ever since I started playing. Playing drums is a way of self expression and its the main motivation behind my journey in life. I don’t look at drums as just an instrument: it teaches me life, constantly forms my personality and makes me a better human. I met some outstanding, very valuable people, heard stories and experienced things which made me to look at the world through a different lens. If I wouldn’t play drums, I would be a complete different person. Read more>>

Criselle Mesa | CriselleBelle Crochet & Knits

It’s weird to say, but I feel like my life has always been pushed toward pursuing an artistic and creative career. Ever since I was little, maybe since I was 5 or 6, I could remember my classmates and various adults in my life just amazed at my drawings and little models I would make. Their praise fueled my fire to create even more. And I also want to say I had an entrepreneurial spirit at a young age as well, because I remember not too shortly after realizing my drawings were above average, that I started to try to sell my work to make money. I don’t want to short change my very artistic/creative family either. Read more>>

Greg Wyszynski | Fluid Artist

I have been drawing and painting or just doodling all my life. I love art and all concepts about it; whether it be performance art , photography, glass etchings,charcoal, etc. My favorite artist is Salvador Dali who does surrealistic paintings. My favorite medium is acrylics because of the faster drying time. This technique I have been doing for the past three years is called fluid painting. It’s basically mixing paint with various mediums and pouring it onto canvas,wood, or glass and using a torch to finish it off. I had my first art show and sold six of my paintings; it was than that i realized I had found my niche in life. Since than I have sold over forty paintings and eventually hope to make a living doing this. I always dreamed of being a professional artist and today I am. Read more>>

Amanda Mullins | Artist & Musician

I went for a creative career because that is what most interests me. Ingenuity has been ever-present since I was a child; meaning I have always gravitated toward many forms of artistic expression. It all started very early with vivacious interest in music and art. I have continued to land in creative job positions along my path from fine art, costume, make-up, and graphic design, in addition to music and fashion. It even shows up in the cookbook I released through the plating of my dishes to the photography and layout. A creative career was always a clear choice because that is where I get lost in the process and feel the most driven. Read more>>

Francis Cassol | Professional Drummer & Music Educator

It might sound funny to say this, but when you’re a musician, its not really YOU who chooses music, it’s actually MUSIC that chooses you. Musicians are so deeply connected to music that it`s just a part of us. I didn’t choose this career for the money, I chose it for the passion. I chose it for how listening, playing and creating music makes me feel. Read more>>

Chuck Copeland | Filmmaker & Storyteller

When I was in undergrad I majored in economics and finance because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but I thought that would give me a strong foundation for a variety of careers. I found during this time that I really wanted to be creative and considered a career in advertising. I’m not sure why, but I liked being creative. Unfortunately when I graduated it was the 2008 financial crisis and the only job I could find was in finance, but after several years I still had a creative itch that needed to be scratched. If I was going to change careers, I thought why not try pursuing a career in film and television? In June 2020 I graduate with an MFA degree from UCLA. Read more>>

Becky Sapp | Cinematographer & Photographer

I pursued a creative career because I feel the most like myself when I get to be creative. I also love problem-solving which is often required in the creative process. Read more>>

Alfie Lucero Canaan | Musician, Arranger, Composer & Performer

The reason I pursued a musical career can be summarized into a simple love for music itself. Ever since I was young I was fascinated by music. However, I did not have the resources and will to actively start in music, even as a hobby. I loved listening to music, especially rock and metal music. I finally decided to pick up classical guitar as a hobby at first. Then eventually switched to electric guitar (I was and still am a huge Jimi Hendrix fan). Unfortunately, I did not have the discipline or the drive to dedicate to music beyond a fun hobby, When I grew older and more disappointed in my lack of guitar technical growth and talent, I decided to switch gears and try out bass guitar. Since then I fell in love with the instrument and the low end. Read more>>

Matt Fore | Cinematographer & Director of Photography

Ever since I was little kid in elementary school, I always had wanted to make movies. I could never really draw or paint, but I could always read and write well above my grade level, and always dreamed of making my own movie — the first handful, of course, being my own take on existing films I was into at the time, like a version of “Aliens” with all of my elementary school friends as Space Marines taking on the alien menace, or a version of “The Terminator” with kids my own age, or even a “Jurassic Park” knockoff (never mind the budget it would take to even remotely pull something off like that). But, finally, around 6th Grade, I finally managed to pull it off with a small group of friends — on my parent’s Sony 8mm video camcorder in 1996, we made “Psycho Kid,” a 6-minute horror film. I was hooked. Read more>>

Jillian Kogan | Assemblage Artist

I have always been creative, but my artistic career started serendipitously and organically. Just as actress Lana Turner was discovered at the soda counter at Schwab’s, I was validated as an artist by the Los Angeles Times. Back when I was spearheading marketing events at MTV, I assembled my first flag artwork to decorate a large wall in my two-story apartment in the historic Four Gables building in West Hollywood. Times staff writer David Keeps spotlighted it, noting, “Kogan lined a wall with a Jasper Johns-influenced state flag she made from scraps of cloth.” The article came out on a Thursday and things got pretty Cinderella story surreal fast. Read more>>

Hope Raney | Recording Artist, Songwriter & Voiceover Actress

I chose to pursue a creative/artistic career because I wanted to inspire people the way that other creatives inspired me. I believe the ability to create art is a privilege and one of the biggest Blessings. I wanted to be fulfilled in my life knowing that I used my creative gifts to bring happiness’ healing, and joy to others the way that art has changed my life! Specifically, through music, I am able to reach people in the universal language. Music speaks where words fail, and I am forever grateful to be a part of that narrative! Read more>>

Bridgitte Jackson-Buckley | Writer & Author

In all honesty, I would say the artistic/creative career of writing chose me. I’ve been writing in journals since I was in the fourth grade. Although writing has always been (and continues to be) my “go to response” and first choice of practice to reflect and give voice to what’s inside, for a long time it was not a career I thought I could have. I doubted my writing abilities. Despite the fact that I often felt prompted to write, for years I ignored the internal prompt to write and tried to be happy in other professional capacities. However, the idea of writing and the urge to write professionally simply would not go away. Read more>>

Lindsay Lucas-Bartlett | Mama, Actress & Writer

When I was seven my father took me a local Saturday theatre club in our area. It was either that or tennis and I was really bad at tennis at the time. From my first class at The Palace Theatre in Westcliff-On-Sea I fell in love, I felt uninhibited. I was a shy child and this was such a great outlet for me and it just fit like a glove. Through school I was not very academic, I did not find out until much later on in life that I am dyslexic and because I didn’t know I thought I was stupid. I didn’t excel as other kids did in certain subjects at school. I was actually meant to be in the special ed program but because I was getting bullied at school I never went to the classes. I didn’t want to give the bullies another thing to bully me over. Read more>>

Mack Goldsbury | Have Saxophone Will Travel

I really had no choice I do love music and the whole idea of playing jazz being able to create your own solos I was completely fascinated. Read more>>

Candace Grace | Jewelry Designer & Artist

I never get tired of creating things. I sometimes do it in my sleep. I’ll dream up something when I’m half asleep and wake up and get straight to working on it. Having a creative outlet is something I’ve always wanted, and though it took most of my life to come to me, I’m lucky enough to now have it. It started with a successful day of hunting for sea glass. I thought about jewelry I’d seen made with it and decided to learn how to drill it and how to make jewelry. Gradually I got better at it and expanded to making healing crystal jewelry, combinations of crystals and sea glass and garden art. Lately my sun catchers are my obsession. Read more>>