We asked some of the most creative folks we know to open up to us about why they chose a creative career path. Check out their responses below.

Nathan Ricks | Musician & Music Producer & Music Director & Music Arranger

The reason why I choose to pursue a creative career was that it was in my spirit to do so. I’ve had a creative spirit since I was born. All my life I’ve done music. I love making myself and other people happy and make them smile with the God-given gift that I have of being a creative being. Read more>>

Carmen Kobayashi | Actress & Flamenco Singer

I started to pursue an acting career first because I just simply liked to pretend, to be able to understand others life and experience it. Later I realized that is more profound than that. As I learned about art (acting, filmmaking and singing), I grow so much as a person as well. I think that the philosophy of life is hidden in art in general. So the more I learn about acting I learned about life and vice versa. I believe that the art and personality are deeply connected, therefore the better person you become the better art would come out from you. And of course, all the struggles and obstacles that appears in life, for an artist is just a good source for creativity. I don’t regret choosing a creative career, because this is the only way I can express my self in my own way. Sometimes of course it’s hard, but each time I know myself better. Among the artist path, you will encounter a lot of different sides of yourself and sometimes very dark side of you. But I see as an opportunity, and a tool to meet your true self. Read more>>

Alex Nicole Windsor | Musician, Writer, & Educator

Creativity has been deeply embedded in my identity since birth. Growing up as an only child in a small town, I had to keep myself entertained much of the time. My boredom often manifested into writing, drawing, and daydreaming. Music was my biggest outlet – I would put on my headphones, close my eyes, and pretend I was somewhere else. I was also an emotional kid, and music was therapeutic. I tried to learn to play a few instruments early on, but nothing stuck until I picked up a guitar. I instantly felt like I had found a missing piece of myself. Almost twenty years later, I still can’t imagine doing anything else. I get to share my passion with others every day. Sometimes, I even get to help other bored kids in small towns find themselves. Some days are hard, but it has always been worth it. I don’t think it gets much more rewarding than that. Read more>>

Ace Darko | Artist

Being creative is my passion. It lets me be who I want to be without any barriers or restraints. I could never see myself in a position that doesn’t offer creative direction. I never been the type to stick to a script, that takes away from my own creative drive. Read more>>

Isabella Almeida | Photographer

For me there was never really a decision, I have always been a creative person and from a very young age knew I wanted to have a career that made me happy. The best advice I’ve ever gotten is “if you do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life” and that is 100% how I feel about photography. I get to be creative, work with some amazing other creatives, and take the most insane and beautiful ideas in my head and make them real. In my opinion I have the best job and I’m just getting started. Read more>>

Sophia Mayer Pliner | Sag Eligible Child Actress

Since I was a little baby girl, my parents were told I was pretty, cute and big cheeked. Strangers on the street stopped to tell my parents what pretty baby. My parents also said I was very expressive with my eyes, a happy alert, calm loved baby. So we decided to give it a try and after my first photo-shoot, I auditioned with over 500 kids casting for Carters clothing. I like pretending, dressing up and acting. Its fun, adventurous, and I have good creativity and imagination. It all makes acting fun! I have since had over 100 gigs in Theatrical, Commercial, Industrial, Print and I am agency represented. Read more>>

Leslie Rubino | Actor and Teacher

I pursued a career as an actor because of the spark I had ever since I was a child. I saw the one and only Cathy Rigby play Peter Pan in “Peter Pan” when I was 6 years old. I looked to my mom and dad and told them “I want to do that.” 19 years later, and I am proud to say that I am doing it. Being on stage has always made me feel at home and it gave me a purpose. I knew I wanted to bring life and love into people’s lives, and being able to do that for the two and half hours you spend on stage in a show is extremely rewarding. I also hope to be an inspiration for children everywhere who need the extra love and encouragement to know they can be whoever and whatever they want to be, as long as they work hard and believe in themselves. It took me almost my entire adult life to believe in myself and to really know who I am. I am a musical theatre nerd who still wants to make it on Broadway. I want to be able to show the underdogs that you can make it. You just have to believe in yourself. Read more>>

Joe Solana Simon | Actor

Since I was a little boy, I always had this wild sense of imagination and the love to create and tell stories. I was always told that this career was “too hard”. But as I got older and went to different avenues, I kept realizing that the fire to play and tell stories never left. It was always there! I was told once by a friend to “do the biggest thing you can do for God”…to really go after the thing that burns in your heart and to not live out of fear. I believe that thing in your heart was put there for reason. Go and find it do something about it. And if you don’t “make it”, at least you gave it a shot. That’s the life I want to live…. “Giving it a shot”. You get one life. Love it and live it. If being artistic and creative doesn’t burn within you, find something else that does and do that. Read more>>

Marv Neal | Wardrobe Stylist & Creative Director

I’ve always known it would be in the arts some kinda way I’ve always danced I’ve always been silly I’ve always dressed nice it was the 80s and 90s so the black culture in music and film was really happening. From drawing and loving fashion I knew it would be something creative. I won class talented in highschool art stuff has always been my life so the career chose me so to speak. Read more>>

Jessie Mar | Fashion Photographer

I pursue an artistic career because it is therapeutic to me. Through appreciating different kinds of artwork and creating unique visual impacts, I feel the healing power of art. That I’m able to express my feeling, imagination, reflections towards my life and the world. I believe art is not only a way of self-exploration but also a way to connect myself to the world through a distinct perspective. This distinct perspective for me is photography. Photography creates a space for me to design freely, to direct and play with the subjects in unordinary ways, and to dream and present my imaginations to the world. Furthermore, it opens a door for me to connect with fascinating people, artists, and clients who are passionate about their lifestyles, ideologies, and work. The pursuit of an artistic career is soothing yet full of energy that enriches my life with surprises. Read more>>

NÉA DUNE | Actress, Model, Creature Performer & Creator

I am pretty sure the creative career found me… and my why is the same from day one – creativity makes me happy in a heartbeat and it felt right from the beginning. I did know it was going to be one helluva ride but it was the next step of evolution for me personally. I was never the 9-5 type or traditional, even though I did the whole high education thing, collected degrees and flirted with science before I took the plunge. However, I was always creative on so many levels and grew up into a modern renaissance woman. Learning new things, adding versatility into my life, exploring and discovering the world… that has always been the constant. I grew up in a Balkan province, where people do not exactly dream entertainment careers into reality. I am sure my start would have been a completely different story was I born in the USA, or even the UK. It really carries an additional layer of work for us foreigners but is by no means impossible. Read more>>

Jason Eksuzian | Director, Producer and Cinematographer

The honest answer is that I thought it would be way more fun than doing anything else and by and large, I have been correct. It’s also true that there is a deep desire inside me to create and for my creations to be original, meaningful, pleasing and/or challenging to an audience. Read more>>

Casey Garbers | Freelance Artist / Curator

I am far from being the first person to make this statement, but I’ve chosen to pursue a creative path because quite frankly, I don’t see another option for myself. Creativity is something that I find in every moment of my day; something that follows me from place to place enticing me to try new things and express myself in those moments (taking others with me in the process). Making money is not really my goal either so I feel lucky that I don’t allow that factor to dictate my direction. I create with the intention of supplying people with a very simple gift: Happiness. Read more>>

Ahmad Dugas | Film & Television Actor

From the moment I received my first acrylic paint set and canvas as a child I was always fascinated with the idea of creating something out of nothing. As an actor – I breathe and create moments for the audience that didn’t exist before. I find that quite powerful. The pursuit was a natural choice when I discovered I wouldn’t be happier doing anything else. Read more>>

Dylan Sherry | Musician, Writer, Public Relations

My interest in it began when I was just searching for direction, honestly. I had to sit down and pinpoint what I enjoyed, what I felt passionate about, what’s something I could do for a while. I’ve always gravitated towards music, it started out as just something fun, but I never want to turn away from what genuinely interests me and gives me a sense of fulfillment. Read more>>

Domonic Pierno | Comedian

I’ve always felt like I didn’t fit in society’s “box”, it was hard to sit in cubicles thinking that may just be my entire life. I needed more and that’s why I started to pursue a career in comedy and entertainment, although it’s a work in progress I feel so confident that this is what I’m meant to do with my life. Once I started doing stand up I realized that was the path I was supposed to be on, the first time I lit up a room and was told that I made someone’s night was it for me. I just want to make people happy, make them laugh, and be a part of their life they remember as a great time!. Read more>>

Tessa Germaine | Filmmaker

When I was six years old I bothered my mother relentlessly until she put me into acting classes. She did, begrudgingly, and I finally had an outlet for my dramatic attitude. Then I told her, “Mom, I want to be on TV.” So she sent my photo to a handful of agents and figured nothing would happen. She assumed she could tell me she tried and it would be done. The first agent I met with signed me, and I ended up having a career as a child actor for 12 years. Why six-year-old me was so intent on being on TV I have no clue, but I think it had to do with my love for storytelling. All my life I have been telling stories. From developing full dialogues with my Barbies to acting out sketches for my family, it was the thing that drove me. I just didn’t realize it until I was applying to college. Everyone always asked me why I wanted to be an actress, and I never had a very good answer. Read more>>

Tony LaRocco | Musician | Singer Songwriter

I use art to speak my mind, or possibly to come to terms with thoughts, feelings…etc. I didn’t pursue the career, per se. I have been working on music and writing since I was 13. Occasionally, I would take some time away to pursue other artistic endeavors or focus on myself. In 2015 I started a new project. I didn’t have expectations. I had a full-time job working at a call center for an online retailer, but little by little, my focus went away from my career there to my band. By the end of 2016, I had quit and focused on the band full time. I make considerably less doing this full time than I did sitting behind a desk selling audio equipment, but good god, am I more satisfied. Read more>>

Leire Flores | Painter, Psicologyst and Art-therapyst

Actually, in the end it was a need to express myself through painting. Until I started to pulling the thread and ten years later I am still developing my creative process through my work. I did not choose it. Read more>>

Jessie Lee Thorne | Dancer/Choreographer

Art and dance and poetry were all just there for me when I needed it. And truly that is still how I try to keep it. I do not ever want to be forced to make art, or forced to make a type of art. To me, that feels more like torture. And I know torture is a bold word, but art has always been something out of necessity rather than just something to do for fun. Whether I needed to escape my home, my family, my thoughts – or dive into my questions, my mind, my curiosities, art was the one thing that made sense. I do it because I need it. I do it for the process and the journey. Creating has always been the way I communicate best. Creating is something that helps me understand my self better. When I look back at the pieces I have created, the subjects all tend to put my most inner thoughts and insecurities on blast, without me even knowing it’s happening. I remember about two years ago, I made this piece called “Girl,” which basically is about a young girl having an identity crisis. Read more>>

Scratch Williams | Visual Artist and Designer

I’ve had an interest in art history and expression since i was young, but before I wanted to be a painter, I had my mind set on becoming a teacher. After becoming loosely familiar with various portions of the subject of art, I decided it would be fun to give the actual act of creation a try. It took years of mediocrity and frustration, but eventually I became so involved in making art that I decided to change my goal, although I still think it would be an amazing opportunity to teach others the subject. My mother was another important factor in that decision. She was always very encouraging of my goals, though she imagined I would take a more practical route through either graphic design or marketing. Ultimately, I chose to pursue a career in art because of my upbringing: I was raised in a very religious household, and while I later rejected the notion of organized religion, I have found that there are many parallels between religion and artistic expression. Read more>>

Chris Melee | Producer, Songwriter, Drummer, Chicken Parm Enthusiast

At a certain point in life I just knew music was the right choice for me. I grew up playing basketball and somewhere around high school realized I’d have a pretty tough time guarding Shaq in the NBA. I had been playing drums since 7th grade and music just slowly took over my life around 10th grade. Starting countless crappy bands and writing countless crappy songs, it always felt right. When it came time to decide on college, my dad and I came to an understanding that if I got my degree – I could then choose my path. I’ve always valued and respected his opinion. Shortly after I graduated college I scored an unpaid internship at a big time recording studio in NYC. That’s where everything changed and my purpose was validated. It opened my whole world. Trust your gut!. Read more>>

Disha Manocha | Grad Student, Aspiring TV Writer

For me, deciding to pursue writing for television has been a leap of faith. I’ve loved telling stories since I was a child, although most of my earliest stuff was poorly disguised rip-offs of whatever Enid Blyton book I was reading at the time (that explained why a little Indian girl who had yet to venture outside of Mumbai was writing stories featuring blonde-haired, blue-eyed British kids). As I got older, it became clear to me that writing was important to me, but I didn’t know how to channel that love of story yet. I would watch TV, a strong proponent of re-watching my favorites until I had the lines memorized, and I realized something: what I loved most about the experience was getting to come back to the same characters, and the same living room/cafe/office/motel, and feeling like a part of these characters’ ongoing journeys. What I loved was being able to stay a part of these characters’ lives, and they of mine, until I felt like I knew them. Read more>>

Troy Amidon | Music Maker at LUPER DUPREE

At a very young age I knew I was going to be a music maker. I feel like that creative side chose me and was something I couldn’t really escape or deny. Even though I spent most of my time as a kid playing sports and my ultimate goal was to be a professional baseball player, something inside my soul always made me come back to music whether it be singing in choirs or locking myself in my parents garage for hours playing an old electric keyboard and recording my first songs on a cassette recorder even though I never really had music lessons. My father was an amazing saxophone player and my first instrument was a clarinet that I played in the elementary school band for 4 years, so there was always musical elements around me. I’m the youngest of six kids. and my siblings are a lot older than me, so I would discover music by playing my older brothers and sisters albums they had laying around. When I heard “I Want to Hold Your Hand” by the Beatles it changed my life and planted the seed that making and recording music was something I needed to pursue. Read more>>

Amanda Ellie | Actress

I always wanted to become an actress, but it was not something I perceived as being possible for me due to the way I was raised. For my family, I had to pursue a traditional career, and that was Law. The thing is, I never liked going to Law school, so I never finished it, but I still limited myself on my options, and postponed choosing what gives my heart joy in order to go after something I thought would help me make a living and pay the bills. It wasn’t until the pandemic happened, that I really started being aware of the way I was living my life. Back then, I was working with hypnotherapy, and would take care of other people’s needs, but forget my own. So much so, that that realization had brought me to what I call “the dark night of the soul”. I had to make a change to get out of it, but didn’t know how, so I prayed. I believe that if something is going to support you in your mission, the Universe will conspire in your favor. Read more>>

Bryant Castro | Artist

For me , it was the freedom to have full control in the creative direction. I always had a problem with people controlling or directing something for me. I enjoy the freedom to create what I want and feel at any given moment. Along with that same freedom I also enjoy the reactions of others when I create an artwork or a custom sneaker that they brought the idea to my table and then when I create that idea and bring it to life. I love that part the most honestly. My love for art and fashion has given my the opportunity to make income and charge at my own expense, and that part to me is also a type of freedom. Read more>>

Cindy Zhang | Singer Songwriter

I decided to pursue a creative career in music because it gives me the opportunity to be vulnerable through songwriting. The topics I cover in my songs are usually very personal, and are difficult to talk about casually. Putting these emotions into a song gives me the chance to really understand what I’m experiencing. Through songwriting I have so much freedom to use words, imagery and melody to describe my thoughts. I also love the creative process of making a song and seeing it transform through its different stages. A track often starts as a simple voice memo with just a simple melody and chords. Adding other musicians and seeing their interpretation of the song is also really exciting—everyone has something new to bring to the table. In the end, it’s always astonishing to see how far the song has come, and to design cover images or make videos that match the song’s aesthetic. Read more>>

Angel Velez | Conductor

I had not originally intended to pursue an artistic career, or even go to school to study music, rather I was more interested in pursuing pre-med in college in hopes of one day becoming a surgeon. I certainly loved performing in ensembles and being incredibly curious about conducting, but it wasn’t until unexpectedly attending a Latin Legends Live concert, with my parents of all people, that I felt this undeniable calling to pursue music in a much deeper way. Since then, I’ve been very fortunate to have been guided by remarkable teachers and partake in opportunities that have allowed me to have a career in music. I know it’ll seem cliché, but I think music pursued me at first. Read more>>

Jamie Bartkowicz | Art Director/ Co-Founder of The Essential Art Department

[Jamie] I have always been a bit of a Black Sheep in my family when it came to the arts. I grew up in the Metro-Detroit area of Michigan to a family of engineers, Ford car plant workers, tradesmen, and military veterans; so a career path in anything creative was not exactly an option. However, my mind mind and imagination has always been buzzing since I was a kid. Day dreaming was an everyday hobby for me and I loved creating things with my hands. I wanted to any and all things creative- learn instruments, be in community plays, create paintings, write stories, watch movies; I wanted to do it all!

But no matter how much I loved the arts, I was trained to think of them as hobbies rather than careers. So I went most of my adolescence thinking I’d go into a “normal” field, like most fo my family. But as Senior year of high school approached, I had a realization- I didn’t want to wake up 20 years from now, still in my midwest hometown, with a job I didn’t love doing. Read more>>

Laura Dromerick | Actor & Voiceover Artist

I pursued an artistic and creative career because I honestly can’t see myself doing anything else. An acting teacher told me once “If you can see yourself being something other than an actor, please go do that.” It was something that always stayed with me. Part of that statement was a warning. If you can imagine yourself doing something else for a living do it because being an actor or artist is incredibly difficult. You’ll be happier if there’s something out there that’s an easier career that will still fulfill you. At the end of the day, for me there isn’t. Whenever I’m having a rough time or thinking I need to switch careers, I think about that sentence and try to think of other jobs I would enjoy doing. And I can never come up with anything. My soul is very happy doing creative things even though it’s very difficult to make a living from it. Read more>>

Clair van der Swan | Interior & Furniture Designer

I guess I didn’t really have much choice on this matter. When I was about 6 or 7 years old, my mother provided tutors for dancing, musical instruments and painting. And I ended up happily sitting in the art studio doing paintings for 8 hours a day. Of course, people don’t always end up making their hobby a job – statistically, I think they seldom do, even in this country. So in regard to why I made a design career out of design began when I was a frustrated child. But, it wasn’t until one day as a young adult that I went to Amsterdam and saw Marcel Wanders (who is like Lady Gaga to me – a celebrity) in a design magazine. At the time, I was too young to understand the concept of design, but the art within it touched me likea light being turned on in a dark room and then everything just suddenly makes sense. To this day I still vividly remember that experience and at the end of that article, the legendary and adventurous designer said, ”If you design something with love, people can feel it from your work. Read more>>

Cameron A Mitchell | Director, Writer, Producer at Tequila Mockingbird Productions

It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. I say in every bio that I’ve been writing all my life, and it’s the truth. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know that I wanted to be a writer, even if it took me a long time to make that known to other people. Even as a little kid I knew it was what I wanted to do. When I moved to LA and discovered how much I love directing, that sealed it for me. I’ve never had a Plan B. Read more>>

Brandon Pokowski | Actor

I can’t imagine doing anything else. I was told when I was little to do the one thing in life you cannot live without. For me, that became acting; it naturally came to me. Just five years ago, I didn’t know where my life was going to take me. I wouldn’t have considered myself artistic. I was the type of person to remain out of the spotlight and draw no attention to myself. A switch flipped once I discovered acting. It brought out a new person that I enjoyed being and a feeling of passion that I never felt before. I’m happy to have the opportunity to pursue what I love and work with other creative artists that share similar. Read more>>

Soroush Khaksar | Fashion Photographer and Video Maker

I think creativity never ends, you have to feel it and you need to be in a good health statement in order to create something unique in my opinion, I grow up in a none artistic family and I was far from it, but I could always feel there is something of me I took me several failures and many years of waste to find myself and to understand what I want, but at the end of the day now I can happily see all those years of hard works and confusing it paid off, now I don’t count my self as an artist but I would rather call my self a creator. Read more>>

Matthew Skala | Cinematographer and Editor

Creative work gives me the most satisfaction, sense of fulfillment and purpose. Doing it with others in a collaborative business like filmmaking compounds these attributes exponentially. And as a Cinematographer, the act of serving another creative–a director and his/her vision–keeps things fresh, challenging and energizing. Read more>>

Josh Schneider | Tattoo Artist

All I ever wanted to do since I could hold a pencil was draw & create art. Originally the idea was to do comics, then that evolved into medical illustration. After getting tattooed on my 18th birthday, it became crystal clear what I wanted my path to become from there out. After 4 years of hard work & drawing every day, I finally got my apprenticeship & began tattooing in 1999. Every year that passes I appreciate my career even more than the previous year. Read more>>

J. Kodros | Writer, Funny Maven, Creative Enthusiast & Professional Bridesmaid

When I was younger, I would drag anybody and everybody within a 20 foot radius into whatever make-believe land I had conjured in my mind that day. My mom, most assuredly exhausted by my antics, threw me into drama class when I was four. My demise was sealed. If I wasn’t performing, I was writing. I can’t even tell you how many notebooks of stories I dreamed up in my little psycho mind exist. I obviously didn’t take money or stability into consideration at such a young age, I just went with my heart and it stuck. Several people tried to talk me out of it but it’s like trying to tell 13 year old lovebirds they probably aren’t going to end up together. And that’s the thing – I was in love. Then you tell me I can’t do something and I’m that much more motivated which is extremely helpful, if not crucial, in this industry. It’s not just what makes me feel alive, it’s what I’m good at. So in conclusion, because I’m a daydreamer and stubborn. Read more>>

Kristen Mann | Professional Artist & Author

I wanted a career that I was able to have freedom in. Being a creative sometimes means your title and roles change. Becoming a Visual Artist first has truly helped me view the world differently and it has opened so many limitless doors that I couldn’t have imagined just starting. Read more>>

Indeya Dynice | Creator/Entrepreneur

Being a creative feeds my soul, it makes me feel whole and truly makes me happy. When I design and create it allows me to express freely and be my authentic self with no judgement. With everything going on in the world today things tend to feel like it’s out of my control, but being a creative allows me to have a form of control in an exciting way. At the age of 9, I knew that I wanted to have a career as a designer and creator designing clothes, acting, and being an entrepreneur. However I didn’t have the courage and confidence I needed to be successful chasing my passion at the time, so I created a safe back-up plan and pursued Nursing. I went to Rutgers University and graduated with my BSN in nursing. While working as a nurse I always felt like there was something missing in my career, a lack of fulfillment. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy helping and caring for people and I’ve appreciated every bond I’ve made with my patient’s and their families because I am great at what I do. Read more>>