Artists and creatives face innumerable challenges given that their career path often doesn’t come with a playbook, a steady paycheck or any form of safety net. It’s definitely not easy and so we asked a few of the artists and creatives we admire to talk to us about why they chose to pursue an artistic or creative career.

I-K-E | Inspiring Kings Everywhere | Artist / Songwriter / Producer

I’ve been passionate about music since I was a child. I gravitated towards hip hop ultimately, but have always loved music in general, whether it was old soul music, Spanish music, or 90’s boom bap. As a producer, I love sampling or playing chords that capture a specific emotion. For me, producing is like a therapeutic release. Read more>>

Luis Quintana | Photographer & Creative Director

I decided to pursue my career in photography/creative direction because It’s what I found myself having the most fun doing. In my life I’ve had a number of different jobs in various settings and none of them were fulfilling enough to satisfy my creativity. I couldn’t see any other option that gave me so much freedom and so many options to create like photography does. Read more>>

Jorge Ameer | Award winning artists/filmmaker/actor

I pursued a creative career in film because I’m an artists at heart and in my core, first and foremost – and as an artist I have a lot to say so film is my medium to disseminate my message. A creative career is the best way to contribute your talents to the world while sharing your message. My messages in my work/art/films have always been a consistent one. Read more>>

Christelle Zeinoun | Post Production Producer

I am a very dynamic person, which has many bright sides, but a few down ones as well. One of these is that I get easily bored: I need to do different activities, meet new people, learn new things all the time. Pursuing a creative career seemed the only possible choice, for me: my job allows me to do exactly that. Read more>>

West Maatita | Disney artist in limbo

I’ve always been a creative person – much to the chagrin of my parents. Both of my parents were immigrants and highly discouraged any creative endeavor that I undertook. I drew pictures all of my life. I also wrote stories and played drums. I had no interest at all in sports so my dad thought I was weak. My mother wanted me to be a doctor or a lawyer. I was terrible at math and I’m not aggressive enough to be a lawyer. It’s just not what I am.

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Adrienne DeVine | Interdisciplinary Artist and Grant Writer

I reached a point in my life where I could no longer not do it. For many years, I suppressed my desire to pursue an art career. While raising a family, I did production work in the commercial printing and publishing trade, and I also wrote features for the Cal State Long Beach PR office and a local community newspaper. Read more>>

Kt | Sharp | composer•writer•sound engineer

i bought_into the success story; the gravy train of money-making to satisfy the raw_hunger in me. i fought_it, after a PhD in mathematics and years of academic tricks, my naught was still_naught and my heart still_sick. my mothers’ death silenced self-belief, ironed out only through processing grief over years and years of sighs_lent through tears. now i am larger than the_sum; Gestalt my scienti_fic parts with music and_lyrics. we are the_sum together, our journey pain_ting as we weave in and out of each others’ lives. we try so hard to touch as we pass_by, yet we don’t realize we are_satisfied in the meeting only of our_eyes. by acknowledging the pain of being_alive. this. This_. this pain is why i_must be an artist. Read more>>

Aashray Harishankar | Composer, Audio Engineer, Keyboardist

Pursuing an artistic career isn’t a popular option amongst first generation Indian-Americans like me. With immigrant parents and a large family, there is a lot of pressure to make something of yourself, to be able to support yourself and others around you. I understood that from a young age, and was a very diligent student who enjoyed learning. Read more>>

Victoria Sanchez | Photographer, Cinematographer, & Film/Television Crew

There was never any other option to me. As a child, my interests lied in singing, acting, and dancing. I loved drawing and I always strived to create the best images during Meet the Masters. I participated in gymnastics after school, as well as karate for a shorter period of time. I loved writing stories and songs, although I was not particularly good at the latter. Read more>>

Aryk Crowder | singer/songwriter/artist

While I can only speak for myself, I don’t think any artists chooses a creative career, but more so something we feel compelled to do. Whether it’s music, painting, dance, acting, etc., creating art to feed your soul and pay your bills is not easy to come by. Hell, if it were a choice, I think a lot of artists would choose something much more stable when they see how challenging it is to make a decent living creating art. Read more>>

Bob Barry | Photo archivist and music industry jazz and art photographer

I have always felt that it was a case of the arts pursuing me! Many of my artist friends and I have discussed this and we almost all agree that it wasn’t that we wanted to be artists, but that we needed to be artists! Something about the way we were wired left us with an almost desperate need to vent and share our feelings, and in most cases, words were just never enough. Read more>>

Maliah :ove | singer/songwriter

ive been creating music since i was a child, with lyrics and poetry, it transformed me into the person i am today. music is magic to me and i will never stop sharing Read more>>

Donald Ian Bull | TV Editor and Producer, and Thriller Novelist

I pursued a creative career because I love stories. We humans are storytelling animals; it’s how we make sense of the world. I’ve been a TV editor, director, producer, and novelist, and with each of those jobs, I get so involved that time itself seems to disappear. I discovered that pleasure at a young age, and it has never left me. Read more>>

Gordon Meier | Artist / Creative / Dad

Part choice, mostly inner voice. Something in me has been pushing forward my artistic and creative life since I was a kid & my creative aspirations continue to grow and evolve every day. My mom recalls when I was 8 or so, I’d be up in the middle of the night doing a very detailed drawing, with a very specific story or message. Read more>>

Marinna Benzon | Poet, Actor and Filmmaker

I pursued an artistic and creative career due to the fact that it felt like I didn’t have the option to take another path; and in truth, I could’ve very well taken another route in my life but if you feel like something isn’t right in your gut, then don’t pursue it. Read more>>

Chris Forsgren | Film Composer

It’s quite simple, really. While my mind was set on a career as a concert pianist from the age of 10, I quickly realized that practicing piano 8 hours a day wasn’t fulfilling for me. It lacked the creativity and variety I craved, and it didn’t help that I found myself dreading it each day. Read more>>

TILLI | Singer/ Songwriter Artiste

I pursued an Artist path because creating is what I do best . Music is infinite and requires a certain focus and alchemy that I can relate to. It is something that keeps expanding like the Universe . It’s a wild and crazy dance … Read more>>

Jonathan Goldman | Non-Scripted Executive Producer/Showrunner at FreakMagnet Productions

My journey started with a simple problem: I suck at math. My parents always encouraged my brother and I to explore the arts, taking us to museums and exhibitions as kids, and while school was important, we were more of an Arts family than an Academic one. Like most Gen-X kids, I was raised on a steady diet of film, TV and rock-and-roll, which took a hard detour into the New Wave genre during the ’80s when MTV changed the landscape. Read more>>

Beau Clarke | Screenwriter

Writing is what I love doing and the thought of doing that for a living is fulfilling. Read more>>

Anthony Paul | Recording Artist – Singer/Songwriter/Producer

To put it simply, it makes me happy, It brings me joy, and I am good at it. I see inspiration everyday in my surroundings and I pull from the aesthetics of life. I truly believe that we are each here for a reason, a purpose. Creativity is such an individualistic quality. Read more>>

Artemis Huo | animator | visual development artist | character designer

I’ve realized at a fairly young age that art would be my lifelong pursuit. I developed an interest in scribbling in childhood and since then drawing has maintained as a way I communicate to the world. It’s natural for me to visualize an idea or emotion and I always aim to discover more about myself through my creative works. To me, art making is to build up my self-image piece by piece and I’ve never doubted if there’s another passion or possibility in my career. Read more>>

Sonia Jackson | Actor, Writer, Coach

I never thought that I was a creative or artistic person. I kind of fell into my creative career as something else to do. Though my dad was a classical musician he ended up teaching High School driver’s education. My mom gave piano lessons from home. Artistry was in my background but far different from what I do now. Read more>>

Angel Hass | Actress, Dancer, Martial Artist

With an artistic career I feel alive, inspired, connected to other people and most importantly it gives me a purpose. I don’t feel stuck or restricted in one place it’s a constant development of my knowledge, body, and spirit. Allowing myself to be creative had an impact on my whole life, from the way I think and interact with others to my self-confidence and allowing me to be more empathetic to others. The moment I tried a 9-5 job I knew where I belong, which is dancing, acting, and creating. No day is the same. Read more>>

Ran Wang | Visual Effects Artist

I am always a big lover of anime and movie. I also read many science fiction novels when I was a kid. But working in the film industry is not common in China back in the days. It didn’t occur to me that I can be a visual effects artist until my collage years. Read more>>

Soma Ori | Music Producer

I have been around music since I can remember. I started learning the drums very early. I went to music school, I learned music theory and drums for thirteen years before graduating there. I always gravitated towards creative hobbies and creative fields so I took communication and media studies as my major in university. I graduated in 2019 and I am currently doing my masters in communications. I like how this career path complements my music career. I can be creative in both fields. I can not imagine myself without music, it is deeply rooted in me so I guess I did not really had a choice. Read more>>

Ananda Dhar-James | Music Producer/Engineer & Guitarist

I think it was more the process of elimination than a conscious decision. Despite growing up around a lot of music, I never actively thought of pursuing it as a career. However, when the time came, I found that it was the only thing I could see myself wanting to do every morning. It’s always been a joy for me to be making music in any capacity, be it as a musician, producer or engineer. Being able to create something out of nothing is what drives my curiosity and fuels my passion. Read more>>

Kim Ann | Award-Winning and Best-Selling Author

I have always had a love of reading, writing, and creating. But, who really pushed me to pursue my dream, was my son, Aidan. Aidan was a 25-week preemie that weighed one pound, eleven ounces at birth, and spent 143 days in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Miller’s Children’s Hospital in Long Beach. For weeks, we were unable to hold him, but I could read to him, and let him hear my voice. So that’s what I did. I spent every day sitting next to him reading to him through the window in the Isolette. This instilled in him a love of books, that he still has today. Read more>>

Greg Rolfes | Graphic Artist

I’ve loved art for as long as I can remember. When I was a teen and really into discovering new music, I became more and more enthralled by how intrinsically intertwined the artwork was with the music. I would stare at the cover artwork of my new record albums and immerse myself into the artwork while absorbing the sounds. The art became such a visceral part of the overall experience. Read more>>

Ekemini Sam | Musical Artist

Ever since I could remember, being creative was always a part of me. Whether that was me trying to be the avatar on Windows Video Editor or trying (and failing) to create my own beats on my cousin’s laptop, I was always trying to create. It wasn’t always on my mind to pursue being an artist until somewhat recently though. Thinking back on it, it seems as if it would be a no brainer to try and be an artist or some type of creative because of the natural affinity I had with the work. Falling in love with something I’ve created will always be one of the best feelings and biggest motivating factors that continue to drive my work. Read more>>

Jordan Corey | artist | songwriter | tarot

To be honest I never really decided I’d pursue an artistic or creative career, it felt like it was born out of my natural abilities versus something I consciously chose to do. There was never a moment in my youth or young adulthood where I questioned whether this path was mine to walk on. I recognized from a young age that providing form to formless experiences was my intuitive language and talent. Today I do this through songwriting and Tarot – capturing these basal human feelings that are seemingly beyond language and making them palatable, tangible, workable. Read more>>

Marisa Osollo Montellano | photographer & archivist

I honestly think I had no other choice. I worked so hard to avoid pursuing a creative career. I always worked with artists, and photographers, and convinced myself that working on the periphery with creatives was enough. It wasn’t. Reflecting upon it, I see that it was more about self-doubt. There will always be a sensible reason to not follow a creative path. Read more>>

Claire Eisel | Singer-Songwriter & Artist

An artistic/creative career was the last thing on my mind, initially. I studied science and worked as a scientist in my career at first- everyone else in my immediate family was an engineer or scientist, and I believed at the time that the arts were not a “practical” career choice! Read more>>

Danella Dutton | Salsa Instructor & Actor

Hmm… this could be answered in a few different ways. I come from a family which had artistic passions. My Grandmother was a dancer, my Grandfather was a cook (chef), my Mother and her sisters sang and played instruments and my father liked to draw. You could say the itch was in the blood, LOL. Read more>>

Toya Gray Chase Adway | Founders of Dorkie Nerd

We chose a creative career because it allows us to express our ideas and connect with people in different ways. We wanted people to be able to wear our clothing and truly understand the meaning behind it. We love to play around and create all kinds of new looks. The best feeling is seeing our customers own personal style combined with our creative ideas. Our goal is to always create and inspire through our streetwear brand. Read more>>

Arielle Howell | Musician // Songwriter // Artist

To be completely honest, (and probably somewhat cheesy) art and creativity chased me down… or to put it differently… made sure to give me a looming sense of dissatisfaction with my life if I wasn’t creating. Creativity pours out of me whether I like it or not. I can’t help myself from painting, writing, singing, “making”… and when my hands don’t have access to the resources, my mind takes over with visions and daydreams of ways to see the world, ways to describe what I see, and things that have yet to be seen, heard, and/or felt. Read more>>

ANINHA | Singer-songwriter, Audio Engineer, and Creative Director

Growing up, I was allowed to be as quirky and expressive as I wanted to be. My parents recorded almost everything I did, and encouraged me to be goofy and childlike with no judgement. Along with having the freedom, my mother, also a Pisces, used to be a singer in Brazil so that artistic nuance permeated the house. Being a creative and a weirdo (as I like to call myself) allows me to enter another world where nothing is out of bounds. Read more>>

Katharina Baron | Director & Actress

I feel best when I follow my instincts and when I am in a state of flow. So when I direct, act or write I am in touch with my feelings and it does not feel like work but like a heightened version of life. It’s very in line with my passions and my true self. Looking for truth and beauty and telling stories. Many other aspects of our lives don’t have so much freedom and self expression and for me creative endeavours whether it was storytelling in film or tv or for brands as a creative director always made sense. It teaches you that you can create and re-invent and be authentic and I think we all need that reminder. Read more>>

Janna Sheehan | Founder and CEO Ojai Wild

Words like job and career presume we are to make a one sided linear choice. Obviously one possesses free will and therefore does ultimately choose but, for me it was a mutual decision . It’s instinct for me to concoct, formulate and interpret nature so it was mutual. We are co-conspirators. Read more>>

lo_ tek | God’s Favorite Beatmaker & Master Of The Known Universe

For myself finding music production/beat making was a lifesaver. From a mental health standpoint I wasn’t in the best space. This usually occurs when I’m isolated and without a proper outlet of expression. I had recently graduated from university and moved to Ohio I didn’t really know anyone in the local area at the time. I was making a decent wage at a job and on the surface things would appear to be going good. Read more>>

Rachelle Reyes | Business Owner, Esthetician, Photographer, Creator, Singer, & Chef

Creating to me is home, being creative makes you go on this emotional rollercoaster that helps balance the chaos that us creatives go through. Creating has always been a part of what makes me the person I am today, its weaved in my DNA. I want to say that I have a creative map and what I mean by that is my upbringing was certainly not a “normal one” I moved around ALOT! Read more>>