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.

Mariam Meliksetyan | Actress

I’ve been an artist for as long as I can remember. I began training in the fine arts before I even started school. Growing up I would write short plays and put them on for my family. I would pretend I was a pop star and make my family watch my song and dance numbers. In school I participated in choir, dance, poetry recital, and finally in high school I got to experience acting in school plays. However, being from an immigrant family I didn’t think to pursue these creative fields as a career, I knew I had to make a practical decision with my career choice to ensure financial security. Read more>>

Harshitha Krishnan | Artist, Educator and Activist

In many ways, I feel like I am not pursuing a career in the arts; the arts is courting me and I’m swaying along. As I reflect on my journey so far, there’s been a certain gravitational pull that has kept me in the arts orbit for as long as I can remember. All I really did was recognise it, trust it, work at it and roll with it. I cannot imagine my life or career playing out any other way than it has. It sounds silly and vague, but I truly believe our lives play out exactly as they are meant to, and the struggle comes in when we question it, Read more>>

Vicky Gu | Mixed-media Animator

Art has always been my biggest hobby since I was really young. I was privileged to be born into a family with a moderate income and to parents who supported my creative development. However, this hobby remained a hobby for a long time because I could not see where it could take me. It was not until when I turned twenty that I realized there was no other field that I wanted to work in besides art. Then it took another three years for me to see the beauty of visual storytelling and my own potential in this specific field. Read more>>

Alondra Rojas | Fashion Designer Womenswear

Since I was a child I’ve always been very artistic. I started drawing and loving fashion since the age of 5, always putting together my clothes everyday on how I felt that day, and always sketching clothes of what I wanted to make for girls my age. The older I got, the more my love, expression, and exploring grew with it as well. What really pushed me to create my own brand is the lack of awareness of Chicana, Latina designers there are in the fashion industry. There is little to no representation for Chicana, Latina women who are in the forefront field of designing clothes that fits everybody. Read more>>

Clare Estelle | English Singer-Songwriter

I don’t think it was a conscious choice to be a musician. It was something I have always been drawn too since I was a small child. I started piano lessons at eight but before then I always connected to music and would stop what I was doing to listen when classical music came on the radio. Playing music is my therapy, as is writing songs. It keeps me balanced if I can’t make music I get sad so I consider it to be an essential part of who I am. As a career I worked in TV post production as a dubbing mixer which again seemed like an obvious direction to go in for me as I preferred to do something creative rather than to just teach music to others. Read more>>

Nick Winn | Designer for Animation

I think I pursued Art and Animation because that was one of the few things I saw myself doing everyday. It was either art or running track, but I got bad knees haha! I also really enjoyed how cartoons and artwork made me feel coming from someone else and wanted to give off that same feeling to others if I were to pursue it. It’s such a beautiful medium to tell stories and ask hard questions and there is such a wide variety of styles and voices and that it made me want to contribute. Read more>>

Greg Morton | CEO + Screenwriter

Ever since I could remember, I have always thought of art as a form of storytelling and expression. As a kid I was recognized by family and friends as a prolific, imaginative, and visionary character. In high school, my college-prep pathway was Creative Arts for Social Transformation (CAST) which focused on teaching students a variety of creative academic mediums. During my free-time I would sketch and write stories about whatever came to mind, such as picturesque buildings or local skaters in street fashion. Read more>>

Uver Maldonado | Artist & Small Business Owner with Autism

“Well, it all started when I finished high school. My first step was to find a job. I went to many stores and filled out many applications, but none of them hired me because of my condition, my autism. One day I saw my friend doing drawings and artwork characters. They got me interesting so I want to do the same thing. It was not bad. When I did not find a job my mom told me to try and draw something. So I tried my best and drew something from my head and it went well. My mom and my sister liked my drawings. Read more>>

Joseph Bautista | Theredspirit (Musician)

I was always into music growing up and made friends in high school who knew how to play guitar. Also had a crush on a girl who was in a band, so that was kind of the beginnings of me buying my first acoustic guitar and being horrible at it. I kind of gave up playing guitar for a long time. Stuck in that mindset that I wasn’t very good at it. Never really thinking it could get me anywhere. Even though I ‘gave up’ at guitar, that didn’t mean I stopped writing and playing occasionally. I would write during the weekends or after work, during lunch breaks. But around 2019 is when I started my solo project Theredspirit. It felt like a sudden realization. It was time to put my songs out there. Read more>>

Loren Siems | Artist

I didn’t have a choice. I have been making art since I was a young child, and it was always my calling/passion. And I was fortunate enough to take advantage of opportunities as they presented themselves and have my family’s support. I also has the drive the craft my skills and develop concepts. Read more>>

Shailyn Daniels | Recording Artist and Model

This question is interesting because honestly, I didn’t choose an artistic or creative career. I feel like it chose me. I tried other careers and paths but it always lead me back to music. Whether I was being artistic with my career or as a hobby to distract me from reality, art is my therapy. Music is what I turn to when reality hits and I need an outlet. Choosing to make that a full time career was daunting but that’s where God was leading me and when you have that clarity, the choice is easy. Read more>>

Mike Stang | Musician

It made sense to me. Being able to pour myself into projects/inspiration by taping into what has come natural seemed to be better suited for me than perhaps a more traditional career path would have been. Read more>>

Joe Nicoletti | Artist/Contractor/Producer

Ill give you the short story, I felt that I always had a knack for creating “inviting”. spaces. Inviting to me meant creating and installing many layers of plant life, surfaces, textures, colour, fabrics, art and so on in any given space, To define and redefine a space, To interpret a clients stylistic desires, both interior and exterior. To create a open or meandering space with vignettes, places to go and be surrounded by plant life, paintings, maybe a grotto, maybe a a mural, a lounge area, a full service bar, a place to decompress… Read more>>

Swells | Indie-Rock/Jazz band

The pursuit of an artistic career came from not wanting to be confined to a typical work-schedule. We enjoy working odd hours and the idea of fitting into a 9-5 schedule was never appealing. Most artistic careers give you some sort of flexibility and being so in love with music it only seemed natural. And the idea of being your own boss is something too good not to pursue! Read more>>

Jared Magers | Director, Video Editor & Owner

I stumbled into video production and fell in love with it. I decided to pursue it as a career because I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I am self taught. I spent hundreds of hours learning all I could from YouTube videos and from friends I met in the industry. I joined Facebook groups and asked as many questions as I could… I literally got obsessed with video production… from camera operating, directing and video editing. I’ve spent countless nights awake practicing video editing. I would lose track of time. Video production is like magic. You can literally create anything your mind can think of. Read more>>

Daniel Lawrence Martinez | Marketing Specialist & DJ

I’ve chosen an artistic/creative career because I love being creative. I didn’t realize it until recent years, but I’ve always been a creative type. I never really stopped to think about it, but ever since a kid, I’ve always enjoyed writing, drawing, and creating and listening to music. They say in life you need 3 hobbies: one to make you money, one to keep you in shape, and one to keep you creative. Having these hobbies can help you have a better chance at a happier, more fulfilled life. Read more>>

Noah V. | SInger/Songwriter/Musician

I pursued being a creative as a career because it felt the most natural. Creating has always been a form of therapy for me. Expressing myself through music and poetry helps me identify who I truly am at all times while being able to appeal and relate to the everyday listener. Read more>>

Arkesh Ajay | Filmmaker

It’s always a difficult question to answer as to why one becomes an artist. It’s a question the answer to which changes with time. But foremost, is the fact that through my formative years, I found myself in love with art and literature. I discovered the world of Dostoevsky, Marquez, Kiarostami, and the likes, and they spoke to me in a way that nothing else did. I suppose, art is a conversation, both with oneself and with the world around. I was interested in this deconstruction of our actions, beliefs, and behavior. Read more>>

Hunter Jones | Professional Surfer

From a young age I was always extremely creative. Making movies, drawing, painting, writing, storytelling and expressing myself through surfing and skateboarding. It was just natural to me. I always stayed true to my passions and now as a professional surfer and filmmaker, I get to exercise my creativity on a daily basis. Surfing is truly a form a self expression and creativity. Every wave is different and I have the ability create and draw any line I want on a wave. To me surfing is an art and a dance with Mother Nature. And with filmmaking I get to visually tell stories and make people feel something through the videos i create. It’s the best. Read more>>

Camilla Bartoli | Film Editor

Growing up, I always had a big imagination and I always enjoyed creating stories. I often had my mind go places where others wouldn’t even think of going. When I started editing short films in high school, I realized how much I enjoyed the editing process. It was a perfect fit for me as finding ways to make all the pieces of a story fit together challenged my creativity, something I always strive for. Read more>>

ZIJIE ZHOU | Director

I just have a huge obsession with expressing. Because I have seen fascinating works, I have experienced the great energy of creativity and stories. So I hope to be able to and wish to put all my energy and time into expression and spread more love and warmth in such a chaotic world. I want to pass on some thoughts that may be more personal, also finding friends who are interested, and it would be best if we can participate in the project together. Read more>>

Cassandra Bellomo | Storyboard Artist and Teacher

I had always loved art and drawing for myself growing up, but it was not until my junior year of high school that I finally decided to give my passion an honest shot. Around the time most kids have to start thinking about higher education and applying to colleges, I was in a bad place mentally and emotionally as many teenagers can be in when uncertain about the future. I was so concerned about what was a sensible and high earning career path, but I I knew I would be miserable in most office jobs. Read more>>

Kenny Lam | Producer, Actor, Singer, and Army Veteran

Reason why I pursue both an artistic and creative career is because of my Dad and my kids. My Dad worked for The Brothers Studio in Hong Kong before we immigrated to Buffalo NY. He’s gotten to work with Hong Kong legends like Donnie Yen, Andy Lau, and Eric Tsang. Growing up I would hear my Dad tell me stories about the fun times he got to experience while working and it always inspired me to want to be apart of the Tv/Film Industry. Read more>>

Mikale | Artist & Creator

It’s truly the only thing I have ever wanted to do. It’s hard to imagine myself pursuing anything other than this life of creation that I have always imagined for myself. I feel most alive and in tune with myself when I am able create I usually have about 10 things I’m working on at once and shift my energy between them all so I don’t get burnt out and it keeps it all so exciting! My creative expression has taken many forms throughout my life and probably will continue to do so Read more>>

Ivan Smith-Gborkorquellie | Actor

It all started my sophomore year of high school. I’m a pretty shy guy. I originally joined theater program to get over that. In that class I met some amazing people who help me break out a bit, but after all the performances I found myself really enjoying it. I liked being able to entertain people and take on characters completely different from myself. In a way through those characters I could express emotions I wouldn’t be able to do normally. Read more>>

Jackson Greer | Singer/songwriter and musician behind Walking Dolls

I’ve never really felt like I had a choice in the matter. Since I was a kid I’ve always been drawn to melody and soundscapes and poetic language. When my dad got me a guitar around age 13 I got hooked. I haven’t found anything else remotely as compelling since then so I’m sticking with it! Read more>>

Abraham Lopez | Director, Cinematographer, Writer and Producer

Very good question! The reason I chose to peruse an artistic or creative career is because I love to tell stories about experiences and moments in life through film, music, and writing. These art forms have always been the best way for me to express myself and to tell about the experiences of people from all different walks of life. I enjoy telling about the decisions I have made and the things I have learned in my own life so that other people can learn from these experiences while also being entertained. Read more>>