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.

Makenna Timm | Actor & Filmmaker

When I look back, E.T. is the thing that made me want to act as a little kid. I wanted to be Drew Barrymore’s character in the film. I’ve always been creative. As a kid, I used to draw pictures and sell them to my neighbors in Hawaii. I didn’t care about the money. I didn’t care about it then or now. I enjoyed making art and seeing the look on people’s faces. Nothing else fulfills me the way art does. Nothing matches the feeling of creating something. I haven’t found anything else that brings me the same joy as creating art. I love acting, but I also love photography, editing, etc. With acting, I like to be a different person and live in a different world. With editing, I like being to put a story together; drive a narrative. I like creating things and I like impacting people. Read more>>

Rakefet Abergel | Actor, Writer & Director

I never felt like I had any other choice. It definitely wasn’t the money making route, but from when I was very little the things that brought me happiness were always creative. I loved to dance and sing and act and make my own videos. I wish I had access to something like Tik Tok or YouTube when I was younger, I’d have millions of followers by now!! That was the only piece that was missing. How do I get people to see what I’ve created? Now that I’m older and have venues for my work, it makes it all the more worthwhile. I always tell my acting class students that if there is something else they would LOVE to do, DO THAT. Because this is a hard road with a lot of rejection and if you don’t love it, it’s not worth it. Read more>>

Dennis Callaci | Record Label Owner, Writer & Publisher

There is a large price to be paid to pursue something artistically, even if it is not your career choice. There is so much toil and time spent in isolation to follow through on creative projects that It often times feels ridiculous to even attempt such lofty acts.. I am constantly in awe & have admiration for my peers and those that went before me that were able, or are able to thread the needle and not get lost in the hay. I once sold off my hours for decades at a job that kept my family and I afloat so that I could keep the channel of making music, writing and putting out records from becoming polluted by commerce, After thirty years of that life, I no longer have to sell off my days like that anymore. Pursuing an artistic and creative career, I took low rent vacations, my family & I had improv garage sales, sure, but that in the rearview it is rosy. Beware of traps., of high rent districts and abhorrent overhead. Read more>>

Chad Brooks | Photographer

I decided to pursue an artistic/creative career in high school and I owe most of that motivation to my Dad. He always told me from a young age to put my effort into what I love, that way going to work everyday won’t be such a chore. He would always say, do what you love and the money will come in, and don’t just pick a career based on money. I wanted to be driven to do better and create better work and after having stayed at my first job through high school and most of college and absolutely hating it there, it motivated me to do everything I could to work in a creative/artistic field. I had/have always loved playing music and shooting photographs so I knew I had to make one of those my career. Read more>>

Michael Nocny | Record Producer, Songwriter & Mixing Engineer

To be honest, I think I decided to pursue an artistic career because I simply could not ignore the creative voice inside of me anymore. I have always had a need to make things manually.  Even when I was a kid I would spend hours building unusual designs from LEGOs (not what I was supposed to build, of course, because it was shown on the box, just something else that came to my mind). I would spend hours doing that. Music was always a big part of my life when I was growing up. I would sneak into my parent’s bedroom to listen to some of my father’s records without his knowledge. He always thought I would be an engineer or maybe an architect, both of which very desirable in Poland in the 90’s… Read more>>

Djeki Morris | Motion Graphic Designer, Illustrator, Electronic Musician & DJ

Growing up I was always making things, whether it was drawing comics on the chalkboard at school, to shooting fun paintball videos with my friends. So this led to a pursuit in monetizing some of my skills. I always felt that whatever project I was doing at the time, it was challenging enough to learn new creative ways to solve the problem, while also being able to show off my work and be proud of it. Obviously this comes with major drawbacks, especially in our busy-busy society with a hustle-mentality problem. One is that these skills aren’t immediately viewed as something useful by society. But I believe that our ability to be creative is what sets us apart as a species. Any animal can solve food supply problems, or create a hierarchical power structure, etc. But our ability to express our emotions and opinions through creative outlets is unique to us. Read more>>

Too Nasty | Hip-Hop Producer

I always felt it in my blood from a young age. Hip-hop always spoke to me in some way or form, I think back and even though I was in to stuff like Linkin Park/Limp Bizkit from like 9 – 13 it was always the rapping on those tracks that caught my ear. When I got deep into the genre I just had an urge to create beats and the more I learned the more engrossed I got in it. If you have a special talent you’ve got to roll with it one way or another! If it’s really in your heart you’ll never give up. Eventually it’ll take you places. Read more>>

Sharry Lai | Illustrator & Teacher

I grew up in a strict household. There was a lot of policing of behavior and time. I had many expectations to meet. To release me from that pressure, I turned to drawing. Whenever I draw, time melts away and for that moment I feel as if I possess whatever I had been drawing. If it was Sailormoon, I was able to embody her in the image the way I saw fit. If it was a pair of shoes, I could get the fit to feel just right. If it was a woman weeping, I’d feel the deep sorrow and could leave it on that page. I continued to pursue this career in illustration because I realized that when some people see my work, they receive the relief, strength, or pause and breath that I needed when creating the pieces. I illustrate sentimental imagery that is often informed by my Asian American life. I really love drawing women breaking the myth of the model minority by painting subtle expressions of emotions and dress. I want to find a way to empathize with each story and use that as an expression of the story. Read more>>

Margaret Curry | Actress, Singer, Director, Writer & Storyteller

I would not have survived my childhood had it not been for the amazing people who had the courage to seek understanding of the world through their creations. Sounds dramatic, I know, but it is true. Entering into the imaginary worlds created by writers and filmmakers, I found salvation. From the stories I read and watched, I was given life guidance, fun and a cure for my loneliness. They seeded and grew hope and inspiration in me. These creators seemed to understand me in a way that no one in my world cared to (or could.) In their works, I met both the self I was – The Underdog – the self I wanted to be – The Hero, The Star – reflected back to me. From this, I drew sustenance that fueled and influenced my desire to live fully and in technicolor at a time in my life where the world around me was way too and black and white. As a result, I’ve always felt a desire to be a part of creative works that do that for others. Read more>>

Susie Singer Carter | Award-Winning Writer, Director, Producer & Actress

Everybody has a superpower. You need to dig deep and search it out. And when you finally find it… lean on in!! Storytelling is my mine. It’s one of the most effective instruments of change. With just my brain and my laptop, I am instantly transformed into “Writer Woman, changing the world one project at a time!!” Television and Film are extremely potent platforms for shifting social bias and preconceived notions. A well-told story can gently chip away at fear and controversy and replace them with inspiring conversation and debate. My goal as a filmmaker is to leave people feeling something – great, better, joyful, tickled, moved, changed, understood, enlightened, enraged, inspired, and at the very least, hopeful. There is nothing more fulfilling than creating a project that resonates and connects with people in a profound way. The world becomes smaller, warmer, clearer, and brighter. I can’t think of a better purpose than that! Read more>>

Jean Carlo Yunén A.

I always have had an artistic sensibility since I was a kid. As kids, me and my older brother would create different shows by ourselves, with our cousins, or the kids our age in the neighborhood. We made a “video campaign” to try to stop the people in our neighborhood from smoking (and littering) when we must have been around 4 or 5, created shows for our are parents after they would come back from traveling for work and so on. One time we did a riff on SNL’s Weekend Update (which aired past our bedtime but our parents were traveling so it didn’t matter), we must have been around 7 and 9 years old, which when I think about it now, was probably a very funny scene for my parents to come back home to. However, in my mind as a kid, the performing arts was “my brother’s thing”, therefore, not something I showed interest in. I leaned more into photography instead, which I was introduced to by my father. Read more>>

Nic Greene | Digital Artist

I pursued a creative career in life in spite of myself. The currency of creativity is imagination, it is a very delicate and frequently frail thing that I fear most people push down in themselves. I have always enjoyed making things. I grew up in a culture where artistic talent or ability was thought to be innate or unique to only some, and I didn’t think I had that. But I did have an imagination. I always kept making things, drawings, then short films, and at that time also in how I dressed, my appearance as well as some music. I had a relative who thought I was talented. I don’t think I knew what that was and didn’t really believe them, but I put enough stuff together to get accepted to art school. I did very well there – I don’t think I learned very much technically, but it was a very supportive, non-judgmental environment for the most part and although I often felt I was pretending I learnt to paint and produced a lot of other multi-media stuff. Read more>>

Gregory Kopp | Amazon 5-Star Author, Disney Talent Ambassador & Principal Consultant

The artistic and creative aspect of my career blossomed with my writing and publication of the exciting Kopp Chronicles series of historical fiction novels. This sweeping saga is based on my own immigrant American family’s life experiences which spanned multiple continents, revolutionary upheavals, tragedy and ultimate triumph! The series has enchanted readers worldwide with its romance, mystery and action-packed thrilling elements; available now in 5 different languages. These deeply personal stories allowed me to experience a shared sense of family with my readers. The United Kingdom’s Queen Victoria, France’s Emperor Napoleon III, President Abraham Lincoln and other important 19th century characters profoundly affected the American immigrant’s search for freedom. Read more>>

Anouk Aumont | Hand-poke Tattooer & Multi Disciplinary Artist

I can’t remember a time in my life where I was given a choice to not pursue my creativity. Even when I was waitressing tables at 14 years old and through my college degree, I was simultaneously making art. I’ve never been so sure about anything in my life than pursuing the arts. Read more>>