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.

Liz Vassey | Actor, Writer, Producer & Director

When I was 2-years-old I had E Coli poisoning, and ended up in the hospital for quite some time. That resulted in a frightened child being poked and prodded and tested without being capable of grasping what was going on. I went in gregarious, and came out very shy and hesitant. A few years later, I saw my sister in a musical and informed my mother that I wanted to try out for the next one. Why? I have absolutely no recollection. But I auditioned and got the part of Oliver in “Oliver” (they needed a girl to hit the high notes), and realized in my first performance that, ironically, I felt more like me than I had in quite some time. Performing literally helped me find my voice. I knew from the age of 9 that I wanted to belong to the “circus” that is show business. Read more>>

Esmeralda Columna | Actress & Dancer

I decided to pursue an acting career because I never saw myself doing anything outside of the arts. I grew up dancing and the transition into acting came naturally. My professional training in ballet taught me structure and discipline, which I believe is important to be successful in this field. I like to have the freedom to create and explore different roles. Read more>>

Mariel Sosa | Film Director & Producer

Growing up, I have always been drawn to the way stories are told. Whether it would be from simple friends’ anecdotes to urban legends I would hear from my grandma. When I was little, my mom worked at a school, and at the end of her day, she would bring audiobooks in the form of cassettes that she would play for me and my brother before tucking us to bed. All those years, this became a habit, to the point when I would often find myself daydreaming stories and recreating them in my head. That’s how my passion for storytelling jumped-started. A way for me to contribute to the people that taught me so much throughout life was to make movies about them. Movies about real people, independent in spirit, and character-driven pieces. Read more>>

Star Michael | Star Michael Interior Design

I pursued a creative career in Interior Design because I am a Pisces who values the impact of my surroundings immensely. My imagination is lush and vibrant. I’m able to easily visualize how to make a space more functional, more beautiful, more inviting. Ruminating on new ideas is my comfort zone and a creative career allows me that comfort. Read more>>

Renata Vontobel | Singer & Artist

I have always been a very creative person since I was a kid, I started singing and songwriting at very young age. Having my uncle as musician he has always inspired me to follow my dreams, when I was 12 years-old we recorded my first demo together. Once I graduated high school I started college for marketing back in Brazil but I was not happy, so my uncle suggested me to come to Los Angles and study music. Today I am about to release my first full album and I have just uploaded on YouTube my first music video for my single “Destination”, about my journey to the US and in the music industry. Read more>>

Griffin Loch | Film Director

Some passions are found and others you are born with a burning desire to fulfill. There was never a chance for me NOT to pursue a creative career. I was born into a family of artists and dreamers. When my grandfather heard that I was going to be born instead of setting up a college fund as some grandparents might he had a 60 ft. rocket constructed. It was named the Griffin Mars 1. Later the rocket inspired my company name, To The Moon Filmworks. My mother and father raised me with the belief that creative endeavors were valued above all else. Growing up with the intense inspiration and encouragement my fate has always been distinctly defined. Read more>>

Kathryne Isabelle Easton | Filmmaker

I was drawn to the arts at a young age because it seemed to be the only way I could properly express myself in a real and truthful way, yet since it’s through the veil of art– be it writing or performance, you are safe behind the assumption that what you are are saying is for dramatic purposes. It certainly is, sometimes. Either way, it’s cathartic. And if it’s cathartic for me as the maker of it, it will be cathartic for you as the viewer. The start-to-finish film process is my best form of therapy, it’s the only way I have been able to make sense of my life. I read a quote once that sums it up perfectly for me: “A creative adult is the child that survived.” I pursued a career in the arts because I believe we have a collective experience as humans. Read more>>

Sydne Horton | Director & Writer

I made the decision to pursue a creative career because the artistic space is not only a platform to amplify voices, but it’s a work environment that pushes you to examine and explore gray spaces. I have never been one to simply settle for an answer, I’ve always found myself examining the why and the reasoning behind it. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, an adopted child, and a female identifying individual, I have experienced varying forms of obstacles and I have found that there is power within the creative space. Through directing stories that illustrate psychological battles within the LGBTQ+ community to photographing people for Foster Care Print ADs, I am shedding more light and magnifying experiences that aren’t commonly seen in the mainstream media. Read more>>

Sarah Hamilton | Actress, Author & Filmmaker

I have always been creative and absolutely LOVED creating and telling stories. It is truly magical to express emotions through art – whether that be through tv, movies, books, music, drawings, or any other art form. Growing up, I had always spent most of my time creating and consuming all sorts of art. With so much reading came so much writing. There are countless notebooks from my childhood that hold a ton of short stories, which are usually about princesses, mermaids, and fairies. On my eighth birthday, I got a camera, which greatly inspired me to get into photography and filmmaking. Read more>>

Dila Djokaj | Airbrush Spray Tan Artist

I’ve always been a creative person with artistic ability and loved to draw growing up. I wanted to work for myself and do something exciting where I could exercise my creativity. There is definitely an art behind the airbrush spray tanning process and I wanted to bring my personal touch to the industry. Read more>>

Hayley An | Motion Designer & Multimedia Artist

I don’t think there’s a specific turning point for me to decide, most things just fall into places very organically. But if I were to say something touches me or pushes me to pursue a creative career, it would be movies and music. People mostly watching movies for entertainment reasons, for me, part of it is watching, but I’d like to call it ‘feel’ the movies. I am a big fan of Wong Kar-wai and Jim Jarmusch, I watched almost all of their movies, and of course, re-watch once in a while. The magical button for me is to soak up the atmosphere in their movies, in the scenes, and imagine how it feels to be the characters in their movies. I wanted to learn and do the same magical tricks they do, but instead of movies, my media is motion graphics and artistic visuals. Read more>>

Heather Marie Collins | Photographer & Cinematographer

There wasn’t a specific moment where I chose an artistic career, or a less traditional career path. I remember after college exploring different career possibilities by working in the editorial department at a magazine, studying book publishing, and working in my Mom’s fine art glass studio as an assistant where I saw firsthand the way a creative career works. Without a clear idea of a direction to go in for myself, I just took my passions for art, design, photography, and books, and started to learn about how I could make a career in those arenas. Eventually a brochure for a month-long filmmaking course landed in my lap and the more I learned about cinematography, the more I wanted to pursue it. Read more>>

Nicholas G. Sims | Actor, Director & Producer

I chose the arts because it’s the only thing that speaks to my soul. The realm of art is so blissful and tranquil that it can touch the souls of millions. I am astonished by the fact that I can make someone’s day brighter through the art of acting. When I’m on set or stage I can feel every bit of passion flowing through me as if I am burning up in flames represented by love the I have for acting. The feeling of that is what I live for as an artist. Also in times of grief especially for people of color we can use our art to exhibit the pain that we’re going through during tragedy to help people best cope with the ways of this time. I wouldn’t want to be anything else other than an artist. Read more>>

Nate Fakes | Cartoonist

Really, I couldn’t imagine anything else. I have a passion for cartooning and writing, so there’s no other direction that I could be content going down. After all, life is short. You have to do what you love to do, even if it’s extremely challenging getting there (which is it). Read more>>

Alex S | Voice Talent

I pursued a creative career because it fits my personality. I’m fascinated with the way things look and sound and how you can put those things together in different ways to entertain and make people happy. I am not the type that enjoys a 9 to 5 job. Although I have done that type of work before, it does not feel good for the soul. Read more>>

Gabriel da Rosa | Musician and DJ

I always had a feeling that I didn’t choose to pursue an artistic or creative career, that career pursued me. Somehow I’ve been always surrounded by creative people and situations, and somehow, always ended up doing something creative, I actually consider myself fortunate enough that I don’t even know how to live differently, I don’t even understand how to live without going thru a creative process on a daily basis. Read more>>

Jeremy Tisser | Composer for Film, Television & Virtual Reality

For me it was simple. I could never imagine myself doing anything else. I’ve worked in sales, law offices, telemarketing, and more. Some people enjoy getting up in the morning, going to the gym, putting on a suit and tie, and heading to their cubicle or office. I always felt like there was more to life, like my life had a different purpose. I’ve been playing music since I was 4 years old. I have a learning disability that makes reading and processing excruciatingly difficult. Yet somehow, music is a language I could always speak. I could create poetry through notes and rhythms, telling stories using aural imagery, as opposed to words or pictures. Read more>>

Debby Gerber | Actress & Career Advisor

I actually didn’t plan the way my life ended up going at all. I am from Switzerland, Basel, and was about to start College to become a Social Worker, like my Dad. I wanted to be able to actively help and support the people who needed it the most. Seeing my Dad’s work and how it impacted people’s lives made me want to follow in his footsteps. I graduated with honors from a school (with focus on social work) that would qualify me to move ahead and go to College. Our School System is a bit different than in the States but even though I graduated with honors, as the runner up from my whole school, my age became a problem. I was 1 year younger than everyone else because I had started school earlier. Read more>>

Jennifer Tseng Werber | Burlesque Dancer & Producer

I pursued my artistic career basically because I had to in order to stay emotionally healthy . Coming from a traditional Asian family , academics and financial security were gold. So I tried various office jobs and desk jobs . I did horrible on my GRE’s, but I applied to a handful of grad schools anyway. I was miserable. To say I was depressed sitting behind a desk and crunching numbers , is an understatement. Once I took the plunge and trusted I could pay my bills as an artist , is when I could finally smile again. Read more>>

Gabe Griggs | Chef & Television Producer

I don’t think I chose an artistic career, Id like to think it chose me. From a young age I knew that I was against doing the norm. My friends were playing basketball, I started in gymnastics, band and baseball. When my friends were working on the cleaning crew for summer money, I was a camp counselor to adolescents and pre-teens. Every time someone went right, I went left. This followed me as I left state to go to college and became manager of the hockey team after one season on the basketball team. Coming from the housing developments that I did in NYC, I can name absolutely zero people that I knew growing up playing hockey but it was that aspect of it that I enjoyed. The fact that I didn’t know anything about it broadened my horizons and pushed me out of my comfort zone. Read more>>