Artistic and creative careers are among the most rewarding, but they also come with unique challenges. We asked some of the city’s best creatives to tell us why they choose to pursue a creative career.

Anastasia Timina | Circus Artist & Aerial Coach

Because I have gremlins in my chest. They are an urge, or a voice, or a drive to make or create. When I had to work other miscellaneous jobs to make a living I did not have as much time to create and there was a deep pain that manifested in my sternum. When I tried to ignore it hurt worse and worse until I felt that it was sucking and spiraling me into a dark place. I knew that I was not doing what I was meant to do. I felt a lot of relief when I was able to draw or paint or perform or even just craft something. Read more>>

Andrew Ramiro Tirado | Artist

Sometimes it feels like art pursued me, not the other way around. In fact, although I did do a lot of work for years in the custom props and similar client-driven and often marketing-related arenas, which in many important ways prepared me for a career in the arts, I kept art at a comfortable arm’s distance for nearly a quarter century, from my early 20’s until my mid forties. When art re-entered the picture for me in 2012, it felt like the tell tale signs were pointing in the same direction, all delivering the unmistakable message: now. Now’s the time. Today, as I approach the ten year anniversary of art creation, it feels like the past decade was yet another level of preparation for the next chapter of artistic discovery. It feels like I may be at the threshold of something new. Read more>>

Matt Lancaster | Fine Art Photographer

The act of creating has always occupied the core of my identity and has been my greatest catalyst for personal development. As a kid, I steered my matchbox cars and Tonka trucks through sculpted soil mounds and rodent burrows, engaging my imagination. In college, I traded toy cars and trucks for real ones as I visualized cities, parks, and gardens while earning my degree in landscape architecture. As a practicing landscape architect, creative responsibilities mixed with a host of practical ones in the places I designed and built. Read more>>

Maria Pendolino | Voice Actor

I’ve been an actor since I was 11 years old. I was the annoying kid who was scream-singing Phantom of the Opera and Les Mis in my basement and auditioning for community theatre productions of The Sound of Music. I think I always knew that being an actor and pursuing a creative path would be in my future. Read more>>

Aja Sigourney | Freelance Writer

I have this theory that everyone’s brain has a puzzle that ignites their sense of purpose. For some, it’s unraveling the clues of physical indicators to reach a medical diagnosis. For others, it’s creating a symphony of symbols, numbers, and letters that result in perfect lines of computer code. My puzzle is the desire to identify and name the exact flavor of ideas and motivations. Call me a word sommelier, if you will. Read more>>

Rick Dallago | Artist and Film Producer

I can’t really say that I chose an artistic or creative career– it chose me. I had a speech impediment as a kid and learned to express myself in other ways. I focused on the visual arts and was lucky to have very supportive and creative parents. Somehow, I never doubted that I could make a career in the motion picture business and now the art world– both very challenging occupations. It helps that I love what I do— so working towards a goal is actually a pleasure. I guess being naive is an asset if you don’t focus on all the reasons not to pursue something. I always knew that if I tried– I COULD succeed vs not trying and NEVER succeeding. Read more>>

Kaitlyn Duffey | CBD Wellness products and Massage Therapy

I understand my purpose on this earth is to be a healer. I would say wholeheartedly that the path of creativity and healing chose me. My entire life I have been drawn towards the beauty of art. I’m not great at drawing or painting, my art comes out in the form of healing. My art is in my fingertips as I coax stubborn tension out of your muscles, my art is in recipes and elixirs that ease and eliminate ailments. my art is nourishment for the body and stimulation for the senses. Read more>>

Quincey Troudt | Cake Artist & Owner of QT Cakes By Quincey

Choosing to pursue a creative career is both exhilarating and terrifying all at once – especially in a wedding atmosphere. I actually never expected myself to get into the field of wedding cakes. When I envisioned my career down the road, when I was in college, I thought I’d “own a little bakery” and “maybe sell cookies and cupcakes”. Fast-forward 5 years later and I am creating beautiful wedding cakes feeding any where from 2 to 350 people, each with their own love story attached to it. Read more>>

Christian Verspay | Musician

I discovered my love for music as a child and spend hours listening to my father’s record collection, looking at the covers and reading the lyrics. At some point listening was no longer enough and I began to learn the guitar at the age of 12. Then, as a teenager, I realized that I couldn’t imagine anything other than making music. I felt an inner need to devote myself to music. Here I was able to express my creativity and immediately started writing my own pieces for my band. I studied classical guitar at the university of music, but also continued my projects with the electric guitar. Here I was able to express my creativity more and break new ground. Read more>>

Alaizabel Cray | Actress, Model, & Cosplayer

A lot of my desire to jump into acting/modeling actually came about during the covid lockdown! I’ve always been interested in acting and modeling but as a kid, I didn’t have many chances to pursue it outside of school and community theater. Cosplay kind of filled that void for me in the sense that I got to be fictional characters for a while and pose for pictures as that character. In 2017, I attended a panel at Denver Pop Culture Con on Confidence and cosplay and one of the panelists was actually a signed model and actress. For a long time I wondered, “why not me, too?” Read more>>

Hannah Chavez | Hair Artist

This is my path. I always knew I wanted to be in a creative industry. I discovered hair, Barbering, Makeup etc; which were always things I enjoyed doing and was always fascinated with. That’s when I Then realized, With this I would Be able to have a career that I could express my true creativity each and every day I choose. With passion & determination you can do anything you set your mind to. I love making people feel open and comfortable; but most importantly; confident. There are so many different doors I can open to keep elevating my art. Read more>>

Scott “Scooter” Smith | Audio engineer and producer

Growing up, I loved everything about records. I always thought “how did they make this?” “Who are these people?” So from a young age, I wanted to be involved in making records and music. Read more>>