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.

Debra Jason | Copywriter, Speaker, Author, & Abstract Artist

Truth be told, I have changed careers a few times (as many folks do). When I shifted toward a more creative path I was working for a local catalog company. I was managing production of the catalog from product selection to completion (in the days before the internet). After a couple of years with the company, I wanted to do something more creative and less administrative. Feeling like I lacked the necessary artistic skills to do catalog design, I asked my boss if I could write the catalog copy. Hence, I took my first step toward a creative career. Fast forward several years when Colorado was in a recession and I couldn’t find a J.O.B. Several companies suggested that if I freelanced, they could give me work. On January 1, 1989, The Write Direction was born. I have now operated my copywriting business for more than 30 years. However, little did I know then that another creative skill was tucked away within me. Read more>>

Savannah James | Dog Trainer

I discovered dog training during a very low point in my life. I was given the opportunity to participate in a dog training program and it changed my life. The first 30 days I had an instructor with me 24/7 and she taught me how to teach dogs basic commands. Nothing had ever been so interesting in my life. I began to understand in order to be able to train a dog I had to be able to understand how a dog’s mind works. So I spent my days training dogs and when the dog was tired I would let them relax and open up my books and start studying. At this point dog training was becoming my main priority. I started taking on harder cases or what we would call “last chance dogs.” Which meant if this dog didn’t change in the time they spent with me then they would be put down and honestly I liked the challenge and hated the idea of a dog being put down when we could fix it. But it does go deeper than that because I understood what was going on in these dog’s mind. They didn’t mean to bite someone, they were just scared. Read more>>

Ashley Tingle | Fierce Runway Model and Actress

I chose modeling because I love to take pictures and be in the spotlight, as well as traveling. I can come out of my shell and just be myself. Read more>>

Todd Debreceni | Special Makeup Effects Designer, Artist and Educator

It was more of a calling than a pursuit, I think… not actively engaging in creative and artistic efforts would have killed my soul. I’ve done the corporate thing – suit, corner office, etc., and it left me cold, empty, and stressed out of my mind. I tell my students that being an artist is something we have no real control over. It’s something we can’t not do. It’s in our blood. Read more>>

The Maverick | Visionary| CEO | StillSound Records

“Environment and experiences have had the most impactful influence on my creative endeavors. From music and writing to acting and performing.” The critical reason why The Maverick is the creative he is; is due to the fact that both negative and positive experiences shape an individual for the better or worse. We can either crumble under the circumstances of life, or rise to the occasion. So the creativity flowing from StillSound Records and the growth to come holds no bounds. A strong why, is also what art does for the community and those it reflects upon. This scopes from youth to adults who need a break or introspective moment in a world so streamlined for transparency. Music and fine arts can be the lens of which so many people can see through clearly and through many perspectives with coherency. “Without poetry, music, and theatre there is no clue as to where as a young black male like myself could have ended up, though we can theorize. ” Read more>>

Antonio Lopez | Singer-Songwriter and Composer

I chose to pursue a creative career in music because there was no other option in my mind. From my earliest childhood memories, music has always been at the forefront of my focus. I am committed and will continue this path I am on. When I am an old man, this is still what I’ll be doing, regardless if I’m playing in a fancy concert hall or the corner of some dive bar. This long view approach has served me well, and I am learning to enjoy the process instead of being so attached to results. The ego is attached to outcomes and gaining recognition. Creativity flows when you let go of expectations and are present in the moment. Read more>>

Erica Baptiste | Fine Artist, Illustrator and Art Director

I think most creative professionals will tell you that the career chose them, that is how it felt for me. I can’t imagine doing anything else. Since I was a child, being creative has been a very important aspect of my life, and of my identity. It is not only a career choice but a lifestyle and a philosophy. I feel very fortunate to be able to be able to do something I love and deeply enjoy on a daily basis. Read more>>

Kaeley Chapel | Loctician and Barber

I have always been drawn to the more creative aspects of life, whether it is music, writing, crafting, or visual art. My mom taught me how to crochet, knit, and sew as a kid and I’ve been singing and playing music since I can remember. I went through phases of creative writing and drawing as well. I come from a very educated family, and college was always touted as the natural next step. I think I was 12 before I learned not everyone went to college. In high school, I went through a rebellious teen phase involving dark clothes and heavy makeup, and this led to my interest in body modification. When I graduated, I was very lost and directionless, and my first 2 attempts at college were a miserable failure. After working in food service for a while, I started looking for something else. It has always been important to me that a job doesn’t tell me how to look and what color my hair can be, so this led to me to look for a creative, lucrative career where I wouldn’t have to compromise my self-expression and body modification journey. Read more>>

Paulie Lipman | Writer/Poet/Musician

Every non-creative job I’ve ever had (record store clerk, waiter, barista, bar back, waiter, bartender, sex shop clerk, Renn Faire worker, etc) I never saw as career options, per se. Not knocking those who make careers out of them, but I guess I was always looking for something that was more of an occupation, in the word’s truest meaning: Something that occupies a good chunk of your life and time. And if it’s going to occupy that much of you, you better make sure that you’re not only good at it but NEED to do it. Writing/performing poetry and music have always been things I felt a need to do. Read more>>

Susan Hershman | Fine Artist

I have always enjoyed creating art in many different forms. From my earliest childhood memories to the time I’ve spent today in my studio. For me pursing a career in the arts was the only career choice that ever made any sense. I wanted to spend my life doing something that I loved. That is one reason I became an art teacher and a big reason that I am a fine artist today. Teaching has long been my passion and although I am not currently teaching, creating art is one way for me to teach through opening dialogue among the viewers and encouraging my audience to think critically about the complex issues that my work explores. This is what keeps me coming back to my studio day after day. Read more>>