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.

James Persichetti | Author & Freelance Editor

I’m not sure it was much of a choice. I’ve been writing books ever since I learned to write the alphabet in first grade. While I’ve been unsure about a lot of things in life, I’ve always known with absolute certainty that writing is my calling. In some ways, that’s a blessing. There are plenty of people who struggle to find what they’re passionate about well into adulthood. In other ways, it’s a curse, because I can’t be content unless I’m writing. That last part is probably the main reason why I decided to pursue writing as a serious career instead of merely a hobby. I am happiest when I’m writing, so I want to find a way to support myself doing it. But beyond simply making myself happy, there’s an incredible power in story that connects us on a human level. Stories have helped me understand people with different backgrounds than me, come to terms with who I am, cope with death, and find joy in surprising places. I hope that something I write might one day do the same for others. Read more>>

Melissa Lycan | Nordic Daughter Vocalist, Keynote Speaker & Leader

I actually never thought I would pursue a career in the arts. My parents always thought I would be a doctor or a lawyer. I am ambitious and curious and I loved school. My singing and poetry were character building for my family rather than an option for building a life and career. I spent my 20’s in corporate sales and the first half of my thirty’s helping other people make their dreams a reality. I never imagined that the thing that gave me the most joy could be a career. Until one day I recorded my first song. The engineer was impressed with my ability to adjust my pitch on cue and told me I was a natural in the studio. I mean, picking out top talent and singers had never been a problem for me. Having worked with and managed artists like Rachel James, Novus Folium, Random Hero and No Fair Fights, I just never thought I would be the one on stage. Then we debuted at the Oriental Theater(The O) in 2016. Hooked! Not by the recognition but by the big sound and the energy from the crowd. It was like sharing the universe with each other. They filled me and I filled them, like a cycle of appreciation and love. The recognition is still a bit uncomfortable for me. Read more>>

Jaimie Rudy | Visual Artist

I’m still actively pursuing that creative career! I was born to make art and visual expression has always felt like the place where I have my clearest, strongest voice. I work a full-time day job to pay the bills, but I’ve been patiently carving out the reality I want for myself… I’ve always been drawn and decorated everything around me, and I’ve found that when I do share my art that it becomes a call and response. If I can make something that’s true and honest and it resonates with someone else out there, that’s what it’s all about. We all long to feel seen and heard, and I hope to bring about that bit of recognition and connection when someone views or interacts with something I’ve made. Read more>>

Jasmine Lewis | Fashion Designer

I have been a life-long artist and wanted to have a career where I could incorporate the arts in some way. I love that fashion combines all of my artistic interests and I’m able to draw on my background to provide my customers with unique garments. Read more>>

Kailee Nauman | Owner of Eclectic Designs .CO | Brand & Web Design Studio

Being creative has always been at the forefront of my life. My parents owned a screen printing company growing up and most of my earliest memories involve being creative in numerous forms. My dad was an artist himself and taught me everything he knew from seeing the world in a different light to how to draw with a graphite pencil. As I went through school, art classes were the peak of my interest. Originally I went to college for Architectural Engineering, but after one semester and a random health crisis I had to go through for over a year, I decided I was going back to school for Graphic & Web Design. I graduated with my Bachelors in 2018, dove head first into the corporate world as a designer and… well… HATED it. I was still building my freelance while working full time so when I was let go for COVID, my transition into running my business full time was a but easier than I had anticipated. I cant see my life without creativity in it, this career in a sense is what I’m meant to be doing. Read more>>

Brett Zimmerman | Master Sommelier, Owner of Boulder Wine Merchant, and Executive Director for the Boulder Burgundy Festival and Sustainable Somm

I have always been driven by passion and creativity, so it only seemed logical that I pursue a career in something that was interesting to me. I studied business at the University of Colorado and upon my graduation I found myself leaning toward a career in food and wine instead of a traditional field of business. I have always been driven by mentors in my business and I strive to surround myself with people committed to excellence. Passion and creativity are very important in my daily work routine. Read more>>

Liz Burns | Creative Director & Hairstylist at Goldie and Bob, Virtual Hair Consultant at The Cut and Color Consult

I have always had an imaginative mind. but I didn’t always realize what that fully meant, nor how to use it to my advantage I had thought, especially when I was a young adult, that I had to go the path of more traditional college education. While I am a believer in traditional education, it was not for me, especially not my 18 yrs old self. After dropping out of college very quickly, I moved away from my home town to started a new adventure. Always daydreaming about possibilities, I made my way to Colorado. Knowing I had an interest in beauty. My roommate at that time, was getting into modeling and she asked if I could do her hair and makeup for her first ever photo shoot. Without any formal training, I agreed to take the risk of being the “hair and makeup person ” on set, and giving it a shot. I loved every moment of that day. We shot outdoors near streams and fields filled with wild flowers. I love what emotion the photo shoot brought on as a result of the setting, photographer, wardrobe, hair and makeup. Read more>>

Sabrina Deemer | Professional Makeup Artist

Honestly, thinking back to when I was a kid, my aspirations always were to become a professional makeup artist. I know it sounds crazy because many people struggle when trying to find their true path in life, but I just always knew. I feel very lucky in that way. I cannot think of a time when I wasn’t playing with makeup as a kid and I remember always being so intrigued and fascinated while watching my mom and other women putting their makeup on. I, also, started wearing makeup at the age of 10, if that tells you anything. Fast forward to Freshman year of high school, that’s when I started putting makeup on other people. My friends and I would stay after school in the bathroom just so I could practice on them which then lead me to having the opportunity of doing makeup for proms, senior photos, graduations, cheer competitions, etc. From there on out, I knew that was what I wanted to do with my life. Read more>>

Carlene Frances | Visual Artist

I pursued an art career because it’s what I do best and I have always been drawn to the visual arts even as a child. I like to think it choose me because it was something I HAD to do. I was compelled to create. Growing up dyslexic I struggled with reading and writing. One thing I did well was painting and drawing. It is my visual voice and it allows me to express my ideas and thoughts on canvas. A way of communication that I can achieve successfully. In my early years I tried to do the traditional white house, white picket fence and the 2.1 kids, living the American Dream but, something was always missing. I was a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. At the age of 41 I had an epiphany that it was time to fulfill my passion and do what I was meant to do. Read more>>

Katie Puc | Photographer

I grew up around photography. My mother has been a photographer since she was 18. She runs a successful photography business in Colorado. I have been fortunate enough to watch her work and learn from her friends, some of the best photographers in the industry. While I was hesitant at first to start photography as a business, (as my mother, brother and close friends were all photographers), I decided that my own view and passion for capturing authentic moments was important to share. I love that I can stop moments in time with my button and preserve happy memories. I love capturing authentic beauty, warmth and joy. That is why I started and that is why I keep going. Read more>>