Deciding to pursue an artistic or creative career path isn’t for the faint of heart. Challenges will abound, but so many of the artists we speak with couldn’t be happier with their choice. So, we asked them about how they made the decision in the first place.

Evan Faber | CEO, Moxie Sozo

Art elevates the human experience. It can divide or unite us. It can inspire, comfort, or disturb. Creative expression can compel a mob to action. It’s activism, propaganda, entertainment, and cool. Art deals in the impossible and can illuminate visions of the world few dare to imagine. No human communication method on earth is more powerful, seductive, or persuasive than art. At Moxie Sozo, I enjoy applying strategy and art to branding and helping purpose-driven brands shape culture and industry for the better. Read more>>

Dawson Schafer | Illustrator

I, like most people, have had a great deal of suffering throughout my life. One way to deal with the suffering was to just sit down, relax, and draw. I did it all throughout my childhood when I “should’ve” been paying attention in class or doing homework. My grades didn’t do so well and I’m sure I disappointed a lot of my elders. But in the end it turned out alright because when I disappointed some I made others extremely proud including myself; despite what some may think of the direction I took. Illustrating and painting has always been my bed rock foundation to a healthy mind. Read more>>

Kenzie Valladolid | Photographer & Mental Health Counselor

There is not much why as much as I just do. Photography is my drive, what makes me tick, my meditation, my self-care… my passion and drive for photography has not only provided amazing opportunities for myself…it has allowed me to capture some of the most beautiful sights Earth and nature have created. It is hard to think of a “why” other than survival. Capturing life and nature’s best moments is like breathing for me – it is natural and I don’t question it, I just do. Read more>>

Dustin Tidwell | Painter-art therapy

Art became my firm of personal therapy when my former world fell apart. With head trama and body ailments, i turned to painting to find clarity and learn to meditate. Soon, it became a full time activity. Since my work comes from my heart, it helped me tremendously, and i have found that it positively affects others. My desire is to help thousands thru art therapy. Read more>>

Becoming Young (Brandon Calano) | Recording Artist & Songwriter

I’ve always loved the process of creating things that don’t exist, and songwriting/recording allows me to do just that. It’s a chance to sit down, focus my thoughts, and synthesize something that draws from every moment of my life so far. Music is the ultimate connector—good songs allow people to see their own life stories through the writer’s narrative. And music helps us understand the reality others face, at a level that’s rarely matched by other forms of communication. Read more>>

Brice Powers | Freelance Photographer

Because I truly can’t see myself doing anything else. I went to college because it was the safe option, however the entire time I kept thinking of how I could implement my photography into my career, I thought this way for years until I finally came to the conclusion that I needed to make photo my career. Photo is something I’m good at, its showing how I see the world, and I know that it can be made into a career, and I know that if I didn’t make it my life then I would regret it. I also just hate the “9 to 5” which I assume everyone does but that’s another huge driver for me. Read more>>

Hannah Fellows | Photographer

I was always that really annoying girl that had a camera in her hand wherever she went. My dad bought me my first tiny film camera when I was around 10 years old and I would snap and snap photos and run up to him and ask him to drive me into town so I could get the film developed. We would take it to a one-hour photo store and would wait around in town until the photos were developed and we would look at them together. When I turned 16 my dad bought me a digital camera and said he would never pay for another roll of film again! Ha! Read more>>

Katherine Keel | Photographer

I have always enjoyed telling stories, and finding a medium through which I can communicate my thoughts, visions and dreams has been incredibly rewarding. I’ve always been a creator, and feel my work is best showcased through artistic expression and collaboration. Read more>>

Zach Doleac | Photographer

I chose to pursue a creative career for likely the same romanticized reason most of us do– I had a strong passion for a creative outlet, in my case photography, and thought if there was a way to make a living pursuing something I really enjoyed, why not try? Not to mention all of the other perceived benefits: owning my own time, getting to travel, escaping an office, etc. When I take a step back and look at the big picture, I am still amazed that I get paid to do what I do, but the job is not exactly what I had originally imagined. Read more>>

Dave Wilson | Nature and Landscape Photographer

Strictly speaking, I’ve always had a creative career. In the late 1980s I went into Public Relations where I worked primarily on print publications. For a PR guy I was uncharacteristically introverted, but I was great at quietly producing all the copy and photography that went into media kits, corporate newsletters and the like. In fact, I enjoyed the creative side of PR enough that I continued doing it for 20 years. Read more>>

Nicholas Everett | Ceramic artist and musician

I chose to pursue an artistic career at a very young age. My mother and father were both crafts people and artists and growing up around that level of self direction really appealed to me. The concept of being masterful through exposing yourself to a wide spectrum of influence and synthesizing all of that into something that represents myself was very important. Initially I was solely focused on writing and music but being artistic isn’t about medium but rather the practice of making art. Initially trying to decontextualize all these influences was very intentional but at this point in my creative journey I just try to not think, get out of my own way, and just make art. I am very happy I chose this path because self expression has always been very therapeutic for me and having a career, and not simply a hobby, means I am out creating work 9-5. This helps me stay focused, sharp, and ultimately well balanced. Read more>>

Katherine Fisher | Director, Producer, Activist

From an early age I found myself drawn to careers in both social justice and art, but I always assumed I would have to choose between the two. I grew up in rural Vermont and while I had incredible role models in each field – my mother was a judge and my father a composer – I did not have any clear path to a career in both art and justice. Then, in 1996 “The Vagina Monologues” came out and the organization that grew out of the play, V-Day, was formed. I was finally given a blueprint on how to combine art and activism in a way that felt both personally fulfilling and socially important. Read more>>