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.

Brigid Kaelin | Musician, Writer, Illustrator

The shortest answer is: I couldn’t *not* be an artist. I tried hard — too hard — to not be a musician. People told me as a child that being an artist was not a good career choice, and that, while I “could do anything I wanted” it would be a better idea to be a lawyer or a doctor and play music on the side. I tried that. I moved to NYC at 17, went to NYU, and somehow avoided majoring in music or theater. I was pre-law, and I truly thought that a career in music was a pipe dream. Looking back, I wish I’d had the confidence to just do it. Read more>>

Tyler Wolfe | Illustrator and Creator

Playfulness is what drives me to create, I enjoy making my work and playing with color and shape and it gives me an escape from the world around me. I like to approach my craft with the goal to have fun. My background started with illustration and doodles; I enjoyed cartoons, skating, and pop culture growing up so my art reflected those themes. As my art and style developed I learned how to incorporate my art with fashion, global commerce, and graphic design. Read more>>

Tracy Stuckey | Artist

It’s cliché to say that “I didn’t choose an artistic career, it chose me,” but that is sort of how I would answer this question. I’m not sure I ever thought it would be a career when I was a naïve college student studying art, but I knew it was the only thing I was really interested in. As far back as I can remember, making art has always been a part of my life. Whether it was painting numbers and stripes on my dad’s racecars, drawing comics in countless notepads, or designing murals for surf shops, art was always there. I started to take it serious in the middle of college and even more so in graduate school, but again with no real thought of what I could eventually do with art. Read more>>

Erik Cooper | Fashion/Portrait Photographer

Life called me to do something different once I had grown. The truth is that professional expression is such a far cry from the daily grind and punching a clock. I spent 28 years doing the dutiful jobs others wanted me to accomplish. It was always in the back of my head, that still small voice, that I was called to do more. It all came to an epiphanic moment the first time I saw one of my images looking back at me. The draw was inevitable as every shutter snap developed a missing passion in my life. A few years passed and the “career” action was in place. Read more>>

Stefan Klein | Storm Chaser & Game Developer

There’s something so rewarding about seeing and hearing your imagination come to life, or being able to capture a moment you can’t describe with words in a photograph. Being creative is just part of who I am, I feel a sense of purpose when I make something or when I see that my work has a positive effect on someone else. I don’t think anyone should suppress their creativity, because if everyone throughout history had done that we’d still be living in caves. Read more>>

Julian JAECITY Armijo | Music artist

As a kid I remember getting home from school and listening to my favorite artist such as Ludacris, Eminem, Paul wall, and fabulous. These artists have always had a big influence in my music career. So why did I pursue an artistic career? Is because I knew that there are other individuals out there that go through the same struggle as I do on an everyday basis. So being able to speak to the microphone and express myself on how I feel maybe one day I can also reach out to someone somewhere and let them know your dream isn’t far you just have to reach for it. Read more>>

Schama Noel | Rapper

I believe it is my calling. I was writing poetry since 4th grade, writing and composing music just comes natural to me. There’s nothing in this world I’d rather be doing. Read more>>

Jameson Midgett | Photographer, Backcountry Ski Guide, & Outdoor Educator

Throughout high school I was really lacking a passion for anything that came from a textbook and had trouble sitting still long enough to develop one. After taking my mom’s 8 megapixel Kodak point and shoot on a trip to NYC at 13, I quickly fell in love with taking photos and being able to play with composition and light with a click of a button. After some unexpected success in a Scholastic Art & Writing exhibition, I set my sights on Appalachian State University’s Commercial Photography program as it was the only thing I was remotely interested in when it came to school. Read more>>

Kaolee Vang | Maker & Creative Content Creator

Making and creating is a big part of my background. I come from immigrant parents who grew up poor, they made things to use everyday, to decorate and even wear. I know I wanted a creative career because the artsy creative world is where I thrive. There’s a bit of imposter syndrome from time to time but I recognized that I do have skills and talents. I also learned early on that regardless of the critiques I didn’t feel easily discouraged and quit like I had with so many things I’ve tried in past. I always revised and tried to do better. I knew I wanted a career and a work life that allowed me to work with people, be creative, and still be self sustaining. Read more>>

Brody Lee | Elopement, Wedding, & Portrait Photographer

I’ve been fortunate to have an array of creative influences in my life, I remember rummaging through my grandmother’s photo album trunk with such wonder of how photos capture adventure. The buck didn’t stop there, however, because I entered into my first photography contest at thirteen years old and that’s where my journey with photography ignited and has been a constant in my life ever since. When I was entering adulthood, I had become eager to find a new direction after school and I had made the decision to follow my heart with the acumen I had acquired through experience to build a business with photography. Read more>>

Antwan Hinton | Artist/ Label Owner BDM RECORDS

Started off as an outlet of expression. The more & more I started to be artistic. I discovered it was a natural talent which empowered my creativity sense. It was formulated from the elements of childhood. Music was a great influence. I’m great student & powerful leader. In respect to the ones before me. Confidence & Faith lead me to this point. It’s not the destination. “It’s The Journey “ Read more>>

HD Reavis | Fantasy Author

I pursued my writing because there were too many voices in my head. Seriously though, I would be people watching and suddenly I would concoct a whole conversation or a back story; examining the possibilities of being drawn into something fantastical, or scary even. Or I would watch a movie and begin imagining an alternative storyline for the characters. So many possibilities! And the voices just continued to speak. From a more practical stand point a creative career, particularly creative writing, is a much needed element to all societies. Read more>>

Ian Solo | Hip Hop Artist

I think I pursued an artistic career out of boredom for the most part. There’s only so much tv that can be watched and video games that can be played. As the artistic venture grew, it became a great way to express my thoughts on the world, hopes for the future, and explore the idyllic version of myself. But yea, at first it was just simply something to do. Read more>>

Franchesca Padias | Cheska MUA: Self taught makeup artist and inspiring makeup influencer

Art is such an important part of my life. Art saved me numerous times from many dark places. Growing up it wasn’t easy being impacted by many unpleasant situations so, drawing was my outlet. As I got older I noticed that creativity could go beyond from just a piece of paper. So I started making art on nails creating up dos, and hair styles, I would say small masterpieces in my eyes, and then I became completely inspired by the art of Makeup. I was able to transform myself into different characters and create such beautiful images with just makeup. Read more>>

Avalon Guenther | Content Creator & Nurse

My passion for creativity began at a young age when I started in dance class which I pursued through college. Over that time I developed my foundations for using the creative process to solve problems, express emotions, covay messages, and entertain an audience. As my interest changed and I found a love for the outdoors I began applying my creative skills to sharing my adventures on social media. Similar to dance, I use my creativity to display my adventures using different processes to tell a story, express emotions, inspire, and entertain. The endless opportunities of a creative career is what keeps me inspired and motivated. Read more>>

Curshion Jones | Director, Producer, and Actor

Growing up I always wanted to find a outlet to express how I was feeling inside. I played football growing up however that only catered to the aggression I had built up over the years. When I was introduced to theater at the age of 14 I fell in love instantly because one of the The most important thing I love about the work that I do is the storytelling. I have been truly blessed with a gift to bring other’s stories to life in a creative way. I’m able to carefully cultivate someone’s dream, break it apart and weave it back together like a quilt. It is truly an honor to be able to do that. Read more>>

Elianna Acevedo | Curly Hair Specialist

Curly hair is more than just a texture. For most people with curly hair it’s a lifestyle, attitude, and down right is a huge part of their confidence. I pursed becoming a Curly Hair Specialist because I was the little girl who had no clue how to manage my curls and it truly affected me in the worst ways. No matter how much time I spent trying to straighten my curls the more I ended up hating them. After years of hearing my mom telling me to embrace them and love them I decided to give it a try. After that point i lived and breathed figuring out these crazy curls. The better I got the more I loved them! Read more>>

Natasha Cocco | Photographer, Yoga teacher, Ice-skater and Artist.

I come from an extremely sporty, talented and creative family. All of us with unique talents but all very productive nevertheless. It has always been in my nature to be creative, even as a child. My dad, and his whole family are talented when it comes to painting and drawing, and he’s also been very active his whole life. My mum, and her side of the family have been very sporty. So my love of creativity came from mixing ice-skating and dancing with painting and drawing. Now I find myself still doing all of that as well as fitness coaching and I am a photographer. I would not be me without colour, art and expression. Read more>>

Devin Conley | Western and Agricultural Content Creator and Teacher

I have always been a pretty creative person, writing poetry, tooling leather, drawing, etc. I started making western content for fun, and then quickly found that it is an outlet for my creativity. I also love that I can connect with countless amounts of amazing people, who inspire me and motivate me to always be my best self. Read more>>