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.

Mari Vandenberge | Designer

I don’t think that I ever thought of myself as being particularly creative or artistic. What I mean is, there was never a defining moment or epiphany that landed me where I am today. Mostly, it was a winding road where each job gave me a clue or puzzle piece and finally I began to put it together and realized that there was much more to me and my creativity than I had ever imagined. What I began to find out was that I loved to create and make things beautiful & interesting. Sometimes even thought provoking. Once I started on the journey there was no going back. Read more>>

Kathryn Miller | Floral Design Company

Flowers formed many of my earliest memories. Blooms served as a source of tradition in my family. Every summer, my mom would take my sister and me to our local plant nursery to carefully select which shades of lantana, zinnias and salvia would adorn the front porch pots and backyard garden. My grandmother had the greenest thumb of anyone I’ve ever known. She could pinch any plant, vine, or flower with her gentle aged hands and get it to root. From anticipating tulips and daffodils in the spring to strolling through fields of Rocky Mountain wildflowers in summer, I always felt a great sense of contentment when surrounded by flowers. Read more>>

Black Prez | Hip Hop Artist

It might sound cliche, but in a way, it kind of chose me haha. I recorded a song “just for fun” when I was about 13 or 14 years old and then played it for some friends without telling them that it was me. The day went on and I circled back later asking what they thought of that song I played earlier mixed in with other popular tracks. They did not really have much to say about it. They just said “yeah, it was cool? I guess? why?” So then I revealed that it was me rapping and they kind of perked up in disbelief. “What? no way? that was you? play it back!” So I played it back and rapped along with it and then they were shocked to know that it indeed was me rapping on the track! Read more>>

Jackson Maloney | Artist

I saw a trailer for an upcoming movie called “Blue Bayou” about a Korean-American man who was adopted at a very young age from Korea and spent the majority of his life growing up in the United States. At a certain point, because of circumstances not totally revealed in the trailer, he’s taken by I.C.E. and removed from his wife and daughter. It’s heartbreaking and intense to watch even in the trailer. It stuck with me. I know the basics of I.C.E. – who they are, (some of) what they do, but I never really FELT the impact the way I did when I watched it on the screen in the theater. It moved me. It drew upon my empathy, my feeling ability, and it created a strong sense of desire to do something in response. A few weeks later, someone posted a story on their Instagram about volunteering to help shuttle recently released I.C.E. detainees to and from the airport, boarding houses, etc. I jumped at the opportunity. Read more>>

Eric Pflug | Visual Artist

I’ve chosen to pursue an artistic career because that is where I find the most fulfilment. When choosing a career is it important to not only do something that will satisfy your financial needs, but also serves the community. Creating something beautiful for someone else to enjoy is the main aspiration of an artist. Most of the creative souls that I’ve met are making art because they want to brighten someone else’s day. If I can inspire just a few people in this lifetime then my job is well done. Like most people who choose a creative career it can take a while for things to “take off.” Building a reputable brand and following takes some time as an artist. Read more>>

Riyah Thor | Somatic Coach, founder of Embodied Transformation

I remember being 18 and stressing over choosing a college major, because I had so many passions and curiosities. I asked my inner guidance system how to choose, and it told me “follow your aliveness”. I followed what lit me up most deeply, through many subjects, and into creating my own major in what I call “bio-adaptive learning”. (Basically, how do human souls go about growing, changing, and creating in this life?) That random mixture of psychology, education, facilitation training, wilderness guiding, chaos and adaptive change theory, and creative arts set me up with the skills I would need for a job that didn’t even exist yet and could have never predicted (somatic coaching!). I dedicated my life to pursuing a depth of creativity, thoughtfulness, and authenticity. Read more>>

Zakiya Courtney | Chef/Owner

I consider being a Chef a creative career. I entered into this area after retiring as an education administrator. This second career was the result of demand not necessarily desire. I love to cook. I always prepared food for a large family. And family, community and friends constantly requested my dishes. My creativity was evident in traditional dishes I transformed into delicious vegetarian and vegan cuisine, Read more>>

Tiffiny Whisenhunt | Stained Glass Artist

I’ve always been drawn to stained glass. My mom had a small collect of glass she would mess with when I was very young so I’ve always had it in the back of my mind. My mom also named me after stained glass so it kind of felt like it was meant to be. Haha. So, I was working at the Dever Performing Arts Complex and when COVID hit, we had to close. During the off time, I realized that nows the time to finally dive into something that has been grabbing my attention for years. I love glass art. I think it’s so beautiful and I love that I am able to work with my hands. It’s such a labor of love but once you finish the piece, you see how it is so worth it. Read more>>