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.

Nick Harrington | Tattoo Artist

I’ve always been creative and felt the need to produce things from raw materials. Preferably things that other people can relate to or express an emotion towards. Weather that be a tattoo, painting, drawing, music, photography. sculpture or any other various form and degree of craftsmanship I found interesting. There’s something deep within all of us I believe that feels the need to reach out and relate on an existential level. Life is this weird tangent of emotion, uncertainty and unknowingness and art is a fantastic way to channel the human condition Into something raw, beautiful or connective to others. Read more>>

Valerie Rodriguez | Artist

I think we all grow up as creative people with deep imaginations. Some of us grow out of it for different reasons – new interests, self doubt, lack of resources. I was lucky to have supportive parents that nurtured my creativity as long as they could, never trying to sway me in a different direction. It’s amazing to look back now as an adult and truly appreciate the way they chose to raise passionate, confident children, never asking us to be anything more than happy. Because of this, choosing a career in art never felt like a risk, but a natural next step to continue doing what I loved Read more>>

Amelia Romano | Lever Harp performer and instructor

The lever harp and I have been virtually inseparable since 1998. The joy I have experienced since day one, sharing my passion through performance and instruction, has made a freelance career path the best choice I ever made. Read more>>

Emily Koch | Illustrator

In high school, I was very passionate about art. When my parents would ask me what career path I wanted to pursue, I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to do other than art. At the time, I didn’t know exactly what type of art I wanted to pursue, but I knew as long as I was doing something creative with my life then I would be happy. I knew it would be difficult and might not work out in the end, but the way I saw it, life was too short for me to not pursue a career I was passionate about. Read more>>

David Shaw | Writer, Conservation Photographer, and Photo Educator

I began my career in the sciences, I have both undergraduate and master’s degrees in wildlife biology. Both before and after graduate school, I worked as a professional wildlife biologist, studying birds. I got into that work out of a desire to be outdoors, conducting research, and hoping that work would benefit conservation efforts. However, after moving up the research ladder, I found I was dedicating most of my time to pursuing funding, statistical analysis, and writing reports and papers that few would ever read. Photography and general interest writing always interested me, and I’d continued to peck away at it, publishing articles and images in a few magazines here and there. Read more>>

Amber Norfleet | Balloon Stylist & Body Artist

Being creative fuels my soul. I have worked many types of jobs and with each one came an emptiness and a feeling that there was something else. I don’t have those feelings when I create, which reassures me that my journey is in the right direction. Read more>>