Artists and creatives face innumerable challenges given that their career path often doesn’t come with a playbook, a steady paycheck or any form of safety net. It’s definitely not easy and so we asked a few of the artists and creatives we admire to talk to us about why they chose to pursue an artistic or creative career.

AJ Reinhart | Wildlife Photographer and Artist

“AJ, what do you want to be when you grow up?” Whenever this question was asked of me as a child, I always had one response . . . “I don’t know, but I’m going to love and enjoy what I do.” I have been fortunate enough throughout my 20+ year career to say I have accomplished this. As for why I pursued a creative career that is a bit more complicated, but a story I feel worth telling. Early on in my life I was heavily influenced by creativity and artists. I like to recognize 3 individuals for this inspiration. Read more>>

Doug Fisher | Tattoo Artist

From an early age I was always interested in art and music. One of my biggest influences as I was growing up was my grandfather. He was a professional artist and raised 8 kids in New York doing illustrations for Northrop Grumman. He moved out to Colorado from New York when I was 4 years old, and I started to watch him draw or paint whenever I got a chance. Occasionally he would teach me a technique he was doing with his painting or drawing, but I picked up a lot from him just by watching him. Read more>>

Jacie Morris | Owner/Photographer at MorPhotos by Jace

Honestly, it took a while to figure the answer to this out. It was something that really just called to me, at a time where I needed something different than what I was doing at the time. However, the other day, I was going through a couple totes my mom had sent in the moving truck, going to my next destination. I knew what was in the totes: old birthday cards, schoolwork from when I was in elementary school, some old photographs. I also knew that I didn’t really want the tote taking up space at my house either. Read more>>

Blaise Simonelli | Abstract Painter

It sort of happened on accident, fortunately. In 2018, my husband asked me if I wanted to check out the local Open Studios tour. At first, I thought, oh gosh, how boring. But I figured I would placate him, act interested, and go. So I went. I fell in love with the feel and look of the studios, the art, the splattered palettes. I got home and thought, I want an easel to unload on. So I purchased an easel shortly after, and have been painting ever since! Read more>>

Elle Hong | Artist, Writer, & Educator

Coming from an immigrant family, I have definitely felt pressure to be “successful,” without necessarily discerning what “success” means for me. The image, or performance, of successfulness is often equated with a career with high monetary output, or a career that fits into a normative definition of a good job. I spent a lot of time in my childhood trying to do a good job, trying to do the right things that would eventually get me a good job, but never stopped to ask if I was enjoying anything in a personally meaningful way. I danced on the side but always assumed that this would remain an extra curricular activity and never what I’d actually be doing for the rest of my life. Read more>>

Bianca Martinez | Lash Artist & Boutique owner

I’ve always loved the arts, and I found myself able to flourish under creative environments from an early age. I always had a feeling that I would end up doing something artistic and out of the norm, and after years of working retail, I finally took the leap and ran with it. I knew I never really wanted to work for someone else my whole life, it was a dream to be able to jump and create something that was my own, that ignited a passion for my work and what I do each and every day. Read more>>

Thelma Kelly | Photographer

I never purposely intended to have an artistic or creative career, but early on in my childhood I knew I wasn’t a scientist or a mathematician. I loved to color, draw and also read books about history and adventures. These things literally transported me to magical and exciting places that I longed to be in. My first ever introduction to photography was in college. My dad took me to a local camera shop and bought me my first ever “professional” camera, a Pentax MV1 film camera with a 50mm lens which he could barely afford. I took a variety of photography and darkroom classes which I thoroughly enjoyed, but at the time I didn’t think about it as a career in part because even though my dad had purchased the camera, he didn’t believe it would lead to anything. Read more>>

Michelle Laraine | Master stylist and salon owner

I have always been artistic from a young age. And I took my artistic ability to working on a live canvas, such as hair. I truly love and I am passionate with what I do, it’s just a bonus I get paid to do it. Read more>>

Amanda Ridenour | Creator and Maker

I started this company because I had a passion for making and tinkering with processes to make products. I graduated with Industrial Design from UW- Stout and I got a job at a laser engraving company that made urns. I had worked with lasers in college but this is were my passion grew. I loved to be able to take something from the computer and change the settings to create beautiful images on wood and other materials! Once I left that company I knew I wanted to keep making things with lasers and I always used scrap materials when creating products before so why not keep that going and try to make an assortment of products our of recycled or reclaimed materials! As soon as I had a blip in my “full time” career I started to push myself to make more and more products and here we are three years later! Read more>>

Karen Mosbacher | Professional Fine Artist

As long as I can remember, I have been drawing and sketching… everything. Things, people, nature, sounds, feelings, emotions, and especially music. My father was a classically trained pianist who became a very well known jazz pianist in the late 40’s. During my life at home, I would lie under his piano and draw the brilliant colors, shapes, textures, and movement I “saw.” Read more>>