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.

Mysta Gagnon | Portrait Photographer

I decided to pursue an artistic and creative career, because that is where I shine. I am always doing something creative. I am a maker, if I am not making headpieces, taking photographs, curating gowns, or making wings, then I am just not happy. Having the opportunity to pursue my dreams is an amazing gift that not everyone is able to have the luxury of doing. They say if you love what you do, then you’ll never work a day in your life. I find inspiration in flowers, trees and meadows. I live to create a world filled with magic and I strive to bring that magic and whimsical energy to everything I do. Read more>>

Kimman Harmon | Director of Photography

I didn’t so much choose an artistic or creative career; rather it chose me. I never had a vision of what I wanted to do when I “grew up” (other than to be an Olympic ski racer and by high school it became obvious that wasn’t going to happen). In high school, I had some amazing teachers. My Communications teacher was so creative and I loved his class. We made films (mind you this was the ’70’s so that was no easy task). I preferred to be behind the lens operating the camera, like my dad did. My English Literature teacher was inspiring as well. She made me appreciate great story telling. As a kid I was always interested in making things (oh to be a kid now; 3D printers! Making robots!) I worked in my dad’s wood working space making whatever I could think of. When it came to home movies, we never edited anything but I always enjoyed threading the film into the sprockets and operating the projector. Read more>>

Heidi Jewell | Photographer

I chose to pursue an artistic and creative career because it’s who I am. Once I picked up a camera, I knew it was the creative outlet for me. It’s a privilege to be a part of what goes into the entire pre-production through post-production of a photoshoot for a client. The storyboarding and moodboarding, collaborating with stylists, production crews, the final retouch of photos. For me, the camera’s viewfinder is a window of opportunity. I love the challenge of getting the perfect shot. The entire delivery of images to the client and seeing how they come to life on the brand’s website, social channels, newsletters. It’s a privilege to be a part of the bigger picture being shared: their story. Read more>>

Sandy Marvin | Artist

For me, it wasn’t a matter of pursuing a career, but a path guided by my heart. I was always an artist and it has just been a matter of what form of art interested me and aligned with my particular strengths. And, of course, what opportunities became available to me. I studied calligraphy in college, along with many other art forms. Later, after a few years teaching art, I went back to calligraphy as something I could do in my living situation and that soothed my soul in a difficult time. I continued to practice and learn and deepen my knowledge. I continued learning because it was fascinating and fulfilling to me. Eventually it became my full-time work and livelihood. Read more>>

Kelly Watson | CPA

I think that very few people consider accounting an artistic or creative field. That said, I very much value creativity and having an outlet for that is essential for me to feel fulfilled at work. My career on the surface is not creative, but I have found ways to allow myself opportunities for that strength to thrive. I love to write, and as such, often write articles for our blog or newsletter. I help design marketing materials. I love coming up with new and creative ways to structure the administrative policies and systems our firm uses. Our firm established thinking outside the box as a core value, and we look for opportunities to think creatively in our business practices. This has allowed us to really develop a unique culture which has gone a long way towards establishing ourselves as one of Denver’s ‘Best Places to Work’. Read more>>

River Hendricks | Illustrator, Designer & Creative

This may be cliche, but art pursued me – not the other way around. I’ve had corporate jobs, opportunities to have all the ‘bells and whistles’. Life literally pushed me into the chaos of being a working artist. Since I was small, I felt set apart from most. Art and the act of creating has always been my language. In my younger years, I tried to fall in step with what I thought I was supposed to do: go to college, get a well-paying career, buy a house, get married, etc. None of it worked in my favor. It was as though the ethers pushed me out of those situations (good or bad) and to evolving into my true self as a Creative. I am incredibly thankful for everything I’ve experienced. The waves have allowed me to stand tall within my own Being and love myself for who I am and speaking the language of the Creative. Read more>>

Anisha Monae | Artist/Model

I choose to pursue an artistic or creative career because I know in my heart I will be happier. I’m not built for normal jobs and time passes by too quickly. I pray everyday for time to create for my loved ones and myself outside of work. If work fulfilled me artistically and creatively then I would have more time for my family. Read more>>

Meg Elaine | Jewelry Designer

I have always been drawn to the arts. As a child, my parents introduced opportunities for me and my siblings to be artistic, and I am so grateful I was introduced to creativity at such a young age. In high school, I was in honors art, which was my favorite class and outlet. I can’t not create! The concept of vocation has always meant more to me than career. I have always been motivated to create a sense of connection and purpose to my life’s work, rather than pursue work solely by the necessity of money. It is a privilege to pursue work as an artist, yet it is also a huge challenge to make a business out of it. Ultimately, it feels like a major gift to have creative expression woven into my lifestyle, and I am so honored when I see people in the world wear my beadwork! It is humbling and inspires me to keep pursuing this lifestyle. Read more>>

Amelie Hubert | Painter and Resin Artist

I’ve always loved drawing and painting. Growing up in Belgium my dream was to move to the US and be an animator for Disney! It’s when I turned 16 that I really decided I wanted to be an artist. I constantly felt a sense of urgency inside, as a teenager. A strong feeling that I needed to do something, right now, urgently, and I didn’t know why. This feeling would never go away day and night and get stronger and stronger. It took me a while to figure out what was going on (turns out it wasn’t Armageddon). And one day, I decided: “I’m an artist. I’ll make a living as an artist one way or the other”. From that day, the feeling of urgency dissipated and I knew it was my truth. It still stands today. I know that if I make art, I feel much more comfortable with myself and relaxed. It’s like my soul takes a big sigh and I feel real contentment. If I don’t make art for several days or weeks, I start to become cranky and things don’t go as well! I love what I do and I’m grateful for the lifestyle I’m able to have, with plenty of space to create. Read more>>

Emily Davis | Portrait Photographer

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” – Pablo Picasso Art was always my favorite. I loved to draw, paint, sculpt and learn about form and color and theory, I soaked up art history, everything from architecture to Zoetrope. Photography felt functional and beautiful, and clients were approaching me! It was very fluid, and it fit into my chaotic schedule of raising young children. It has been such a gift to be make my own hours and create my own balance. Read more>>

Jessica Dismuke | Esthetician

I chose being an esthetician for my career at a very young age. Growing up school was always a challenge for me. I struggled a lot when it came to reading and test taking. When I was in middle school my Mom mentioned Warren Tech to me which was a trade school she attended as a high school student. She knew I always had a passion for skin care and thought the Esthetics program would be a great opportunity for me to do something I love. I began the program when I was 17 and fell in love with the hands on work. I knew from the moment I started the esthetics program that this was the career path I was going to do for the rest of my life. Read more>>

Biridiana Torres | Fashion Designer

Art has always brought joy to my life. I recall being about 10 years old when I stumbled upon a notebook laying around in my house and claiming it as my sketchbook. 10 year old me enjoyed sketching gowns and dresses in that book. I was so proud of my collection of fashion sketches. So proud that I had the capability to draw something that moments before was a simple vision in my mind. I had the ability to transfer an image in my head to an illustration on paper, and to me, that was truly amazing. I was so over-joyed with my passion for my fashion sketches that sharing my drawings with my family and friends became one of my favorite hobbies. About 7 years later, I was a junior in high school. I had completely forgotten that as a child my love was fashion. This year was the first year I attended prom which meant I had to go prom dress shopping. Read more>>

Autumn Gamel | Illustrator and Small Business Owner

I decided to pursue an artistic career back in my senior year of high school. I couldn’t see myself enjoying anything else for a future career other than art. I made the decision after talking to my art teacher in high school, he was huge influence on my decision because he had been there for me since my sophomore year helping me learn, giving me supplies, and motivating me to do better. He made me believe that I could actually do this, and as soon as I decided I wanted to pursue illustration in college I started selling my work, going to gallery shows, and that’s when I realized how much fun I was having. I also had a lot of influence from my friends and family. My close family has always been super supportive of my art career and I am lucky for that. My artistic influence comes from my best friend, who is also an artist, she inspired me to start drawing in the first place and my Uncle who was able to create a successful career out of art, himself! Art for me is so much more than a hobby, I always think about it and see it in the world around me and making art has honestly helped me find myself and my style. Read more>>

Tyler Volz | Craftsman and Small Business Owner

I have always had a connection with being creative. I felt a deep satisfaction in being artistic with my work. Woodworking for me has always been a creative outlet and when I started Mayfly Woodworks it was my way to share my vision with others. I have always had a calling to work with my hands it is the best way I can express myself. By bringing fine woodworking and metal working together I have more opportunity for diversity in my projects. Read more>>

Jasmine Rafael | Artist

I pursued an artistic creative career because it just makes me so happy. I love telling stories so much, I love getting lost and zoned out in creating whether it be through dance, singing, acting. I’m so appreciative of every chance I have gotten to make any money doing this. I’ve seen it move people in ways that are so special to that single moment, it’s pretty powerful, and it requires you to be emotionally available to the work, which has helped refine me to be a better, compassionate, and happier person in my life. Read more>>