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.

Jodi Bowersox | Author and Artist

I’m not sure I had a choice. Creativity is in my bones. And the type of creativity I enjoy most these days is building up and “sculpting” a story from a tiny spark of any idea into something that runs away with you, full of rich characters overcoming their circumstances and sometimes, themselves. While I sometimes have to whisper “patience,” to my characters, I love being surprised by them and where they end up. As an artist with a pretty narrow niche (watercolor animals), I’m often painting for the one who just lost their precious pet, and I get to give them a lasting memorial treasure. Sometimes, however, I go a bit wild. I painted a big three panel tiger last fall for myself, and I’m currently working on a children’s picture book that will require twenty cat portraits. Read more>>

William Adams | Gemologist and Jewelry Designer

I have always been attracted to an artistic lifestyle. I originally wanted to be a professional snowboarder, but after breaking my spine I knew I had to find another way to release my artistic passions. Jewelry making is a blessing that came into my life at a challenging time. A vital part, and a driving factor that lead me to pursue an artistic career, was the desire to channel my energy from snowboarding into another constructive hands on activity. Being a self employed artist is no easy task and it presents many challenges to overcome. Connecting with my clients and creating something that is truly special to them is extremely rewarding. When I see the final piece of jewelry and the smile that comes with, it makes the process and the challenges along the way all worth it!. Read more>>

Amy Metier | Artist

The truth is, I just couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I loved art and wanted to be an artist even as a young child. I was fortunate to have parents who encouraged me, a great deal of luck, the focus and passion to be disciplined and work hard at it. Art continues to give back so much — friends and colleagues who share the same enthusiasm, supportive and successful galleries, the opportunity to travel Internationally to pursue my work. I will never be finished, completely satisfied with my work as an artist – it is an endless challenge to know oneself. Read more>>

Darcie Smith | Artist & Travel Planner For The Outdoor Enthusiast

After reading books such as Daniel Pink’s, “A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future,” and Ingrid Fetell Lee’s, “Joyful,” I don’t think there are many jobs out there that don’t benefit from creativity. I also believe that being a creative thinker will continue to be important if we want to pursue work were technological advances enhance our productivity without replacing our jobs. Empathy, creativity, and problem-solving are human skills that everyone should develop. The more we practice our creative outlets, whether that is in painting, photography, or woodworking, the better we are at utilizing creativity across all life pursuits. For me, creativity is a life value, and my personal outlet is drawing and painting. My intention to pursue an artistic career was never defined in a specific moment. It was the act of prioritizing my values and following that path. Over time, I developed a style and preferred subject matter that resonated with people and allowed me to grow a supportive audience. I’m grateful for that, but I make things for the joy of creativity. Read more>>

Arturo Garcia | Artist

There is nothing that makes me whole more than creating. I’ve always been an artist, even before I did it for work. Whether writing, sketching or painting, I always have found a special kind of freedom creating; it has been a form of liberating my spirit. I am very fortunate to have this ability. So it only made sense this is what I had to pursue. I wish I had known this before I did, but in a way timing was perfect. The calling came after I was hospitalized for a couple of months, not able to work, and the only thing I could really do was put my hands and my imagination to work as creatives. It has been the most rewarding period of my life for the last 8 years. Read more>>

Cody Sowa | Photographer and Outdoor Enthusiast

I spent most of my life, like many of us, thinking that I had to get a certain job in a certain industry based on our society’s traditional gender, social and economic norms. So I’ve been a PGA golf professional, EMT, business coach and consultant and spent a lot of time trying to get on a fire department. While I did fairly well at all of those careers, I always felt like my life was missing something. I didn’t feel fulfilled when I talked about the work I did or the projects I was working on. It was always a job or a career to fund things I was passionate about. Since sometime around 2012, I started to struggle with understanding and embracing my creative side. I tried for years to just apply my creative and ‘outside the box’ mindset to the work I was doing and it was almost never well received in a traditional corporate environment. I lost count of the amount of times that I heard the business growth killing phrase, “We do it this way because that’s the way we’ve always done it and it’s worked for us thus far.” Read more>>

Gabie Gates | Artist

Being able to create something that makes people happy is so rewarding and having the opportunity to do what I love as a career is a blessing. Art can connect people in ways that other things cannot and I find that so appealing and fulfilling. I moved to Denver from Cheyenne, Wyoming five and a half years ago to pursue singing and art and I have never looked back. Denver is filled with such talented and artistic people and I feel right at home. Being surrounded with such support and encouragement has helped me be able to do what I love!. Read more>>

Donelle Moore | Professional Barber

I chose barbering as my career because naturally I’ve always been creative. From the age of 6 or 7 my curiosity and love for artistic ventures easily enraptured my attention and motivated me to create things worth while whether it be a get well soon card for my mother or a personal drawing on the computer using paint. Creativity has always been a positive ever growing interest of mine so naturally I understand how my goal of being a barber came about. Read more>>

Teresa Suydam | Musician – Artist – Singer/Songwriter

Musicians are some of the hardest working people that I know, and I have a deep respect for anyone that pursues this craft in any capacity. We are faced with rejection and criticism every day, and yet we all still create because that’s how we understand the world. That’s probably why I decided to pursue a career in music. I’ve really found myself as a person in being a musician. I’m able to express myself in a genuine way, and if that reaches people and touches them in some way, that’s the best feeling in the world. Read more>>

Julianna Aberle-McClellan | Custom Garment Designe

When I was eight-year-old I taught myself how to sew by reading my mother’s singer sewing machine manual and making Barbie clothes. When I look back I can see how I was drawn to sewing as a child.. I can remember the first time I made shoe covers so my Paul Revere costume would be pulled together. (No tennis shoes showing for me!) When I was in high school I went to see the movie Pretty in Pink. That movie changed my life. It showed me that I could use something from our past to make something for now. It’s funny that Andie cut up two dresses to make one and now I specialize in restoring, restyling or redesigning vintage gowns. When I am creative and working it feeds my soul… There’s this energy that is created as a new piece comes to fruition. On those days when I’m working on my art are the days I am the happiest… The days that I feel most fulfilled… The days that I come home both at peace and energized. Read more>>

Cindy Brandle | Artistic Director, Choreographer, Dance Educator

I’m not sure which came first…did I pursue an artistic career or did it choose me? I tend to lean to the latter of the two options. I firmly believe that being a choreographer, director, dance educator, and performer is so deeply embedded in me I had no choice but to immerse my whole being into making art and making it my life. Through all of the struggles, financially and professionally I have encountered during my 30+ year career there is something so inherently entrenched in my being I cannot give it up. With all of that said, I love creating. Simply stated, I love dance. I love making work that has a purpose, meaning, and depth. This past year of moving through a pandemic, watching our world unravel through social and political unrest, and experiencing loss I have learned that I must hold on to the practice of creating and producing. Read more>>

Shawn Gavlick | Freelance Photographer

Being an artist and creator has always been my passion, I attended Colorado State University to be part of the Fine art photography program to ultimatly persue a career as professional photographer. Since completeing that program I have always taken on photography gigs on the side of working full-time as a way to work towards my goal of being an independant photographer. In October 2019 I was working as a warehouse manager for a small company and was told that company would be moving to Florida, that option was never really on the table for me so essentially I knew I was getting laid off three months in advance. This turned out to be the perfect opportunity to build my business, I had been doing photo shoots outside of the job on nights and weekends so felt confident that given the full time availability I could take on larger and more consistent work as a professional photographer. I was able to take the time to come up with a business plan, pay off any debts, form my LLC, and start working on contacts to help become a full time freelancer. Read more>>

Ashley Sisneros | Registered Nurse/ Makeup Artist

Growing up I have always loved makeup and everything beauty. As I got older I enjoyed doing my own makeup and my family members. I pursued this as a hobby I enjoy doing because I can be creative when it comes to different styles and different looks. I love to be different and show off my characteristic. When I was younger I always colored my hair different colors and always had style along with fashion. My family also takes a huge role in helping me pursue my love for makeup, and beauty, by encouraging me to keep striving and to keep getting better. Read more>>

Mary McHenry | Wedding and Portrait Photographer

When I graduated college, I had an elementary school teaching degree. I taught elementary school for 7 years before switching to photography. Even while I was a teacher, I was always taking photographs, building darkrooms in tiny closets, and taking trips to art museums. The desire to be a photographer and be in the arts community was always part of me -I just needed a chance to try it out. At the close of one teaching year, my then-boyfriend and I moved cities and I had a little money saved up so I didn’t take a new teaching job right away. I thought I’d give photography a shot! See if I could pay the bills, and all that. Luckily it worked out and many years later I am still at it. One of the reasons I pursued a creative career is that the process of learning and growing is ever on-going. Read more>>

Lynn Townsend | Photographer

I adore this question, and believe it or not, it is something that I think about regularly. In short, I want people to remember that I brought love into the world. That I treated people not only with respect, but with presence, empathy, and true connection…. That I saw them for who they truly are, and helped to reflect their inner light…. That both of our lives were richer because of knowing each other. In my opinion, it is an honor to walk the journey of life with each other. We are here to support and lift each other up. Love and kindness are truly what matter most ~ all else may fade away, but I hope that love is what remains in the memories of me. Read more>>

Natalie Kaleel | Hair Texture Specialist & Fine Artist

I’ve always considered myself an artist fort and everything else second. As a child I never played with dolls or cute kitchenettes, I was always creating. Set has been a part of me since before I can even remember. When hearing this question, why did you pursue an artistic or creative career, I realize that it was never an option if I truly wanted to be happy. Creativity is in my blood and art is in my soul, without it in my life, I’d be nothing. Read more>>

Shaina Wexler | Singer/Songwriter

I feel as though there was never really any question within me to follow my passions or not! Throughout my entire life, my artistic endeavors were the sources of my greatest joys, inspirations, connection to myself, others and the world around me. I have always truly believed that we can make the largest impact through the things that we are each most passionate about- whatever that may be for any given person. For me, creating my music has always been a personal catharsis. I use piano, strings and percussion to vehiculate the emotion of my lyrics in the hopes that my songs will resonate in the hearts of my listeners, meet them where they are, and help them understand, heal, stand in confidence, and appreciate their experiences as well! Though it was always the clear expectation that I be responsible for my financial independence, I am grateful that. Read more>>