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.

Renacio Reyes | Fashion Designer/Surrealist

Through my combined love for art and psychology, Surrealism is at the intersection I find myself stationed at. Finding an outlet where I am free to explore both simultaneously is priority, fashion so happens to be my preferred means of accomplishing the creative ideas onto a canvas. At this crossroads there is alot to take in consideration, like the field of modern psychology and how its commentary is effecting practical medicine and therapy for mental health. Keeping up with art movements that are happening now and how alot of its themes have been recycled over human history. Both of these in conjunction can offer a good projection on what the future of surrealism or future psychologically driven art movements may have to say. The fashion industry however has been (more so than general art, in my opinion) been too driven by hierarchy, classism and the bourgeoisie, making this a more frivolous gamble in terms of what may or may not be widely accepted by the masses in the future. Read more>>

Elizabeth Woods-Darby | Poet, Artist & Storyteller

I became an artist because I couldn’t imagine not being an artist. Ever since I was little and I’d get asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was always, an Artist! And then, more than likely, I’d scamper out the door, racing on dirty bare feet to the barn and my goats in a lacy, stained, princess dress. I think even then I really gravitated towards the freedom that being an artist provides. Even at 5 or 6 I knew that being an artist didn’t place me in a box. It wasn’t a job I could point to, to how every day was going to be or what the end result would look like. But I just had this deep knowing that if I did it right, followed my instincts, at the end of the day it would sit right in my soul. That’s just something I couldn’t ignore. In being an artist, I get to create my own box, my own world, and my own rules.That emotional and physical freedom affords me so much exploration and curiosity, to delve deeply into myself and create myself as someone I wanted to be. Read more>>

Lindsay Goss | Writer & Artist

I can’t imagine not pursuing a creative career or outlet. By choosing a career that offers creative freedom, it relates to my identity. When we understand who we are, especially our strengths and weaknesses, we can advocate for careers that fuel us, instead of depleting us. I used to have a challenging time not knowing my career direction. I’ve learned that when we don’t listen to or trust ourselves, it’s more difficult navigating towards what feels right and what we are most passionate for. Letting others decide our career path may not be the best step, as much as others are doing their best to be helpful to us. We are the only ones that know what is best for ourselves. Read more>>

TJ Wethington | Entrepreneur

Music has defined me throughout my life in a lot of different ways. I remember my piano teacher telling me around 6 that I had a musical ear. Despite that, I hated practicing and was terrified of recitals. It wasnt until my freshman year that I learned why I truly loved music. I had just moved to a new city and didn’t really know anyone yet. I made a friend in gym class who invited me to my first local show. It was there that I met some of my closest friends, and saw the impact music had on a group of people in a whole new way. It was really how about how it connected us that really clicked for me that day. It was then and there that I knew I had to pursue music for the rest of my life. Read more>>

Linda Hart | Artist & Astrologer

 I did not originally choose art or astrology as a career. First I worked with a cultural exchange program in the former USSR – traveling with an exhibit on “Photography USA”. After that I worked mostly for 20 years in the field of early childhood special education, helping family support groups get grants, etc. I was not working as an official “artist” but there was a lot of creativity involved in developing training programs and interagency collaboration. And I doodled thru many many meetings. It wasn’t until later in life that I felt free to identify myself as an “Artist”. There’s a small town in southern Colorado – La Veta. While living there I became part of a lovely small town mix of ranchers, old hippies and artists. Everyone was a musician, an actor or a visual artist. The La Veta School of the Arts, led by Peggy Zehring not only taught abstract art but t’ai chi in the park every Saturday. We appreciated and encouraging each other’s growth. Read more>>

Ethan Hutchinson | Woodworker

Both my parents are creatives. I grew up seeing that a creative career was as real as any other work. Like most kids however I rejected my parents choices so I began my professional life as an analytical chemist. Within a couple of years I was fairly miserable. Call it Karma or genetics but I found myself drawn to creating. I started building chairs to stay sane but within a year I quit my chemistry job and off I went. That was 32 years ago and I’ve never looked back. Read more>>

Kevin Short | Aka Wredgie Midz, Selekta, Producer, Vibe Controller

I decided I wanted to play music when I was like 5. The first album I ever owned was beastie boys, license to ill. Brass Monkey and No Sleep Till Brooklyn just always made me feel some time of way lol. Maybe it was the bass from Brass Monkey, or the attitude from No Sleep Till Brooklyn. I would always catch myself tapping my fingers to beats as I got older, which progressed into hardcore air drumming haha. I started going to underground dance parties when I was 16/17. Ever since my first underground party I knew I wanted to be part of the scene/culture wether behind the scenes, or up on stage. Read more>>

Christopher Page-Sanders | Artist & Founding\CO-Artistic Director of NU-World Contemporary Danse Theatre

Because of inspiration! I was inspired by so much that was naturally around me. As a kid, I can remember watching and recording the old movie musicals that would come on tv: The Wiz, Little Shop Of Horrors, The Music Man. And I would just sit there and watch and re-watch, until I could repeat and “perform” the movie, in my family’s living room, for sometimes an “invisible audience”. Music would come on and I had to dance, or I had to sing. I would watch tv shows and, I didn’t know it at the time but I was absorbing everything, from the language to the camera angles. The only way I knew to express myself was creatively, so imagine- the eyes of a little black kid who grew up in the inner city of St. Louis, in the way I looked at and lived my life- it was theatre and dance to me. From going to the corner store on the block, to church on Sunday morning. It was like living in my own piece of theatre. Read more>>

Kayla Wheat | Artist and K-12 Art Teacher

There is a quote by T.D. Jakes that has always resonated for me… “If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose.” I pursued a creative career because I’ve always felt passionately about creating. Art makes me feel the most fulfilled as a human–the most “whole.” If I have to spend the majority of my time and energy in a “career,” I might as well go where I feel pulled. So, I kind of feel like I didn’t choose a creative career. A creative career chose me. I followed my passion and it led me to a purpose. Read more>>

Madeline Cook | Owner of MadZinnia

To this day, choosing to apply for the Fashion Design Program at CSU was the most random, yet intuitive decision I have ever made. I walked in to a meeting with an Advisor undeclared, and within the hour I chose to dedicate my entire first semester to applying to this program. This maybe seemed crazy considering I had absolutely zero sewing experience. What I did have was a childhood loving Polly Pocket for her millions of outfits, and years of watching project runway with my mom. After five months of dedication and doubt, I submitted my portfolio to be reviewed and was one of twenty chosen to major in Fashion Design. I was over the moon! I had a major learning curve to overcome as most had a decent amount of sewing experience. However, my time in this program lit a fire in my heart that I had never felt before. I knew I had intuitively stepped onto my creative path and that I needed to continue in this direction to blossom my career. I have always been passionate about doing what you love. Trust your intuition, it knows where to take you!. Read more>>

Marin Lepore | Filmmaker & Activist

I’ve always been passionate about films and storytelling. I love writing and filmmaking because I think it’s such a powerful medium to express ideas, connect with people, educate, inspire, and genuinely change the world for the better. Humans are social creatures, we learn from what we see and consume, so I feel like artists have a responsibility to use their platforms and their voices in the most caring and helpful way. As terrifying as that is, it’s also incredibly exhilarating and gratifying. I love it! There’s a lot of beauty in life and beauty in people, and I’m grateful filmmaking gives me an outlet to share that. Read more>>

Maura Gramzinski | Founder, RedCamper

I was born creative. Drawing, writing, building, photographing, cooking and a working with a variety of crafts from a very, very young age. In contemplating my career choices coming out of high school I felt shame in my creativity though, as if it were a weakness not a strength, and choose a “practical” form of creativity by pursuing a degree in Architecture. I made it half way through the program when through a series of events I changed course to Fine Art Photography where I graduated with an BFA. Upon graduation I again sought to find the most practical application of my newly gained art degree and dove into photo lab management, then professional photographic equipment rental and training, to eventually land in a small start up focused on CD-ROM and website development for the hospitality industry. I worked as an office manager initially. My left brain tendencies adapted to the tasks needed of organizing a new company and planning projects to eventually leading a team of designers and programmers while working as a liaison between this team and the client side. Read more>>

HOLLY NORDECK | Visual Artist and Museum Educator

I don’t think there really was another option to do anything else honestly, I’ve always been a creative person and I think pursuing an artistic and creative career just made the most sense to me. When I was in college, I tried various degrees that seemed logical or would put me in a finically secure career, but it didn’t feel right. Art is a language, and being an artist gives me the chance to communicate to others what I am thinking, feeling, and experiencing in the moment, that I am unable to do in any other way. Additionally working in a creative field, allows me to collaborate and work with other local creatives, which gives me a sense of community and purpose. Read more>>

Chelsey Murphy | Photographer

I was an artistic child growing up and did what I could with what I had. I didn’t have the option for art classes at my high school, but I learned a lot on my own. I remember going to one art summer camp as a kid. My first actual experience with the art world came when I entered the fine art program in college. An artistic career never seemed like a legitimate option until I was older. I soon realized nothing else would satisfy me. I was definitely skilled in other occupations, but none of them made me happy. I love the feeling of creating things that make people feel something. Being able to capture people’s most important moments is so special to me. I guess for me, it’s about being happy. Read more>>

Tracy Miller | Painter of Animals in Bold Color

The answer to this question goes all the way back to my childhood, when I discovered as young as 4 that I had a talent and an aptitude to draw really well. With encouragement from my parents and early teachers I just focused a huge amount of my time always drawing and eventually painting. So by the time I got to my sophomore year in high school, I knew I wanted to major in art. Luckily, my Dad insisted I get a business minor as well. And now for the past 35 years, art has been my full time career. And I’m never tired of it, I love what I do!. Read more>>

Shelby Lavery | Freelance Social Media Manager + Content Creator

I think it was just natural for me to gravitate toward a creative career. All throughout high school and college, I was involved in live theatre, which taught me a lot about how you can make creativity kinda your own thing. I have always been drawn to other creative people too, so I kind of created this environment for myself that encourages self-expression and creativity. I honestly couldn’t ever see myself in a “non-creative” career because I believe as humans we are all so innately creative and that deserves to be shared!. Read more>>

Megan Larson | Graphic Designer | Website Designer

Pursuing a creative career came naturally to me. Growing up in small-town Montana, artistic opportunities were pretty limited. Throughout elementary school, we would go to art class only once every few weeks. That day was my favorite and I always looked forward to those 45 minutes. In high school, only 2 art classes were offered and I took each class twice. Knowing I wanted to further my education in art, while also being able to earn a living, I decided to pursue graphic design. Read more>>

Ann Denner | Fashion Manufacturing Consultant, Small Batch Production Manager, 3PL Coordinator

When I was a kid, my Grandmother would take me to NYC for my birthday to see a Broadway show. I loved everything about those experiences: the train into the city, the smells, the costumes, the music. I imagine it is how a lot of kids feel when they go to an amusement park. The theatre district of New York was my Disney World. I knew from a young age that I wanted to do something creative. Read more>>

Monizz | Recording Artist

As a child, I watched my mom perform at events with Mexican Reginal bands. I wanted to be known for my singing like she was. In high school I was assigned to a choir class at Aurora Central, I had the opportunity to learn about music and experience live performances. I felt so attached to music ever since, I then decided to continue my journey with music. Read more>>

Cazzie Lynn | Model/Dental Assistant/Influencer

Initially, I had no dreams or desires to become a model or anything that brought me too much attention. I used to be extremely shy and so insecure. To the point where people would walk up to me and tell me I’m pretty and that I should model and I wouldn’t believe them. One day, I saw a Facebook post that was looking for fresh models for an uprising local modeling agency. I decided to go with no expectations of getting in at all! I ended up getting chosen and I was so shocked I was speechless. From that point on, I was forced into a whole new world and found my way. I learned my strengths I learned how beautiful I was and how beautiful I could be. I learned that even your flaws make you beautiful because they make you stand out. Beauty is not just pretty faces and poses it’s confidence. Confidence is truly key. Once you gain confidence any insult or any verbal dagger is cotton to the skin. So I’m actually forever grateful for my experiences positive and negative because my skin is so tough and my confidence is so deep I feel untouchable. Read more>>

Peter Rosario aka 700x | Photographer / Artist

I do photography. as a photographer i get to express myself through my point of view. when i shoot with models, i get to create with people from all different walks of life and bring my imagineation to life. Read more>>

Bailey O’Hara | Illustrator & Designer

Ever since I was young, I was surrounded by creative things. I grew up crafting, drawing and painting. It would seem I always had a plethora of art supplies at my disposal. It also helped that my grandfather had a made career in art, so the idea and influence of making art my career was deeply rooted. I had never really connected deeply with any other topics or subjects throughout school, either. Sure I liked history and writing was sometimes fun, but that didn’t ignite inspiration or drive the way art did. I knew I had options to do whatever I wanted, but nothing else appealed to me the way the field of creativity did. Upon reflection, I would’ve even considered going the culinary route (as I also love food)–but that in of itself is also another beautiful form of art. I was also extremely lucky to have a family that never discouraged my dream. They knew it could be a legitimate and successful route in life, and I am forever thankful for that perspective. Read more>>

Joe Arnold | Artist

I spent 38 years as an engineer for the National Park Service before retiring in 2011. I had enough of rules, and regulations and building codes and wanted to pursue something more liberating and creative. I went to Burning Man for the first time in 2007 and was blown away with the creative efforts people brought there and the support the Burning Man community gave to artists. I received several grants to do art installations there which allowed me to believe that my art had some merit. But everything at Burning Man is removed after the festival and I wanted to connect more directly with people. I had always been interested in sacred art from the world’s many religions. I’d travel and see these amazing cathedrals, and temples, and shrines. And eventually I realized I could make sacred art myself. I couldn’t bring home a prayer wheel from Tibet or a shrine from India, but I could make prayer wheels and shrines here at home. Read more>>

Erin Blanchard | Hairstylist & Makeup Artist

As a young teen I always gravitated to hair styling and makeup and would always beg my friends to let me do their hair and try new things, its honestly pretty shocking what they let me get away with much to the disapproval from their parents. During highschool I was able to form a close bond with my mothers hairdresser who really lit the fire in me to go to Cosmetology school and pursue doing hair and makeup as a career. Aside from the creative side my passion for this industry really lies in being able to connect with people daily, listen and hear their stories and hopefully be able to transform them into the best version of themselves. Read more>>

Marlee Sacks | Singer & ID Security Advisor

I chose to pursue a more creative career because I believe that is who I am at the core: creative. Ever since I was little, my parents provided multiple spaces for me to play, whether that be at home, with my friends or even at school. Grades were of course important but the most important thing was that I felt good about myself and that I was learning along the way. I studied art therapy in college and that was a chance for me to express my feelings in the most creative way I saw possible. Because my parents were able to meld my mind in such a colorful and self-accepting way, I was not only able to start a company in identity theft protection with my family, I also have the pleasure of being a part of a six piece band where I contribute to writing lyrics and then get to bring those words to life with the power of my voice. Read more>>