We asked some of the city’s leading artists and creatives to tell us about how they decided to pursue an artistic or creative career. We’ve shared some highlights below.

Susan Winn | Macro Photographer and Artist

I did not choose to be an artist, I had to be an artist. I honestly cannot imagine doing anything else. Occasionally, I will think about if I went back to college, what I would do differently. And the answer is always the same, either take time off or the same path. Growing up I had an encouraging and inspiring group of people who always pushed me to do what I loved. I loved creating art, I created it all the time with doodles, junk sculptures, photography, even painting a mural on my car ceiling and bedroom ceiling (much to my parents dismay). I found art as a way to express myself as an anxious teenager, examine interesting perspectives and tell stories. It was no surprise to my family and friends that I would pursue a career in the arts. Read more>>

Rayna Parks | Clothing Maker

What’s so funny about my current job is that I was never the super artsy kid growing up. Everyone I went to high school with is shocked that I have my own clothing business. I grew up in the STEM club, winning science fairs, and being at the top of my science classes. I have always been a science-minded person, and still am. A lot of the “logical” aspects of scientific thinking makes its way into my current job. But while those were usually my strong suits, I have always loved expressing myself. When I was a kid, I would make picture books and force my grandma to buy them for $5. I would put on plays in the living room. I would always try to dress in a way that made me stand out. I have always had a deep love and connection for the arts, I just never realized it was something I could actually pursue as a career. So when I stumbled into reworking jackets for side money and it took off, I couldn’t wait to really focus on it. Read more>>

Caleb Glenn | Landscape, Travel, and Real Estate Photographer

It sounds cliche, but I actually didn’t choose a creative career, it kind of just chose me. It was January of 2020, I had graduated a month prior from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Statistics, and was planning to work at a major television network in Atlanta doing data research for the sports division there. But in March of 2020, like most people, my career path changed quickly. Covid-19 ended that job possibility for me, so I started practicing photography during the lockdown. I took my entry level canon camera that I had received as a graduation gift, saw an opportunity and took it! My longtime dream of landscape photography was beginning to take shape. Read more>>

Ramon Commare | Photographer/Videographer

It gives you control over making a product that is truly yours. It allows you to make your mark on that product. Something that people will see and immediately recognize your distinct work. What I love the most about having an artistic career such as photography is that it is entirely subjective to the viewer. Everyone can create their own explanations of my vision while preserving the original concept of the image. Read more>>

Joseph Findeiss | Photographer / Assemblagist / Collagist / Zinester

Being an artist has never been a straight trajectory for me. I certainly didn’t start out considering myself an artist or creative, but there have definitely been some pivotal moments that pushed me deeper into that alluring, lost forest. Photography was my gateway into the artistic labyrinth; it became my rai·son d’ê·tre; I arranged my schedule to be in the darkroom as much as possible. During an exhibit early in my career as a photographer, I was introduced to Joseph Cornell – my perception of what art could be was blown wide open – I was through the looking glass. Assemblage and collage started as a fascination and became an affair then a betrothal and an alliance. Read more>>

Amanda Bastos | Portrait Photographer & Owner of Photos by Bastos, LLC

I pursued an artistic career because I found myself restless; I graduated university with two Bachelor’s degrees for the same reason – I got bored and thought, ‘I can be doing a lot more with my time,’ so I did. It was that easy. When I started photographing professionally I realized I had complete freedom to express my vision, whatever vision I had, and that sparked passion in me. I wasn’t always an artistically driven professional, but sitting at a desk analyzing data in Excel was not cutting it. In fact, it doesn’t cut it for most people. Read more>>

Molly Robinson | Illustrator and Creator

Choosing to pursue a creative career was not an easy decision for me. I have been creating art for my entire life, but I never considered the idea that there may be a place for me in the art world. It took a lot of encouragement and inspiration from it he incredible artists who I grew up around for me to realize that I wasn’t walking the path I was meant to. I learned from them that storytelling was what I was always meant to do and art was the catalyst for me to do so. Pursuing a creative career always seemed so daunting to me and so full of risks that I was terrified to get started. Read more>>

Kathleen Peachey | Colorado Family & Lifestyle Photographer

I pursued an artistic career because I believe any artistic venture is an exceptional way to express our emotions. I specifically chose photography as my career path due to its ability as an art form to capture and preserve unforgettable moments, and memories, for a lifetime. Read more>>

Jamie Maynard | Business owner in the Arts space

Well I am a scientist by training and was in the Biotech field for many years from early days at The Centers for Disease Control and on to other start up companies. Photography and music have always been a passion for me having grown up with music and art influences in my home as a kid. There came a point when the time demands of running a biotech company was taking me away from home for long periods of time and my children were growing up so quickly. I finally made a decision to move into a new career that would allow me to pursue my artistic interests in photography, film and music while having more time for my family. I started Magic Factor Media with a partner in 2012 focusing on video production and photography with work in the documentary space, outdoor industry, corporate and Real Estate. Read more>>

Sarah Starling | Encaustic Artist

One of those pressures we have as we are approaching adulthood is figuring out what we want to be when we grow up. Well, I’m still figuring that out! I have been in the corporate world for 10 years, working a high-stress supply chain position for about 4 years. I’ve always enjoyed creating and working with my hands- whether it’s a painting, a doodle, some delicious cookies, or something else entirely. I have a need to just make things. My corporate job is demanding and with all that 2020 brought us (and let’s be honest, 2021 was no walk in the park either!), art took a backseat for a good 18 months. Read more>>