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.

Connor Rothgeb | Photographer

I was always into science and math growing up, and as college neared I pictured my career being in a STEM field of some kind. I figured it would be work that was always in-demand and paid well enough to enable me to travel and have a nice, comfortable lifestyle. Fast forward to college and I’m doing basically that, pursuing a degree in statistics (after changing my major a couple times). I felt fine about it, but I was lacking the passion for my future career that some of my friends had. Read more>>

Ashleigh Petters | Photographer and Business Owner

I wanted to pursue photography as a career because I have always loved photography. I first got interested in it when I was young. I saved money to buy digital cameras and took photos of everything and anything. I eventually got to assist my friends mom on her sessions and that’s where I really learned more about photography (well as much as a 15 year old could at the time!). When I got into high school I took a film photography class and I absolutely loved it. Read more>>

Joe Sanchez | Digital Film Artist, Cinematographer or Photographer.

When I was younger my only source of entertainment was going to block buster to rent movies with family. I watched the movies I picked on repeat, every time I watched my dream grew bigger. I knew from the start I wanted to pursue a creative career path. So I decided to make the best with what I had. A tape recorder. Then, years later I am pursuing that dream I still hold on to. Read more>>

Nox Nohi | Digital Artist

Being creative, artistic, and adventurous is the soul of purpose being human from my point of view. If I’m not creating or being artistic I feel like I’m drowning in the mundane. Even if I don’t have my camera with me I see things in a creative light. Pursuing this life just made sense to me no matter the risk Read more>>

Steven Dew

Creative pursuits feed my soul and help me find value in my own story. I am big on reaching for your potential and finding newer and deeper levels of growth. Artistic endeavors have always helped me grow both as a creator and as a human. There is freedom in creation, tons of problem solving, learning, and finding ways to tell stories that are compelling to others. Read more>>

Chase Yaws | Photographer

Growing up, my mom made wedding cakes, and my dad and step-mom are both tattoo artists. I struggled in school a lot. I was diagnosed with ADD when I was 14 or 15 and I rarely – if ever – felt inspired by traditional academics. Photography really caught my attention in my junior year of high-school. Not even joking, it may have been the only class I passed that semester. My teacher hung my photo up as an example of “what to do.” It was the first time that I felt real, palpable recognition from my superiors, and like so many others with ADD, that positive reinforcement spawned a full-blown obsession. Read more>>

Aaren Finn | Hairstylist

There are multiple reasons I pursued becoming apart of the beauty industry. I knew at a young age that I didn’t want a 9-5 desk job and thatI wanted to work for myself. My junior year I started seeing a stylist my friend had introduced me to. She was a mother of four, stunningly beautiful redhead, with a personality like no other. Read more>>

Leland & Addy Schmoker | Backcountry Perspective Photo

Living in Colorado and spending a lot of time in the backcountry due to our hobbies, we naturally gravitated towards photography as a hobby. After a while of practicing it, we started to realize just how much people can take for granted, or may not get the chance to see. A fiery sunrise or the way that sunlight shines on a certain peak through the clouds is pretty much an every day occurrence here. Read more>>

Emily Sullivan | Painter

I’ve always loved art – looking back at little assignments from elementary school, anytime I was asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” I said artist, or art teacher. Art was always my favorite class at school. I didn’t think about pursuing it seriously as a career until I was applying to colleges. My high school art teacher, Margaret Copfer, encouraged me to try out for an art scholarship – I figured, if I got the scholarship, I would study art and art education. Read more>>

Martha Wirth | Photographer

My life has always leant itself to being artiste and or creative. I was a little kid who grew up on movies and musicals from the 1940’s. I played dress up in my attic in a makeshift vaudeville dressing room, complete with an old steamer trunk, vintage clothes, and costume jewelry. I entered and created a plethora of items for the county and state fairs. Read more>>

Reyn Franco | Hair & Make Up Artist

Ever since I was a kid I was interested in art, I loved drawing and in school art class was really the only class that I looked forward to lol. I always thought about owning my own business but never really knew what I wanted to do, then i thought I want to have my own business doing what I LOVE, I don’t want to wake up every morning and hate what I do for living. Read more>>

Kristina Sargent | Mental health therapist and scrap wood painter

Crouched down in a creek bed, I watched the way mud loosened and swirled into the water as I moved a stone while searching for salamanders. I waited for my mom to call me home for dinner as I thought about drawing the swirls in my notebook later. My earliest memories in childhood were connecting to nature and being inspired creatively by these experiences. It has been the way I process life and make meaning of things. Read more>>

Philip Maltman | Painter (artist)

Ever since my baby photographs were taken by the man who became my art teacher I have had a singular desire to make art. As a child all I wanted to do was sit in the house drawing. I’m still the same with studio replacing house. Read more>>

Ari Bilyeu | Concept Artist & Illustrator

I’ve always had a love for storytelling in all mediums, but particularly film. Growing up I would always stay through the credits and read the names of all the people who worked on the project. As I researched their titles, I noticed how many artists worked on these projects and realized I could integrate my passion for art with my love of movies. I knew I didn’t want to do anything else! Read more>>