Artistic and creative careers are among the most rewarding, but they also come with unique challenges. We asked some of the city’s best creatives to tell us why they choose to pursue a creative career.

Monica Baweja | Baker & Talent Acquisition Recruiter

I would occasionally make all-natural treats for my dog, Layla because I stopped trusting store-bought treats. I did a lot of research on what ingredients were beneficial for dogs and would experiment often; it became a fun hobby! When I lost my corporate job in 2016, I was very unmotivated and couldn’t figure out my purpose in life. I knew there was something I was good at, I just needed to figure out what it was. Read more>>

Colin C. K. Njemanze | Filmmaker & Music Video Director

As ridiculous and banal as it is, I didn’t choose a creative career, it chose me. I have always been interested in storytelling. Growing up, I noticed I cared a little more about the plots and character arcs in animated cartoons, books, and movies more than my friends did. I started connecting dots and understanding where characters needed to be and how the story would likely unfold. And took a real appreciation for movies’ special effects work, the behind-the-scenes documentaries and commentaries and DVD extras. When reading books in class, I couldn’t help but visualize what was going on in the stories. Read more>>

Jess Hughes | Social Media Specialist / Artist

Ever since I can remember I have either been painting, drawing, creating things out of clay or forever redecorating my childhood room (sorry mom lol). My brain has just always been on create mode. After I graduated high school, I studied fashion at the Art Institute, and after a while I realized that wasn’t the avenue for me, so I just decided to start working. I worked first as a personal trainer, then went on to the plastic surgery industry, where I still am today. Read more>>

Sydni Calais | Baker & Artist

Since I was little I’ve always loved to draw. I took some art classes growing up, and really enjoyed the creative process- transferring the vision in your mind to a physical surface, and something beautiful coming from that. I love working with my hands, and always knew I wanted to pursue a career that I could craft something from them. My family loves cooking, and being in the kitchen together. My grandmother owned a Lebanese restaurant for 15 years, and always poured out her love through her food. My other grandmother loved to bake for the family. She would always let me assist her with the mixing bowls, even when I could barely reach the counter tops! Read more>>

Dawna Jarvis | Artist and Psychic Intuitive

I don’t think I had a choice! I spent years in the corporate world following artificial rules for living your best life. When fate and an angry boss changed my destiny, it was art that picked me up off the floor. A quote by Carolyn Myss woke me up to the fact that creativity is necessary for me to be a happy and productive person. Read more>>

Misti Little | Podcast Producer & Biologist/GIS Specialist

Creativity has always been important for me and has manifested itself in different ways over the years. While I pursued a science based track in college and for my primary career, the need to create always bubbles to the surface. Producing The Garden Path Podcast was a way to take the gardening side of myself to the public, to share my thoughts and ideas about my garden, as well as plants and nature with others. Read more>>

Ana Silva | NYC Portrait Photographer

Since I was a little girl, I’ve always had that creative bug. I always loved trying new things. I taught myself knitting and crochet because I wanted to make pretty things. Then I taught myself how to write crochet patterns because I wanted to challenge my creativity. It comes very natural to me to see something and make it into a pattern. Then it was the photography bug that started poking me, haha. Since I was about 12 years old I started taking photos. Mind you, this was heavily the film era and I had a 35mm that I took with me everywhere. I’d say I got the love for photos from my mom. She’s always loved photos so I guess it rubbed off. I got my first pro DSLR camera 15 years ago when I had my second baby. Read more>>

Timothy Hudson | Abstract Surreal Artist & Safety Coordinator

The reason for pursuing a creative career is to create a new lifestyle for myself. I have ideas that I am pursuing, I’ve found purpose within myself while working on my craft and I am enjoying the creative process. I also want to make connections within the art world with like minded individuals. The events I have participated in have been a breath of fresh air; to be around an audience who appreciates individuals for being themselves through their creations gives me confidence to create more pieces. Even though I am at the beginning stages of my creative career, I believe the creative journey will provide unique experience within my life. Read more>>

Tristen Wells | Producer, Artist, Comedian, and Video Grapher

Honestly I’ve tried everything from x-ray tech to hvac. And I hated it! Every time I tried doing the so called normal work It would drain me and cause depression. The only thing that feels right is to creative. Read more>>