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.

Melissa Fitzgerald West | Portrait Photographer

My love for the arts goes back as long as I can remember. Even as a little girl, my mom tells me I always preferred reading, coloring and craft projects to anything else. There was rarely a day that passed that there wasn’t some sort of large scale chalk drawing spanning the length of our driveway. As I grew older, that love for art only deepened. I became inspired by the French Impressionists and taught myself how to paint copying masterworks by Van Gogh, Monet and Matisse (though falling woefully short of their genius, just to be clear!). By the time I was in college I knew I wanted to pursue something in a creative field, I just didn’t quite know how to do it. Read more>>

Jonny Pride | Musician/Artist

I was always exposed to music from a very young age and I picked up the guitar about 13 years ago in Copenhagen, Denmark whilst living abroad. Moving around internationally, I was also exposed to a wide variety of cultures and people each unique and beautiful in different ways, and I loved it all. I always knew I wanted to be a philanthropist to help those who truly are in need of it, and I knew that music is the one medium of communication which is universally unifying in terms of bringing people together who vastly differ from one another. My goal is to be able to give back to those who deserve it, using good music to bring people together. Read more>>

Alyssa Rachelle | Filmmaker

I love telling stories! I’ve always known that I wanted to become a filmmaker, specifically writing, producing and directing. However, my desire to tell stories while educating the mass produced a love for journalism- my major at The University of Texas at Austin. I graduated from there in 2004 with a Journalism degree but pursued film. I set foot on a film set in Austin right after graduation and it solidified my love for making movies. Seeing how movies effect change and affect people through documentaries or narratives that are relatable and genuine, keeps me driven in following through with story ideas I have and scripts that I’ve started. Read more>>

Jan Angeline Parayno | Houston Photographer

Growing up, I’ve always been interested in photography, filming, and editing. I started with a point-and-shoot at the age of 11. I would make videos and skits for our family with my cousins in the Philippines. When I moved to the US, I got myself my first DSLR camera. I started doing photography as a hobby, which later developed into a side gig. Pursuing a photography business for me does not feel like work. I always find it fun and rewarding. I love how my photos help other people preserve their special moments. Read more>>

Camille Elise | Photographer

I Decided to choose an artistic career because artistry is all I know. My Mother and my Father were both artist’s growing up, so the creative gene is pretty much embedded in me. Growing up, I had so many journals and notebooks of my drawings & art work. I had such a passion for art class in grade school and I made sure to take art classes every year. After high school, I pursued many avenues of artistry, from, makeup, hair & esthetics. It wasn’t until I gave birth to my firstborn, that I finally tapped into my passion for photography and haven’t looked back since! Read more>>

Honey Bee | Director

I was at what felt like an all time low in my life. I was struggling in every single way. Sometimes not eating so my daughter could eat. Unhappy and alone as I ever felt. I remember contemplating suicide and being more saddened that for me that wasn’t an option because I had to stay alive for my children “unfortunately”. I told a few family members and you know, I got great but completely useless advice and I felt as if my back was against the wall. I would cry myself to sleep like every night after my daughter would fall asleep and one night I decided to cry in the shower instead (lol). Read more>>

Dee Ace | Artist & Producer, Co-Owner of Tunnel VSN

I’ve always had a creative mind since I was a kid. Music was always a passion of mine and it was something that I couldn’t run from anymore. It was a calling that I always felt inside of me but I tried to downplay it as just a hobby I did on the side to myself. Around 17 years old though, I couldn’t run from it anymore and made the decision to chase being an artist full time which then snowballed into me also becoming a producer, engineer, musician and owning my own creative arts company, Tunnel VSN. Looking back on it now, it was really destiny for me to do this. It’s always been there. I just had to stop running from myself. I’ve always known I was put here to something great and inspire a lot of people, it just took me awhile to recognize what that form of inspiration was going to be. Read more>>