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.

Mackenzie Edmondson | Filmmaker & Podcast Co-Host

Honestly, I had no other option because I wouldn’t be happy in any other sector. I’ve always been what I like to call “Chaotically Creative” meaning that, sporadically, I get the intense need or craving to make something. Or as a friend put it: if I don’t act on those artistic impulsions, I “start vibrating and eventually explode.” So to ensure that I don’t spontaneously combust, I went for a career that allows me to create on a regular rather than trying to find time around a busy schedule to do so. Read more>>

Travé Nicole | Author, Recording Artist, & Teacher

I count is as a calling. We all came into this world deaf and blind to right and wrong. Everything we received, food, water, or milk as an infant, nurture and care, they were all perceived as right because it was what we needed. We are open to everything as we learn and grow. When we meet the wrong things, we want to cover our ears and our eyes. We can’t go back in the womb. We’re left to face it. I have my experiences and the things that I’ve seen and heard. Many of those things hurt and I feel were wrong, but they were right for me. I had these feelings and I wrote them to let go of them and it was art. The whole process of writing it and singing it, or speaking it created a new me. It is possible to have a job that you love and doesn’t stress you out! Read more>>

Karah Leigh | On air Talent

I always had dreams of doing something creative for a living. When I was little, I had the typical fantasy about growing up to be a famous actress or a singer, despite the fact that I can’t carry a tune to save my life. As a teenager, I assumed I would do something enjoyable but practical, but under dream job in my senior book I wrote that I would love to work at MTV or at 94.5 The Buzz. I liked my computer science classes, so I went to college as a computer science major, thinking I would be a web designer. See? Creative, yet practical. But my very first computer science class in college was just miserable. I was so bored and I couldn’t see myself getting a four-year degree in the subject, let alone doing it for the rest of my life. Read more>>

Amanda Pascali | Singer/Songwriter & Activist

I was 12 years old when I picked up a guitar and started singing in front of one of my teachers. I didn’t consider myself very unique, extraordinary, or particularly talented. It only took a few seconds after I started for him to stop me. He was in awe. “Can I record you?” We turned a small room into what I considered, as a 12-year-old, a Hollywood film set and I made my first YouTube video. The description, written by my teacher read “Meet Amanda. She’s 12 years old, and she sings and plays the guitar.” Fast forward a decade later; I am a touring, bilingual singer/songwriter and that same YouTube channel has hundreds of thousands of views. Read more>>

Crystal Murley | Painter & Fused glass Artist

I have always been a very creative individual. I was drawing as soon as I was given chalk or crayons. I used to make random sculptures out of sticks and grass as a kid. I have always loved creating and bringing joy to others. If I can express myself through the images, brush strokes and color that I use and leave an impression on an individual then I have accomplished my purpose. I used to make homemade cards for friends birthdays, love letters and coupon books for my mom and family. Anything tactile that I could construct or create with, I was all in. I’m a natural gift giver. I love to make people happy and to feel loved and special. As I have grown older I realized that I am a healer of sorts. If I can create an object or painting that gives you joy when you look at it each and every day then I have done my job! Read more>>

Jerry Emeka | Public Speaker and Facilitator

I pursued art as a creative career. I always wanted to entertain people since I was 8 years old. I was a complete goof-off and yet I wanted to be a speaker when I was 11. I remember whenever there was a news van around I run to see if I could get in front of the camera. I can’t say that I actually never had a true desire to be an artist professional he’s just that it was all I wanted to do. To be in front of people and help people smile and let sparks glitter in their eyes. I’m not quite what’s been around since I was 8. My father did not support me as an artist actually I think he’s come around to the idea. Read more>>

Ram Perez | Tattoo Artist

I was 3 when I started drawing. I would draw cartoons and movies that I saw. Now I’m 36 and I tattoo cartoons and movies that I’ve seen for a living. Not much has changed there haha. I knew I wanted to to be an artist from the time I could pick up a pencil. It was something innate. Over the years I perfected my technique by way of my mother. She was an art teacher and a guiding light in my artistic journey. She still is at times and I do get sent back to being a student as often as I can. I believe the day you stop learning is the day you start to stagnate and decay. You must always try to be a student even if you feel like you’ve mastered your craft. Read more>>

Lorena Morales | Multidisciplinary Visual Artist

My love and passion for art are a natural consequence of having grown up surrounded by art. My mother is a visual artist as well. She owned an art gallery that she managed for many years, in my birth place Venezuela. There, I had the opportunity to participate in countless activities related to the artistic world and meet many talents of the Venezuelan visual arts.  Today, I am an artist because I have the need to apply what I have learned and through my proposals create new experiences. I really enjoy the challenges that being an artist brings. I love those moments when, after hours of experimenting in my studio, I finally achieve what I am looking for and even more when the viewer discovers exactly what I am trying to communicate. Read more>>

Karen Butts | Professional Photographers of America Master Photographer, Craftsman and Certified Professional Photographer

I was born with the desire to play with colors and lines. The creative urge has always been there from my first box of crayons. Beautiful images make my heart sing! However, in the beginning of my adult life, my creative urges took a backseat. I listened to my father who urged me to become a teacher or a nurse and attended college to become a teacher. I then married and focused on raising three wonderful children. Once my third child left the nest, I felt that I could leave the security of my day job and follow my heart once again. I now breathe to create art. It is constantly on my mind, the wheels are forever spinning. Read more>>

Raymond Mosley | Music Artist: Raymilly

Music has always been a part of my life. When I was in the 4th Grade I remember meeting BG and rapping to him. He told me to keep going and that was all I needed. From that point I started to write rhymes in a composition notebook then over the years it elevated to full songs. For me, music has become an outlet to express my everyday troubles and just life in general. Read more>>

Naika Malveaux | aka DJ Whisperwish, Graphic and Web Designer. Actor, DJ and Promoter

I feel I was raised to be either a doctor or lawyer type. I wasn’t the greatest in academics. To be frank I didn’t understand the point of being ranked via tests during school. I wanted to blend in and not stand out. Who wants all that attention, the pressure? I enjoyed science, journalism, writing, languages and many other things in school. However I never liked formats. Standards. I was very good in art and technology. In early high school I remember I use to collect t-shirts, blue jeans, overalls, and jackets along with a $20 bill or so. I would always take home these items from other students that wanted their girlfriends name airbrushed on the clothing, or pictures of their favorite musicians, game logos and other sorts of imagery. I was more interested in making money from my talents. I didn’t feel I’d ever waste the money going to college to be a lawyer or doctor. Read more>>

Broccyboi | Music Producer

I never had confidence in myself growing up. I just want to make it to show all the kids like me that you can really do anything you want. Life is a video game. Read more>>

Garland Fielder | Studio Artist, Art Critic & Architectural Designer

There was little choice for me to pursue an artistic avenue in life. I have always been a tinkerer, one who likes to deconstruct ideas and things and recreate another version of them. From a very young age, I was always wondering how I could change or improve upon my environment. This passion has carried on in life. Creating art/designing buildings is really just taking an idea, or a program, and improving upon it as best one can. It is a never ending quest. Read more>>

Gary Paller | Abstract Painter

Once I started painting, I knew that was what I wanted to do. I loved making art, always curious to see how each piece would turn out (I’ve never been an artist who plans his work out before making it, as each piece starts somewhere and evolves into something else). I had no idea how I would make an artistic career. When I received my Master of Fine Arts degree from UCLA, I had no idea how I would ever approach the gallery world. Thanks to Frederick S. Wight (Professor Emeritus) and Richard Sherwood (head of the Board of Trustees at LACMA), I sold a big abstract painting from my thesis show to O’Melveny & Myers LLP in downtown Los Angeles. This success was a big honor, but the early success at the age of 24 somehow scared me. Read more>>

Daniela Werneck | Watercolor Artist

My career as a watercolor artist was never planned. It was an opportunity that appeared in my life and I took the ride, like doors opening and I just got in as a destination already set. I never imagined that I would be an artist. I have always been creative and have always loved anything related to art but, my childhood dream was to be an architect, which is also art but more technical. With great natural drawing skills, my father enrolled me in weekly private drawing lessons when I was 16 years old, where I learned and practice for about 7 years after that. I graduated as an interior designer and I worked in an architecture company for 10 years. My life started to change when I moved from Rio de Janeiro (my hometown) to Perth, Australia due to my husband’s job. I had no English and two kids to help to adjust to the new life. Read more>>

Doug B | Artist and proprietor of The Industrial Wastelands of North Houston

I never fitted into the 9 to 5 corporate world mold. I have tried many times to fit into that world and it was like mixing oil and water. I’m far happier and more productive when I have creative freedom. Many of my ideas do not mesh with the main stream and I hate the idea of working to fulfill someone else’s goals just for a pay check. Money is great and we all need it but I also need to create my own dreams and chase my own goals. I have always worked best and been my most productive when I am free to march to the beat of my own internal drummer. Art, all art for me gives me that freedom and drive. It doesn’t matter if it’s a painting, a sculpture, a haiku, or whatever I find it exhilarating knowing this is my design, my creation and I am able to share my vision with others. To be able to have a gift is wonderful, but to be able to share a gift is a true blessing and that is why I pursue art as a career. Read more>>

Linda Clayton-Behr | Artist

I started out in the “creative career” doing graphic design. I worked as a designer for 15+ years and it left me feeling unfulfilled, like I was wasting my life. I would ask myself “What am I doing that makes a difference in this world? I’m making ads to convince people to purchase things they don’t really need. To spend their money on things that isn’t really going to make a difference in their lives in most cases. And who really benefits?” My mind wasn’t fulfilled, my heart wasn’t fulfilled and my sense of servitude, of “what am I doing to make the world better” was definitely not fulfilled. I was (thankfully) laid off, which gave me the freedom I wouldn’t have otherwise given myself as a single mother, to create, to paint. I would apply for jobs in the morning, and each afternoon I would paint. I found a following, people connected with my work. Read more>>

Jasmine Brown-Rasé | Artist

At first, it was because my dad was into art and would teach me how to draw. As I got older, I was interested in how you could communicate your perspective through image and other mediums, but still retain the emotions included in that thought. There’s something about creatively expressing yourself that is not only liberating for the creator but also the viewer. There’s this intimacy that I feel is unique to a creative career, plus the different perspectives that you can attain from each artwork is pretty inspiring. I would describe art as taking a front-row seat into ‘said artist’s’ introspection, whether that be the viewer through observation or the artist through creation. Read more>>