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.

Donnie Gonzalez | Tattoo Artist

I pursue an Artistic career because of the creative freedom I get to do everyday. Read more>>

Aaron Garrett | Artistic Director & Playwright

For most of my life I wanted to pursue engineering or science, and I entered university with the intent of studying optical physics. Fairly quickly into my studies I realized that while I adept at getting the work done I wasn’t nearly as interested in it as my peers, and I feared that would ultimately lead to being unsatisfied with a career in that field. At the same time I was taking theater classes, which did not come naturally in the least, and I found myself engrossed in the challenge of it all. Discovering that I looked forward much more to my extracurriculars rather than what I was ostensibly there for I decided to change majors. Over the years the collaborative aspects of theater and the community around it have kept me from straying to other careers. Read more>>

Ashley Powell | Full-Time Student, Photographer, & Artist

The reason I decided to pursue an artist career was to help someone find the safe space in art like I found. I struggled with mental health for a long time and I met an amazing art therapist who helped me find my way back through art. This is something I want to be able to show others how to do. Read more>>

Matthew Boyleston | Professor of English and Writing

I have been involved with the arts all my life. The arts were always a lens through which I could make sense of the myself and the world. After years of publishing poetry and essays and teaching, I have recently ventured into the world of arts non-profits. I sit on the board of Catholic Literary Arts, a Houston based non-profit dedicated to promoting writing in our community from a distinctly Catholic perspective. Read more>>

Marcelese Cooper | Visual Artist & Educator

I’ve always been surrounded by music, movies, and a love for crafting because of my parents and that love led me to throw myself head-first into an array of mediums. I just remember the particular feeling I’d get watching movies or when my father would explain what a song really meant beyond it’s catchy chorus and just knowing that before I am anything else I should be a storyteller. I tell stories primarily through the photographs and the short films that I create, but I do it both because it allows me to explore the intersections of my own identity while also creating more visibility in genres and subjects where I wish I always saw more faces like my own; I also chose to pursue the arts because I recall many times as a teenager, not having the words to fully capture what it felt like to be young, black, and queer but the arts gave me space to find my voice. Read more>>

Chino Angles | Photographer

I have always been interested in art for as long as I can remember. My earliest memory of coming across art or being artistic was being told to draw a car while I was in kindergarten, and I remember drawing the most abstract thing ever and calling it a car. I have always had an artistic nature, and I guess it is my purpose to create art. I decided to pursue a creative career because that’s all I’ve know, being creative, finding some way to put things together that appeals to the eyes and soul. Read more>>

Mamie Raynaud | Designer & Milliner

I get asked this question a lot, and sometimes I think it’s because being a milliner is an unusual profession in the US. My story began in design school in my twenties. I got to know the accessories instructor who was also a milliner from Austria. She was bigger than life and wore fantastic hats with matching outfits to school. I loved her style! I hung around her workroom often between classes, and asked her many hat making questions. She showed me how felt and straw could transform into almost any shape. She was also the first person to teach me about up-cycling discarded hats instead of buying new materials. I always wanted to take her courses, but never found time to add the accessories track to my schedule. I told myself back then that I was going to learn how to make hats one day, and secretly knew there was a milliner inside me. Millinery was almost the career that got away. But sometimes when things are meant to be, life opens opportunities for you. Read more>>

Wilson Marks | Musician and Educator

I’m a compulsive sound maker – I played instruments growing up and having both my dayjob as an elementary music teacher and my night gig (in non-Covid times) be playing music in a variety of settings feels more natural to me than trying to do anything else. I held a variety of jobs when I was younger but music and art were always how I chose to spend much of my time and energy. The reality of trying to eke out a living as an artist means wearing a lot of different hats but that has meant lots of different flavors of work- as a side-musician for others, doing studio work, leading a band with my original music or being sonic wallpaper, teaching lessons, doing summer music camps with kids, among other things. Read more>>

Madison Kirby | Content Creator & Social Media Strategist

I’ve always been the girl writing goofy scripts and filming funny videos. I remember being so excited to hang with my cousins when I was younger because I couldn’t wait to cast them in some ridiculous news show or a short film about the muffin man turning into a killer pastry. What’s odd is that I was the quiet one in school who got in trouble for not talking enough in class. My shyness ended up coming in handy for comedy. While the outgoing kids were busy yapping, I observed my surroundings and used the insights I gained for skit inspiration. Because of my history and upbringing, I can’t see myself pursuing something that isn’t creative. I don’t think I could ever turn off the brainstorming button inside my brain. It feels natural. Read more>>

Fredy Cano | Photographer

I didn’t plan it to be a career, I started as a hobby first, and then people started to enjoy my photography and now I have the opportunity to get paid. Which I’m thankful for that. I do believe when people create there own art is so pure so raw and then it become their job, that’s a dream you know? Supporting your dream until your dream support you. Read more>>

Asha Thune-Clark | Home Stager & Re-designer

It’s funny because I’ve never thought of myself as particularly artistic or creative. However, for as long as I can remember, I have been obsessed with physical space. I think I was 4 or 5 when my mom surprised my sister and I with new bedding that had tiny pink roses on it and I remember walking into the room and feeling so happy to see that beauty and that order. I shared a room with 1 of my 4 sisters at any given time and they knew I had very specific rules about how they could decorate “their side.” NSYNC posters had to be hung in frames and beds needed to be made. My older sister still laughs about how I “allowed” her to hang a poster she loved inside the closet so that I didn’t have to see it. For a long time, I fought my passion or obsession with spaces because it felt self-serving and I wanted to do something that would help people in a profound way. Read more>>

34K | Singer, Songwriter, and Producer

I am pursing an artistic career because it is a way for me to express myself in ways that I otherwise would not be able to. I am normally more revered and quiet, and I tend to spend a lot time thinking instead of talking. Music allows me to say the things that I want to say in the way that I want to say them. I also hope that my creativity and art can relate to other people and make them feel good. I believe that music can heal the soul and speak to people of different backgrounds. Music has the power to bring people together, and my goal as an artist is to provide my contribution to that cause. Read more>>