Deciding to pursue an artistic or creative career path isn’t for the faint of heart. Challenges will abound, but so many of the artists we speak with couldn’t be happier with their choice. So, we asked them about how they made the decision in the first place.

Louis Markos | Professor in English, Scholar in Residence, and Public Intellectual

Since I was a child, I have always wanted to be a writer, though it took me some time to realize that I was not called to be a novelist or a poet, but a man of letters or public intellectual who writes essays and non-fiction prose. I have always had a love for the written word and for storytelling in the broadest sense of that word, and it has always been important for me that what I write both make good points and sounds beautiful. I believe that beautiful prose is actually more meaningful and more good and true than prose that is sloppily written. I think that it is because I believe, with Plato and traditional Christians, that goodness, truth, and beauty are mutually reinforcing and must be taken together that I decided to become a writer as well as an English professor. Read more>>

Kristine Kainer | Contemporary Fine Artist

As a child, I was always drawing–on the floor, on my bed, in the car, on planes, at the beach. I had hopes of becoming a cartoonist or architect. My parents clearly preferred the second choice and encouraged me to pursue that dream. Alas, after college, I made a couple of questionable decisions. Architecture fell by the wayside. A few years later, after several uninspiring jobs, I returned to school, earned a Master’s degree, and became a math teacher in the northern Virginia Meanwhile, drawing continued to be a creative outlet. When an opportunity arose to buy the Kainer homestead in rural Schulenburg, Texas, my husband and I decided to leave our careers in the DC area and moved our little family to the old farm. Since Texas does not offer reciprocity for teaching certifications and the pay at private schools was pitiful, I taught myself how to paint, first with watercolors, then acrylics, and finally with oils. I’ve never looked back. Read more>>

Anna Rizkalla | DJ & Art Director

I pursued creativity because it was something I couldn’t avoid if I tried (and Lord knows I did try). I don’t come from a family of creatives so I didn’t grow up seeing graphic design or DJing as viable careers for my future. I even started out in a business degree but that was short-lived as I left class feeling bored and uninspired. I believe that if creativity is built into the wiring of your brain as I feel it is with mine, you can try to avoid pursuing it but you will be left with a void. If creativity is a big part of the way you think and you choose to not exercise that part of your brain, you might find yourself in a mid-life crisis one day. So I’m thankful that this is something I learned in my early twenties instead of further along down the road. Read more>>

Gabriel Farris | Audio Engineer/Producer

At first, when I was getting out of the army, i was thinking about going back to school and pursue a career in chemistry. I love science, but the thought of just being in a lab didn’t fully intrigued me. So i thought about what I’m most passionate about and seeing myself doing.I decided go into music and became an audio engineer. Music has always been a passion of mine and a big part of my life. You would always see me with headphones or earbuds or how how in depth I get when talking about music, especially hip hop. And growing up and witnessing legends perform (like Luther Vandross Selena, Smokey Robinson, etc.) and being around family, friends or people who know artist like Travis, Trae, Bruno Mars, made me want to pursue this career even more. I wanted to have a career that feels more like a hobby than a job. Read more>>

Dylan Newton | Photographer, Digital Production Marketer & Digital Artist

Sometime during my college years at Lamar University, while I was studying marketing, It seemed to me that I could make photography my main career path if I just had enough tenacity to build my own business. I sought out several local photographers and listened to their experiences in how they decided to make photography their career path, and what that looks like in the day-to-day activities. Each of those photographers had a similar piece of advice that concerned me, “Be sure to take up weddings and senior photoshoots because those make the money. I was rather discouraged when I heard that because I really hated taking up weddings or senior shoots. I had no desire for it but I know that those events did make quite a bit of money, and even more if I organized myself to take on that work more efficiently. But ultimately, I knew that if I primarily focused on those particular services, then I would be so burnt out on photography, that I wouldn’t even want to work on my own personal art. I understood this balance when I used to work for Guitar Center for four years while in college. Read more>>