In our experience, most folks, including ourselves don’t have enough of an understanding of risk and the role it plays in our lives and careers and so we have made a concerted effort as a team to have conversations about risk with our interviewees. We’ve shared some highlights below.

Trisha LaCoste | Photographer | Videographer | Web Designer

My life has been all about taking risks. At 31 years old, I was recently divorced, had just finished college, had four small kids, and was working as an insurance producer. I spent every day in a cubicle and it felt like my soul was dying. I knew if I didn’t make a change, I would wake up one day feeling like I had wasted my life. I’ve always been creative. Photography has been my passion since high school. So at the end of 2011, I told my boss I wanted to put all my efforts into my photography business. I quit my job without knowing how I would make it work. Nothing pushes you more than the urgency that comes with quitting a full-time job to pursue your passions. It’s been nine years and I’ve never had to get another job. I’ve provided for my family by doing something I love. Not many people can say that. Read more>>

DJ Cocroft | Photographer/Videographer

The word “risk-taking” translates back to one thing for me. Fear. Fear is an emotional trigger for me, because it is the source of every feeling of regret I’ve ever felt in my life. All of the decisions I should have made, things I should have said, and things I should have done were all missed opportunities due to fear. After years of trying to grow deeper in God and finding myself, I’ve learned that there are very few things in life that really matter. So I’ve become a very purpose-driven person. And I think that when most people truly focus on purpose, they will discover that every decision they face that involves risk, directly involves the fear that is keeping them from their purpose. Read more>>

André Hermann | Photographer, Faculty/Department Chair

Taking a risk, stepping off the edge into the depths of uncertainty is a scary thing. It’s probably the one thing that keeps most from exploring new opportunities, making new art, or meeting new people or starting a business. i understand the fear. If we never ask, if e never make eye contact and walk across the room, never ask what-if and actually act on it, we’ll live haunted by the ghost of not knowing what could have been. Taking risks over the years has helped me to develop tough skin, and make friends with the fear of failure, and rejection. When you experience it enough, it has less control over you. This is a big lesson I share with my students. Read more>>

Ramxes | Musician / Visual Artist

Risk taking is extremely important to stand out in my opinion. We are all unique and different in ways in which we implement our visions and creativity. Even if we make similar or close styles the way it is created from one person to the next can vary. I recommend we always take the risk to go with our most true self. This is can be the biggest risk in a world where a lot of people want to blend in. There is a short term victory in blending in and not staying true, but the largest reward is always in being yourself. This has paid off for me in many cases where I could have stuck to one role or followed a crowd in terms of my music and art, but then people would not have been acknowledging my unique creative thoughts. Read more>>

Tomas Fierro | Painter, photographer & Author

Risk. Risk are fun! I have led a life of meandering risks! Starting in my early 20’s I decided that I wanted to have a full life of trying, seeing and doing a great amount of things. I never wanted to be pigeon holed or stuck at just doing one thing. I enjoy learning, and when the time comes that I feel I know too much, I move on. Read more>>

Emman Mariategue | Illustrator

I think risk is a necessary step we all have to take. For years I have been working in the food industry while doing art on the side, just because it’s safe. I have a steady income and I can still do what I love. Even though there is achievement and satisfaction working in the food industry, my pursuit with art became stagnant. I don’t regret being in that industry, but leaving that cushion was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The pursuit of art has many pitfalls and uncertainties. And I know I haven’t really achieved what I’m aiming for, but it’s good to be where I want to be. Read more>>

Stephanie Bachle | Eden Grey Photography

I am terrified of open ocean water as well as heights, however I will do just about anything (safely) to get a shot that I’m envisioning. I’ve been in both situations quite a few times and it wasn’t as hard to push myself past limits I’ve set for myself for the sake of the picture and wow factor from my couples. I have been up to my shoulders in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef as well as hiked to locations that I normally would steer away from just because I knew the payoff would be rewarding. As for risks with the techniques I use, I try not to paint a box around myself and try new things with my couples on a regular basis. They hired me for a reason, so I have to remember to trust myself and take the creative risks as well as the classic shots. Read more>>

Christie Craig | AKA C.C. Hunter, New York Times Bestselling author

I’ve never seen myself as a risk taker. I would never jump out of a perfectly good airplane, or go rock climbing. I’m not even big on roller coasters. Yet when it came to my career, writing, submitting my work, trying a new genre, I just jumped in. I wouldn’t let fear stop me. Even rejections didn’t slow me down. Looking back, I can see that if I hadn’t taken the leaps of faith, I wouldn’t have succeeded. I know so many writers who are more talented than I am, but they didn’t make it because they were afraid to take a chance. Read more>>

Yorick Fauquant | Tattoo Artist & Composer

Risk taking has played a huge role in my career. I’ve been at so many crossroads but they were always opportunities I had purposefully created in my life. I’ve always had a basic end goal in mind and have been open to taking new chances to get there. There have been two main risks I’ve taken over and again. The first is moving countries. Twice! I’m from France and was very successful and well known since there were very few tattoo artists when I started 20 years ago. But, my country didn’t allow me the opportunity to be financially successful to support my family, or live in my dream home out in nature, where I can be inspired by the sunshine and the beauty of the natural world. I found a lot of happiness in Barcelona so I moved there for a year. Read more>>

Matt Harlan | Musician & Regulatory Consultant

For me, risk taking is one of the most important and agonizing things to consider in work and life. It’s a trade-off that businesspeople make every day, but I think in our own lives we have a harder time with it. Deciding whether to do something terrifying forces you to choose what’s important to you, which can be hard to confront. Early on I was risk averse and played things somewhat safe. I didn’t study music in college although I desperately wanted to. I played in bands growing up and even left a primo summer job at a head shop freshman year because I had a big gig. But when it came to really picking a career, I couldn’t take the music plunge. I quit the band, hunkered down, and ended up doing work that didn’t make me happy after graduation. Read more>>

Lou Vest | Founding member of the League of Obscure Photographers

I know you are asking about “risk” in the context of being an artist, but like most artists I had a day job that enabled me to have an art career. My day job was piloting gasoline tankers up and down the Houston Ship Channel. But having a day job like I did meant that I did not have to take any risk as an artist. I was free to be as non-commercial and abstract as I liked because I could provide for my family in a way that didn’t depend on my art. That gives an artist enormous freedom. I have a close friend who is a painter. She made a risky decision early in life to live from her art, knowing it would be difficult. Every time she faces a blank canvas she has to decide whether to paint something she knows will sell easily or to push the boundaries of painting she has done before. Read more>>

NELXART | Visual Artist

I believe risk is the spark of productivity along with determination. For me, taking risk helps me get to the next level in which I’m trying to excel to. Without risk I would more than likely remain stagnant with my craft. Where for me, remaining stagnant is not an option, so taking that next step without knowing the outcome is the most best decision I could ever make. Read more>>

Kisma Orbovich | Your Prosperity Code Mentor

I’m a risk-taker, but a smart one. I think this comes from my days as a professional classical flutist. Every concert (and even every rehearsal) there was a risk of being criticized by the conductor or my peers if I didn’t play well. In the orchestra world, perfect is the norm, so I developed a strong mindset. Now I look at risk as easy. The work I do is centered around prosperous thought and Universal Laws. Once we understand that we are magnificent creators of our reality, risk diminished. We become accountable and know that if something didn’t work out, and we created it, we can re-create it. Read more>>

Heather den Uijl | Painter

I think about risk as a kind of growth mechanism. In a studio practice if you are not willing to take risks your work begins to stagnate; you just reinforce what you already know. Two huge parts of my studio practice involve play and experimentation. Neither of these things work without some element of risk taking. More than before I have been willing to challenge myself and stretch the boundaries of what I am capable of. I wouldn’t be half the painter I am today without a willingness to take risks. There was a time I was much less likely to engage in risky behavior, and my work suffered for it. As I began to open up and accept the uncertainty that comes with experimentation, my work began to change in ways that not only challenged expectations of myself, but of painting. Read more>>