We asked some of the city’s leading artists and creatives to tell us about how they decided to pursue an artistic or creative career. We’ve shared some highlights below.

Khindall Dennis | Wedding and Lifestyle Photographer

I pursue an artistic or creative career because it was different. You are able to be your true self when being creative. It’s a feeling for having control of your emotions which shows through my work. Read more>>

Tauran Woo | Photographer & Creative Director

I think it was obvious from a young age that I was definitely creative, and probably wouldn’t be fulfilled unless I figured a way to be creative or do creative work for a living. I guess I pursued it because not pursuing it would be resigning myself to a life of misery! Although pursuing a creative career may not feel like a practical or stable choice, there are many rewards that can be achieved by doing and being excellent at the thing that you love. I encourage the brave, the bold, and the talented to follow their heart and add beauty to the world by contributing your creative voice! Read more>>

Ralphie Trench | Lead Vocalist / Guitarist for Sketchy Trench

For us, art and creativity are not careers, but relief from our careers. We’ve never been able to make much money playing music, so we hold other jobs, which for the most part are a drag. We have dedicated a lot of time, energy and focus to the band as if it were a career, but making music with our friends is something we have always done regardless. And when we’re lucky, we sell a few t-shirts and records as a means to fund various projects, such as touring or recording; self-sufficiency is the basic financial goal of the band. But the ultimate overall goal of the band has nothing to do with finances – it’s about personal fulfillment, and a refusal to assimilate. Read more>>

David Caceres | Jazz saxophonist and vocalist

Music has been in my family for generations. My paternal great grandfather was a professor of music, my grandfather was a jazz violinist, my great uncle was a saxophonist, as well as my father. They maternal grandfather owned a record store and recording studio. I was constantly surrounded by music. They are big shoes to fill but I honestly don’t know what else I’d be doing if I weren’t playing music. Read more>>

Ciara O’Keeffe | Ceramic Artist

I think if I am being honest, as a creative I didn’t get the opportunity to choose a career path.. I was born a creative. It took me a few years to build my confidence and to be happy in my own skin . Being Irish and raised in an era where I was expected to go to college, study, get a degree with real job prospects and live happily ever after. I did one year of a degree course in marketing and german and felt suffocated….This career path just wasn’t for me. I always had to make, to draw, to create my heart ached for it and my soul and my sanity are grateful for it. I’ve had many different jobs in my 20 year career. All the jobs I have worked have given me the financial freedom to sustain my ceramic practise. Read more>>

Natalia Victoria | Artist and performing artist

Being the daughter of creatives, I’ve been exposed to the arts and encouraged to be creative my entire life. I never thought I’d turn my passions into a career. But upon discovering that I would be a mother, I decided to build my career around being a Mom, because more importantly to me, motherhood is the most significant role in my life. I never took a single art class, not even in highschool, but that didn’t discourage me from jumping in to learn as much as I could. I started with drawing anything and everything; then painting in different styles, mediums, and on various surfaces. My desire to become a better painter and artist led to underwater movement/ underwater modeling and mermaid life. I also picked up body painting, which led to roller dance. Read more>>

Mayuko Ono Gray | Artist

The most important reason I decided to pursue an artistic career is that I do not want to regret not doing so when I am dead. I have always loved to draw since I was small, and the idea of pursuing an artistic career came naturally. I attended Japanese calligraphy school since I was 6 years old. When I was in junior high school, I seriously considered becoming a comic book artist. At high school, I attended private drawing studio on weekend to learn and drill my drawing skills. A lot happened since I came to the US right after my high school graduation, but eventually I came back to pursue the MFA degree. Read more>>

Candis Smith | Visual Artist

I have been fascinated all of my life with Fine Arts including Painting and Drawing. I studied Fine Art at the Newcomb College of Tulane University in New Orleans and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Art. I renewed my studies at the Glassell Studio School in Houston. I am currently enjoying a rebirth and have entered into a new phase after many turns in the road along my career path. I opened a studio in Sawyer Yards to expand my reach and networks. I have temporarily paused my studio presence due to the pandemic but intend to reopen after the holidays. Read more>>

Taylor Powers | Artist

Well, to me art is more than just a career path. My intent with pursuing my artistic endeavors is to encourage others to pursue the same and unlock their untouched potential within themselves. I dont think art has a good rep in this day and age. Many people see art as a talent only certain people can attain when actually art is the roots of our culture and our society. My main goal is to change the world’s view on what art appreciation is and show how incredibly important art is for everyone, especially those who aren’t particularly artistic. A lot of times when people look at art they automatically try to find meaning which isn’t necessarily bad but oftentimes most people can’t understand or connect with art the way they think most artists do but I feel that simply just admiring art is the beauty of art. Read more>>

Adam Clay | Classical Pianist, Composer, Artistic Director

I honestly don’t think I could have done anything else. I find that pursuing beauty is often the most meaningful thing to pursue. There’s a notion that beauty comes from something beyond ones own thoughts and emotions, and I find that very compelling, as creating it is always a journey. So I find that journey meaningful, exciting. Read more>>

Nikki Hune | Mental Health Advocate

I pursued an artistic career because the arts serve as a complementary part of my own mental health recovery. To help cope with depression, I continually create art and music. For example, the photo of me playing guitar in a power ranger suit makes me laugh and helps me focus on fun things in life. I hope to encourage others who suffer from mental health conditions, letting them know that creativity can be an avenue of support for health and wellness. Read more>>

Caroline Ryan | Painter

I chose an artistic career because art has always been something that I have loved. Since I was a little girl, I was constantly drawing or painting. During the end of high school and early college, I took a detour from art and decided to focus on other things (I was majoring in psychology and thinking of becoming a therapist), but ultimately, ended up focusing on art again. I ended up double-majoring in psychology and painting, which I do not regret. I think psychology, although not extremely apparent, has been something that informs my art and the choices I make in my work. Read more>>