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.

Carlo Villegas | Music Producer & Sound Engineer

Music has always been with me since I was young. I began playing piano, guitar, and drums during my middle school days. However, I didn’t start pursuing music until the beginning of 2018. I was jumping from college to college, switching my major after I graduated from high school. I got to the point where I wanted to try producing and engineering music. Towards the end of 2018, I enrolled at Full Sail University for the Recording Arts program. That school inspired me to keep learning and creating. I’ve met many great people there, from students to Grammy-Award-winning producers and engineers. Today, I am grateful to be taught by these award-winning engineers and have them say nothing but great things about the quality of my work. Read more>>

Katelyn Smith | Business Owner, Permanent Makeup Artist, and Tooth Gem Trainer

I’ve been artistic my whole life. However, I went to college for computer science engineering and it really sucked all the creativity out of me. It was all logic and numbers. After a few years of doing engineering as a career, I was burnt out and needed a creative outlet. When I found permanent makeup, the stars aligned and it was the perfect opportunity for me. Read more>>

Billy Hawkins | Interdisciplinary Visual Artist

I have been a creative person ever since I was a kid so pursuing one only seemed natural. Drawing was an extremely fun addiction that I spent hours and years cultivating with no real end goal. I got accepted into an art program after high school, but I really committed to being a painter my second year at university. I was surrounded by a really supportive faculty and friends that pushed my artistic development in all aspects personally and professionally. I attended the New york Studio School drawing marathon for a few weeks that really challenged and pushed my love for drawing as the main hub of my practice. I also won the senior painting department award at UNCG that furhter reaffirmed I may be making a good decision to pursue this field aggressively and see where it takes me creatively. Read more>>

ArmonieJAY | Singer/Songwriter

I decided to pursue an artistic career because I love being able to connect with people on a different level. Music has always helped me relate to others. Now I write songs that touch on common topics that a lot of us think aren’t so common. Art gets a conversation going. Read more>>