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.

Grace Cazares | Design / Photography

It started when I took photography as one of my hobbies, when I was around 17 years old I followed so many art’s pages that inspired me, from that moment I knew that it would be my future. I wanted to make my profession something related to photography and design so I started studying from my own with tutorials and putting it into practice as I learned. Read more>>

Jessica Gracia | Designer and Lettering Artist

I’m from Mexico City and as long as I remember the letterforms, colors and art have been in my path since forever. From a very young age, I was amazed by the sign paintings around the streets of Mexico City, awakening in me an enormous interest in design and lettering, that’s why I studied Design and Visual Communication at University Read more>>

Lori Addis | Abstract Artist, Designer, Musician

I believe the greatest gift an artist can give to the world is to honor and believe in themselves. When they do, their magic and visions unfold. I live out a creative career everyday as an abstract artist, freelance designer and musician. For me it’s a soul exploration and heartfelt act of honoring the gifts within and letting them flow through. Some days, it’s simply about clearing a path. I love to create because I love the flow state. Read more>>

Ell Treese | Intuitive Artist

I’ve been a creative person since I can remember. I used to play dress up, write plays for my cousins, and I would take art classes at local community art spaces outside of school. I always wanted to create in one way or another. I knew I was destined to be a painter the first time I saw Georgia O’Keeffe’s work. They way she saw the world and expressed her vision of it attracted me to the medium and I’ve been in love ever since. In 8th grade I decided I was going to go to art school and pursue a career as an artist, and now in 2022, I have a BFA in Painting and Printmaking from VCUarts and I’m a two years post-grad professional painter. Read more>>

Nia Lydian | Makeup Artist

When I graduated from high school, makeup was not something I saw as a career. Growing up, I was told I needed a steady job to pay the bills, and makeup could be a hobby. I did what my parents expected of me. College is a great place to expand your mind. I learned things during that time in my life that I didn’t know about myself. I worked two jobs and went to school full time. Then the pandemic hit and I was forced to stand still and look at my life and where it was headed. I was always told that a steady job would pay the bills. The pandemic left people laid off and in debt. Read more>>

Keri Jhaveri | Art Educator & Program Manager

I’ve been in love with visual art as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories is falling in love with Hieronymus Bosch’s triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights, the intricacy, symbolism, and magic of that painting still fascinates me. My mom is an artist, and I grew up paging through her books about art history and going to art museums. I experimented with being an artist myself, taking photography and core art classes as a college student, but deciding to pursue an MA in art history felt like the right path for me. Read more>>

Priya Saraf | Artist -Painter inspired by color and texture

An artistic career is more than a day job; it’s a way of life. I am born and raised in Mumbai. I only started painting after I married and moved to the USA in 2012 and more professionally since 2016. Art is my way of expressing myself and making connections with people and places to make myself feel at home away from home. It also gives me a moment to slow down and helps to make peace with the uncertainty and embrace the chaotic and messy and joyful, and beautiful parts of life. Read more>>

Misa Uvalic | CT & PA based Wedding Photographer

Growing up, I’ve always been creative/artistic whether it be drawing or writing poetry. I never thought that photography could become a career where I could make money. It at first was just a gig at a gym job of mine where I took action shots. Then, I started to take photos outside of work of other people. Throughout the first year of me learning and meeting more and more people, I loved it (and still do of course). I craved for more after each session because I love learning about each individuals garden and how they grow it – to represent that in images is everything to me because I capture people’s love story in a way that is unique to them. Read more>>

Alexis Brianna | Loctician, Candle Maker & Artist

I decided to pursue an artistic career because ever since I was a child, I loved the arts. I used to sing, dance, act, play instruments, and more. I always felt a special connection to the arts, and felt as if it was meant for me. Overtime, I fell short in my passions in grade school but once I graduated high school, something in me felt called to tap back in. Read more>>

Mike Warner | Author, Independent Artist and Speaker

I always had a passion for music from a young age. As soon as I had access to a computer I was using CD burning software to create my own “mix-tapes” and setting the cross-fade time to keep the music flowing. From there I got into DJing by doing a weekend crash course and spending many years at various venues watching and learning from other DJs. Read more>>

Tristan Hardin | Recording Engineer, Mixer, Mastering Engineer

I started seeing concerts at the age of 7, seeing some of my favorite musical acts such as Linkin Park, Chris Cornell, and Green Day. At 9 I started playing drums (thanks Mom and Dad) and learning WHY I loved the artists I did. Like other creatives, I was drawn in. There was an omnipresent force that I couldn’t seem to escape. At 15 I found myself in my first recording studio called “The Hideout”. I was captivated by the way music was recorded, the way sound was molded into an a collective where everything made sense. Read more>>

Luis Rodriguez | Photographer/Videographer

I was originally in school for Computer Engineering and a minor in kinesiology. I thought that working in tech would be my calling, but I was wrong. I had several retail jobs and later a 9 to 5 job. In Maryland, I feel there’s a lack of any artistic drive. I feel after a year being stuck doing the same routine over and over was getting to repetitive. I was feeling miserable and lack of motivation. Wondering what is the next step. Feeling lost and not knowing what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. At the time, I was taking photos as a hobby. Read more>>

Laura Oliveri | Visual artist, Performer and Jewelry maker

I have always been creative in some way ever since I was a little girl. I enjoyed bringing my vision into this realm through drawing, painting and other medias available to me. During my school years, Art was always my favorite class. I had taken solely all art classes as my electives from 6-12th grade. There were many times during highschool I would try to work as long as I could into the passing period to keep my inspiration flowing. Only an hour to work on projects per day never felt like enough for me. It was torture to go from Art to Geometry. Read more>>

Vance Cassaro | Metal Artist

I started Plasma Craft Art as a side business to make a little extra money on the side aside from my day job as a service technician for an equipment company. The side business began to pick up to the point where I was working nights in my garage every night until 9pm or sometimes even until midnight. At some point I chose to make the decision to take the plunge and go full time with Plasma Craft Art. I have now been full time since April 1st, 2021. Read more>>

Arthur Norcome | Artist

The simple answer is that I am miserable if I am not actively creating something. I have always gravitated toward creative activities. As a kid, I gave my drawings to the bullies so they would leave me alone. I only mention that to highlight my first conscious understanding of art’s power on the world. Watching others experience my art for the first time is still my favorite part of the process. Read more>>