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.

Chloe Pineda | Digital Artist

I’d say freedom is a big reason why I want to pursue a career in the arts, specifically animation. For the first few years I started drawing as a habit, I focused on developing my skills, such as painting portraits in watercolor. But when I took AP Art in highschool, it was the first time I was put in a situation where I had to challenge myself to produce a portfolio based around a unique theme. I based my theme around the question: if important men of history were women, how would that influence modern society? That project redefined my desire to do art, because it showed me I was capable of answering my own curiosity, and that art could be an outlet to express all sorts of ideas in my head. I became completely wrapped in this idea of perspective and how to communicate ideas through art. I guess, after this new purpose with art, I couldn’t really see my future without it. Instead of seeing art as a small hobby, I found myself relying on it day after day to channel out ideas. Read more>>

Patricia Martinez | Owner & Photographer at Canela Photography

Certainly not for the money! My camera has always been a part of me, so photography gigs would find me. However, I officially started my photography business when I decided to stay home with my kids. I couldn’t give up photography, and in order to afford all my gear to document my children I decided to start a photography business part time. I started out in the days of film and word of mouth. The money was, and is, good, but it’s for the love of creating that I do what I do. Read more>>

Liyah Carter | Professional Dancer

I pursued a career in dance because I realized it was what made me the happiest. Growing up dancing, I always loved performing and had a dream of becoming a professional dancer. Just like a lot of artists, I considered if a career in an art field was a financially safe route. When I got to college, I was a business major before switching to Biology to go into the medical field. It had been almost two years of college, where I wasn’t dancing, before registering for a Jazz class at Grossmont College. I learned about the faculty showcase and decided to audition without any expectation. I was cast into four faculty pieces, one being an unknowingly life-changing piece. Being in a class and experiencing the rehearsal process again, I slowly began to regain an old passion of mine. I eventually decided to change my major from Biology to Dance. At the time, I didn’t see a specific path where this new career would take me but, I knew in my heart that it was something I needed to do. Read more>>

Tino Gabaldon | Salon Studio Owner/Hairstylist

I grew up in a very artistic family, my mother was a hairstylist when I was very young and my father has always been a great artist as far as drawing and graphic design goes. I grew up drawing up till senior year in high school and then switched to painting abstract art. All the while I was self taught and was the guy who cut all of his friends hair in the garage or basement just for fun. I was supposed to go to Art School, but ultimately I ended up being a Hairstylist. So I guess you can say, it somewhat just came natural to pursue something in this direction. Read more>>

Carynne King | Hairstylist/Owner at Colorology Hair Studio

I have always been a creative person, I was artistic when artistic wasn’t cool, haha. I began doing hair at the age of 18. With being so young and being a struggling stylist at first, my family and friends pressured me to get a “real job”. So, I went back to school and earned my Masters in Psychology and worked in that field for 5 years, completely turning away from my creative side and embracing my analytical side, before realizing that I was miserable suppressing my true self. I quit psychology after my third child and dived head first back into the world of hair with the knowledge of what it is like to work at a job-not a career you love. Read more>>