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.

Patsy Bentivegna | Executive Chef, Pastry Chef & Culinary Instructor

Spending joy is what it’s all about! As the oldest girl of six kids, I learned very early on how to cook and bake. I experienced firsthand the glory and satisfaction of what it is like to put a smile on someone’s face simply by baking them a cake! These activities not only satisfied a creative outlet but gave me a foundation that would later develop into a career that I love. Read more>>

Jenny & Brooks Crawford | Brookside Landscape Design- Exterior Environments & Decor

We choose this career to be ambassadors of the outdoors in its most basic and under-appreciated context- the space outside your own home. Landscapes can be spaces where you are comfortable, happy and inspired. To sit back and enjoy a well-designed space is to believe that your family is worthy of the investment. Transforming exterior spaces helps our clients appreciate a more relaxed homebody lifestyle. This lifestyle includes spending more meaningful time with your family, appreciating nature and its cycles, learning about new plants and insects, and when it is safe to do so again, the company of friends. Landscape design is a wonderful combination of creativity and technical knowledge (about construction, botany, and décor) and the creative component is what energizes us the most. Read more>>

Francis French | Science Educator & Author

I’ve always been fascinated by science, whether it’s astronomy and space exploration, or natural sciences such as wildlife and the mysteries of our oceans. But in high school I could already tell that my physics and math ability were never going to propel me to doctorate level where I could do meaningful research. What I could do, however, was to write about it. I soon realized that fascinating work was being done in all of these fields yet the public weren’t always aware, because either those doing the research were too busy to talk about it, or their explanations were far too academic. Taking a human-centered, storytelling approach, I have spent most of my career either working in cultural institutions in the U.S. or Europe to share incredible science achievements, or writing books and magazine articles to do the same – finding a way the public can personally engage and share the wonder of discovery. Read more>>

David Van Gough | Necrosurrealist Painter

Ultimately because there really isn’t anything else that could be as fulfilling-that thing Kurt Vonnegut said about it making life more bearable-art has that indelible capacity to elevate and transgress beyond merely being. Art can be a marriage full of turbulence, a religion full of doubts, of transcendent highs and debilitating lows. It can be some of the greatest personal triumphs you will ever have, opening up a world of personal discovery, give you a set of friends and values you would never of had otherwise, as well as admission onto the walls of total strangers. It can offer an introspect connection between yourself and others, an innate mirror into something that bled from your soul, something you put out into the world that people can continue to venture into, and rediscover new facets that color their own existence. That is the why and indeed the wherefore. Read more>>

Dana Zimbric | Artistic Director & Conductor

I honestly could not imagine doing something that wasn’t artistic or creative in nature. I remember back in High School having a conversation with a classmate. He asked me “Why are you going into music? You could be a doctor or a lawyer!” Absolutely no offense to doctors or lawyers (I come from a family of many medical professionals!), but I knew that those career paths were not for me. Music can share so much – from emotional response, to history, to amazing stories. Music can capture our shared humanity in so many wonderful and inspiring ways. I can’t imagine doing anything else. Read more>>

Emily Larrabee | Character Designer & Children’s Book Illustrator

I’ve been drawing and creating since I was about 3, spending hours at my kitchen table doing all manner of projects, so that passion was always there. I watched other kids in school “grow up” and become interested in other things, things that in a small town in Georgia felt like attainable interests, while I doodled in class. In high school I was given a career goal project where I was asked to research what I wanted to do after graduation. I knew that animation was a career path but again, living in a small town that often undervalued the arts, it felt like something that probably wouldn’t happen for me. I ended up going with it though because I had nothing else I remotely was interested in and figured it was a 10th grade poster project and I just needed a good grade. When researching though I found so much opportunity even nearby, with SCAD being in state and a strong animation scene in Atlanta, that I had no idea was available. Read more>>