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.

Brynn Brdar | Artist & Meanderer

I work for a renowned sculpture artist who indulges me in the occasional existential discussion. The other day, I asked him what he constitutes as “art” … the often undefinable, highly subjective question. He was pensive for a moment, and then carefully began to describe that defining art is futile in his opinion, while defining the artist is, well, he said, easier. He said that the artist is someone who cannot go forth without creation. There is a “survival” pull there. Even in times of creative lax, or writers block so to speak, the little subconscious artist is perched upon the shoulder of the artist, whispering future prospects and romantic, albeit torturesome, notions. Point being, I do it because I can’t ignore it for the life of me. Read more>>

Evan Schell | Videographer & Photographer

Art and creative forms of expression have always been an important part of my life. At an early age my mom introduced me to a plethora of different mediums that I tinkered with to help express myself and get my ideas out. Videography and photography ended up being the medium that I was drawn to the most. It all started when I began running around the neighborhood with my mom’s old camcorder documenting moments with friends and family. It became a wild obsession that led me to study film and digital media in college up north in Santa Cruz, California. Read more>>

Lisa Bryson | Studio Artist & Educator

When your brain, energy and capabilities are geared toward a specific way of thinking, doing and being, and is often contrary to the mainstream, there is really only one direction to go–follow through with what you know and do best. Thriving in life is not always experienced, but taking the path that suited me the best helped me to excel and succeed. The payoff is not always monetary but rather the “overall” fulfillment is achieved. I have to be in a space that supports and ignites creativity, so an artistic career was the answer. Read more>>

Cheyenne Benton | Independent Singer-Songwriter & Producer

I always secretly wanted to pursue music for as long as I can remember, but I didn’t really have people who prioritized creativity in my life growing up – I went to a relatively small school for the majority of my childhood that lacked artistic programs and really pushed sports. I was never athletic and never felt as though I fit in among that crowd. My freshman year I switched schools and joined an extra curricular theater program, and suddenly I was surrounded by tons of artistic individuals, and it opened my eyes to the reality that pursuing a creative career wasn’t such an outlandish thing. It’s a reality a lot people make work, and many actually thrive in the artistic fields. Read more>>

Alexander Kohnke | Book Designer & Artist

I have always been creative and have always enjoyed creative projects. The process itself puts me in a very focused and absorbed mindset that I enjoy tremendously. I like learning how to use new tools and exploring how they might apply to a project. I love doing something I have never done before. There is a great satisfaction in creating something that did not exist before. I have always come back to my creative work; it is something I was always confident about. I got an education as a designer starting in Germany and then at Art Center, Pasadena. It gave me a broad set of skills I could apply to a wide range of endeavours: graphic design, drawing, photography, printmaking, digital animation etc. Read more>>

Riley Waite | Fine Artist

I think of myself lucky as I always knew I wanted to go into the arts, as far back as kindergarten. I had a natural talent for studio arts, and that was coupled with the encouragement from my mother, so I almost always knew I was going to be an artist. I never gave much thought to a plan B, so that made going into the arts and sticking with it much easier. I would also consider myself a solitary and inward thinking person. I am introverted and prefer to work alone so I always gravitated towards working for myself, and a large part of art making is solitary. That contributed a little into my decision to pursue art. Read more>>

Cassandra H. Kendall | Artist & Photographer

When I was a little girl, I was naturally drawn to and fascinated by the arts. Drawing, painting, music, and dance were all a major part of my family life since my mom and dad were both working artists. My mom was a ballroom dance teacher, singer, actress and my father a jazz pianist and painter. By the time I became a teenager, I was doing commissioned art for family and friends. Also, I had very persuasive siblings who were striving to be successful artists and strongly encouraged me along the way. Having had the tremendous support from my family provided the backbone and confidence to pursue a creative career. Read more>>

Ariana Gonzalez | Professional Ballerina

I was lucky enough to grow up in a ballet studio. My parents were both professional dancers and teachers, and I spent my entire childhood immersed in ballet and music. I remember watching rehearsals and being so captivated by expressing oneself through movement, to the most beautiful music. I quite literally could not wait to start my ballet training! Nothing makes me feel more alive than performing. I knew from an extremely young age that ballet was my calling and never looked back. Read more>>

Josh Kornoff | Co-Founder

Some people are natural born surfers. Some are natural born musicians. I love to build and to know how stuff works (especially if it’s mechanical). That’s why approaching this new industry wasn’t intimidating to me. I genuinely love figuring out how to build new things. When we started with our 1,400 SF facility, I already knew that I wanted to expand to our current 25,000 SF facility. We just needed to make sure the community would accept us and love our brand like we do! I believe we’ve done that. Our followers are the best. Our artists are the best. And we are just doing our best to continue to combine surf, sun and spirits in everything we do. Read more>>

Scott Gengelbach | Artist

First, I’d like to say that being a professional artist can mean different things to different people. I consider myself a professional because I show my work in professional settings. I do not however make a living off of my work. Certainly it would be ideal to make a living from selling my work, but that isn’t the end game for me. My work is not an easy sell, particularly because of the controversial issues it tackles. People may like it, but they don’t necessarily want it in their home. Having said all that, being an artist wasn’t really a choice as much it was a calling. I have always been involved in creative endeavors so being an artist was just a natural progression. Read more>>