Artists and creatives face innumerable challenges given that their career path often doesn’t come with a playbook, a steady paycheck or any form of safety net.  It’s definitely not easy and so we asked a few of the artists and creatives we admire to talk to us about why they chose to pursue an artistic or creative career.

Akira Milton | Model & Content Creator

During my youth, I have always loved creating different things. I grew up building, fixing and doing plenty of art projects. Ironically, I have no illustration artistic abilities so I opted for any other crafty hobbies that I could find! Modeling is full of so much art! There is no right or wrong way when coming up with your own concepts and executing them. Starting out, your work may be a little amateur like but with more education and practice, your work will always improve. I get the chance to model myself and be any type of statue I can become via posing. Makeup artists get to put their own twist on inspiration looks or create their own entirely! Hairstylist can also do the same as makeup artists. Both can transform a model into an entirely different person or keep it simple by enhancing their beauty. And photographers are some of the greatest artists of all! Read more>>

Alda Escobar | Artist and Designer

I’m currently a designer, marketer and artist. I feel lucky to be able to do all these things. As a child, I was very creative, having been interested in drawing and painting. I believe, I have always wanted to pursue an artistic career. I wanted to create an emotional connection to people and make a difference in people’s lives. Communicate messages and innovate. What inspired me to pursue my career was the passion to explore new ways of solving problems, finding new solutions to existing problems and looking for problems that needs creative solutions. Read more>>

Makenzie Crouder | Wedding and Event Florist

I have always been a creative and take charge kind of girl, so the thought of being my own boss was a very nice idea. I was about to start college, and had been working at a new flower shop nearby during the summer, so I had some knowledge of the skill. I knew that starting a business was very difficult and that many businesses do not survive during the first and five years, but I figured that starting out small and at home would be the perfect solution to maintaining control of the amount of work I placed on myself and that I could learn as I went. As it turns out it has been the perfect solution for me. I get to work out of my home and communicate with clients all over San Diego. I truly love the opportunity I have been given. Read more>>

Madeline Sandler | Ceramic Artist

Society provides a very concise yet vague outline of what our lives should look like from a very young age. We are told to do well in school and get good grades so you can get accepted to a 4-year college where you will receive a degree in a field that is guaranteed to get you a good 9-5 job. You will work very hard at this job and earn some money until you retire. In between, you should fall in love, have a family and buy a house and a nice car. Being a product of such similar expectations inflicted by society, I adopted this framework for my life and often neglected my hobbies and passions to focus on school or work. I dug deeply into my classes and my work spaces, always searching for a shred of passion, something that would spark enough interest for me to want to commit my energy to a certain field. Read more>>

Johanna Pake | Photographer

I pursued photography because I’ve always had an interest, love and passion for it. I love how you can capture a moment in time and you can always go back and relive that moment through a photograph. Read more>>

Mark Atkinson | Actor & Filmmaker

Well, as I said in my last interview with SD Voyager last year… I don’t really consider myself an artist because I think it sounds too pretentious… but rather an entertainer. But I guess you could label me a creative. Ehhh… That still sounds a little pretentious too doesn’t it? Anyway, to answer your question, I think most “artists” or creatives have no choice, when it comes to pursuing an artistic or creative career. They simply follow their hearts & passions… Yup. I definitely sound pretentious now. I might as well commit all the way now! I believe it was Confucius that said… “If you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.” Read more>>

Anna Lynch | Freelance Photography & Photo Instructor

From a young age, I knew that I did not want to pursue a “traditional” office job. I grew up taking art classes, dance classes, and music classes. Channeling my artistic side felt right to me, and made me feel like I have a purpose. In high school, I took my first photography class, and that’s when I became more serious about it. I realized that I see in photographs. I look around at the world in front of me and I notice the lighting, the shadows, the colors, the shapes. I can’t unsee it. And once I became aware of this, I knew that I couldn’t pursue anything else. I also came to this realization after attending a concert in New York when I was a sophomore in high school. I went to see the singer Paolo Nutini perform at Terminal 5, and I brought my camera along. Read more>>

Jonathan St. Amant | Art Teacher

I pursued teaching art because it allows me to create my own curriculum, where I get to teach what I love to my students. It also gives me time during holiday breaks to pursue my own artistic goals. Read more>>

Ian Patrick Cler | Professional Musician & Educator

In his album liner notes of A Love Supreme, John Coltrane writes, “[…] a spiritual awakening which was to lead me to a richer, fuller, more productive life. At that time, in gratitude, I humbly asked to be given the means and privilege to make others happy through music.” Coltrane understood that the music was more about others than about himself. He realized he taken music/creativity for granted. To put it another way: Creativity’s purpose should be unification and a resource for building up your community. Coltrane realized the importance of this notion. Therefore, A Love Supreme, was an offering in four parts: Acknowledgement. Resolution. Pursuance. Psalm/ A Love Supreme. Read more>>

Desiree Lawrence | Artist

I pursue art as my career because creating is something that I have always been passionate about and it brings me fulfillment. I realized that I wanted to become an artist after taking some accounting courses in college. The accounting courses dealt with mostly numbers and they drove me crazy. It drove me away from it and it made me want to be more creative by making artwork that I can share with people. Another reason for my artistic career choice is because I live close to the beach and see the beauty that lives within the environment. I want to be able to share my view of the natural environment that surrounds us. I want to make my viewers realize that life is beautiful and that we should be appreciating it to the fullest. Read more>>

Gretchell Mafong | Lifestyle / Travel Photographer

My creative career path, like most people, started as a hobby. My photography business was completely unexpected. In college, I did study to become an Architect but then life happened and I had to pursue something a little more stable. That’s when I got my job in the Medical field and is where I met all my supportive co workers who gave me a chance to work with them creatively and that’s what really started my Photography business. I am so thankful to everyone who has helped me throughout this journey. Because of them, I get to do what I love. Read more>>

Kaitlyn Lloyd | Pastry Artist @SanDiego.Sweets

Artistic and creative hobbies have always been important to me, but growing up there was definitely some pressure on me to pursue a more conventional career. I originally went to college for Accounting, and worked as an Internal Auditor for a few years after graduating, but I always knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do forever. Over time it just became more and more evident that I wasn’t a 9-5 desk job type of person and that I’d never be happy in a role like that. I’ve always loved baking. I worked in a bakery in high school and it had been a hobby of mine for a long time. I started taking some pastry classes outside of work when I was at a particularly unhappy point in my career and just had this moment of clarity where I knew it was what I should be doing. So I quit my 9-5 and haven’t looked back since! Read more>>

Hector Quintero | Artist

In Pursue of the Arts I think an artistic career suits me because it allows me to express myself. I wouldn’t say that my pursue of the arts is a career since I hardly make any money from it, but I would say that it is a way of life. The most difficult part for me is making the transition from hobby to career. I don’t have any experience in marketing or promoting, so I’m going in blind when it comes to those avenues. I have tons of experience crafting songs, mostly my style of music. One other aspect of a creative career is the networking that is necessary in order for my work to reach a bigger audience. In fact, its one of the most communitarian careers there is. I enjoy learning and talking to others about their ideas and their art. That’s kinda where the magic is – in the dialogue. Read more>>

Alejandra Enciso-Dardashti | Bilingual Public Relations Consultant and now Bilingual Podcast Host!

I strongly believe that the arts have the power to create and influence change. A play, a song, an instrument, a painting…I can go on and on, has the power to shift perspective. I also believe sadly that the arts constantly need advocates to support and boost this message. I think the pandemic has proved how important the arts are. People are surviving thanks to shows, books, music, and even streaming theatre! It is powerful. More people need to believe it. Read more>>

Laura Micallef | Interior Designer

Ever since I can remember, I have had a passion for making things beautiful. I enrolled at SDSU for their interior design program. I graduated and then worked for a hospitality design firm in the Gaslamp District of downtown San Diego. This was great fun and the work experience was wonderful. I got married and my husband and I started a family. After some years of being a stay at home mom, I had the desire to go back to work but wanted to have a flexible schedule. I decided to take the leap of faith and start my own business, I wanted to work on my own terms. It was scary in the beginning as I had always worked for others but I had the desire to figure it out. Read more>>

Alex Nichols | Free Style Weaver

I pursued a creative career because I can express myself artistically better than I can by speaking. Read more>>

Maribel Herrera | Floral Designer

Art and creativity have always been my driving force. I feel that they are an extension of emotion, an emotion I enjoy having and giving to others like love. As early as I can remember I felt like color spoke to me. Colors allowed me to feel. I saw it and felt it in everything I did. I often compare color to movement and flow. Originally I was an art major and wanted my career path to be in teaching art. I am now a Floral Designer and often refer to myself as a Floral Artist. A creative career was always aligned in my stars I feel. Read more>>

Ale Ruiz Tostado | Painter

Art has always been a major part of my life, I don’t know what it’s like to not have it. Because of that, it’s hard for me to seperate it from myself and my career. It also feels unfair to myself to set artmaking in the backseat and have it just be a hobby, I’m way too connected to it for that. So when I had different people ask if I sold my work, I figured I have a chance at making this career. And with the help of so many, including close family and friends, that’s exactly what I’m doing! Read more>>

Luii Lope | Musician and Podcaster

First, it was hard to select a question for this! Although, if I had to choose a reason why I decided to pursue an artistic or creative career, it would narrow down to the simple reason that it’s something I’ve always found an interest in since I can remember, In one way or another it’s always been something I’ve been involved in more specifically in the music side of things. It’s started with Los Tigres Del Norte since it was one of my mom’s favorite Regional Mexican music. Around 5th, I started listening to Banda and I wanted to play the clarinet since Banda El Recodo’s main instrument was the clarinet. They didn’t have any left at school so I went with the bass clarinet. Around 7th grade, I was exposed to English music, and wow! It changed me! Read more>>

Naomi Smentkowski | Princess Performer & Piano Teacher

Creativity has always been intertwined throughout every aspect of my life. It is present in each step of my day to day routine, and at the forefront of my mind. The question was never truly “why did I pursue an artistic career” but more so “how do I pursue an artistic career” so that I could implant the ever-present creative thoughts into what I do for a living. It didn’t happen overnight, or even over a year. I went through many jobs (by “many”, I mean that at one point while I was in college, I was on 6 different payrolls!) and various types of job paths before I found my true calling. As a child, I used to put on singing and acting performances for my family, make costumes for my dolls, and transform old pieces of clothing into wearable, “fashionable” outfits. Read more>>

Chynna Cline | Vintage shop owner

My creativity has become a way for me to express myself in ways that are unique to me and my ideas. I’ve also come to find that my creativity is something that makes life so rich and fulfilling that pursuing a career in the creative field just makes sense! Read more>>

Krysta Randall | Artist

It was a very “happy accident” that gave me the opportunity to share my art. I was a passionate respiratory therapist working two full time jobs before going on temporary medical disability. I went from living, breathing and talking about all things respiratory to feeling completely lost without it. Painting soon became very therapeutic. It gave me a new found purpose. Read more>>

Tamayo Muto | Artist

I believe that I do my art throughout my life, but at the same time its form will be changing all the time. In my understanding, “art” is expressing. When I was a little child, I loved water painting and handcrafts. My teacher praised me and I already knew I was good at art. When I was in junior high school, I was committed to making Power Point at every presentation. I would even say it was my hobby. In high school, I got much interest in foreign culture, so I studied English a lot and tried to express myself in the form of speaking and writing. I decided to major in language and American culture in university, and during studying abroad in San Diego, I finally recognized myself as an artist. Read more>>

Nicole Roach | Author, teacher, yoga and mediation instructor

I consider being creative to be the expression of the soul. One can use, imagination through many art forms, when you have no words to explain your thoughts and feelings. It only seemed natural for me to find a pathway that inspires creativity. Read more>>

Keith Mintz | Life Coach & Spiritual Mentor

It wasn’t much to think nor was it the idea of starting a business, but more about building a vision I have to solve a problem I saw and was experiencing. Read more>>

Presley King | Fashion Designer

Ever since I was a little girl I leaned toward anything that was creative. I have always known I’d end up pursuing a career that had to do with something artistic because of who I am and what my interests were. Read more>>