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.

James Gordon Patterson | photographer and retired college professor

I couldn’t draw worth a darn. I got interested in digital photography in the early 2000’s. I was what is called an early adopter. I was forced to take a photojournalism class as part of my journalism major years ago. I say “forced” because I was a radio reporter, so why did I need a photo-j class? But digital meant NO CHEMICALS! I was already computer literate, so digital photography appealed to me. Then I had to learn how to be an artist. I’m still learning through webinars and books and organizations. Read more>>

Lilia Mata-Weimer | Balloon/Paper flower & Event Stylist

I have always had an admiration for art. How someone is able to have a vision and create something beautiful that inspires others. In college I took a wood and steel sculpture class and learned appreciation for a new medium of art I was not comfortable with. I have been fortunate to have friends that are artist that inspire me by what they have achieved and created. So when I had my daughter and came back to work after maternity leave, my position was eliminated and given a different role. I realized I was no longer happy and decided to become a stay at home mom. After a few years I started painting again, creating backdrops, paper flowers and eventually balloons which led me to where I am now. Read more>> 

Carrie Mayfield | Farmer and Creative

I pursued a creative life more than a creative career. I have always been a maker. Early on in marriage I tried to make a cozy home. I then moved to making life with kids more fun with creative birthdays, holidays, prom proposals. college dorm rooms and weddings. I created spaces in our home where people felt loved and cared for no matter how you ended up on my couch. I colored, I baked, I sewed, I glued, I hammered, I sawed, I took pictures and I created. Read more>>

Christa Lebron | Home baker

The reason as to why I have pursued an artistically inclined career is due to my love and passion for art since I was a child. I have always loved painting, drawing and simply getting my hands dirty, feeling the art through my fingers. With my artistic drive, I can truly express my feelings into every creative baking project I do, leaving my own signature mark. I have always loved desserts, and given my love for both desserts and art, I figured why not combine them together and make something unforgettable to share with others. Read more>>

Jillian Marini | Soap Maker & Public Defender

Maintaining balance has always been an important part of my life. Choosing a career as a lawyer has emphasized the need for balance. The artistic outlet, which I have converted into a small business, helps me to maintain balance and express my imagination and creativity when I can’t otherwise do so at my job. Before making soap, I never considered myself a creative or artistic person. I can’t draw if my life depended on it. But soap making helped me realize that I do have a creative instinct and has allowed me to express artistic ideas in a way that is fulfilling and centering. Read more>>

Jessica Bradley | Owner & Master Lash Artist of Vici Collective, Photographer

As my mom always said, I always had my hands in something creative as a child. My love for fashion and beauty photography started early on at the age of 13, where I would experiment with hair and makeup on friends to create looks. Living in a small town (8k people or so), fashion and beauty resources were limited, I started working in hair salon as a receptionist that gave me a little more access to experimentation with the photography I was drawn to. I went on to pursue a bachelors in Fine Arts Photography in a bigger city. I found myself photographing weddings, senior photos, and abstract ideas – this was not my passion and it showed. Throughout this, I fell out of love with photography and went on to do other retail and office work. This, however, did not feed my creative need as a professional, and eventually found myself back in the hair/beauty industry managing a salon spa. Read more>>

Terre Steed | Makeup Artist/Stylist

I chose to peruse an artistic career because I couldn’t have done anything else and been happy. I worked corporate jobs all through my 20’s and was depressed, unsuccessful,, and generally miserable. There are a lot of trade offs, but the benefits far outweigh the challenges. Read more>>