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.

Harold Nelson | Fine Arts Artist/Art Instructor

In many ways, it found me from an early age. I’ve held many different jobs, but I was always lead back to my artistic interests. Read more>>

Memar Blakelee | Singer

I chose to pursue and artistic/creative career because that is how I best express myself. My artistic/creative outlet is music. Music to me is something that can be so versatile and accommodating to anyone. Read more>>

Nolan Flynn | High School Teacher and Artist

Growing up I was introduced to art at a young age like most of us are, with whatever accessible art supplies were present amongst the house. From crayons to tempera paint, pastels, and colored paper I had at the ready an abundance of supplies thanks to my mother. Being a middle school teacher she was always prepping projects, lesson plans, and collecting art supplies. Despite both my parents being educators and wonderful parents and human beings, I wasn’t the best at applying myself. I was never one to finish homework or pay attention in class. Doodling and sketching on print outs and dreaming off while reading was the norm. I wasn’t a complete slacker and did work hard on jobs, and objectives I at the time deemed fit. Working a variety of jobs through highschool in preparation for college I knew I didn’t want to. be in the service or labor department. I was fortunate enough to get a scholarship for undergrad art at Western Michigan University. I initially didn’t plan on it but found myself falling into the path of least resistance. Read more>>

Mandy Boyles | Oddities Artist

From a young age, I had a curious affinity twards art and creativity. When I was in the second grade, my mom got a call from my teacher about a picture that I drew during my free time in class. My mom was mortified thinking it was something awful. The next day after class my mom and teacher sat down and my mom braced herself for “the awful” but to her surprise, my teacher said, “Are you aware of how talented your daughter is?” She pulled out the picture I drew and it was an extremely detailed scene from the movie, The Little Mermaid. My teacher suggested that my mom foster my artistic talent as much as possible and she did to the best of her abilities. As I got older life became more complicated. I was diagnosed with learning disabilities and I struggled to keep up academically. I often felt unintelligent because I was different from my peers. My home life was rough and I had to grow up quickly. Being a shy girl who never quite felt like I fit in, creativity allowed me to be my true authentic self. Read more>>

Planet Danger | Artist

I started so young that a professional intention was never behind anything I did. As cliché as it is, it’s just something I was born to do. Creativity is one of those channels that flows so easily for me in so many different ways. I’ve experimented with drawing, painting, photography, animation, music, etc. ever since I was a child. I remember making stop motion videos for school projects, or creating clothing out of candy wrappers. Once I vandalized my entire town out of my newfound love for spray painting. It’s against my will, and sometimes it gets me in trouble. I pursue art because I feel in my bones that it’s my path in life. It’s my passion, and something I’ve spent most of my life doing (with whatever form it takes). It took a long time for me to realize that, too. My brain can literally only operate at it’s maximum in this weird art thing I have going on. Even my life story is so stupid dramatic and somewhat tragic, and that in itself creates a cacophony of art… naturally. Self expression is just my thing at this point. Plus, I just love doing it so much. I wouldn’t want to do anything else. Read more>>

Heather Leigh | Makeup Artist

My love for art has blossomed throughout the years. In high school I filled my classes with ceramics, drawing, painting, & theory classes of all kinds! In college I minored in art. I then decided to change courses and pursue a nursing career. I love helping people! Several years later I decided to pick art back up again, this time in the form of makeup artistry. I trained at Kensington Makeup Academy out of Scottsdale, AZ and received a makeup certification. Since then I’ve done several makeup classes, weddings, events, shoots & one on one lessons fulfilling my love for art and helping others. This creative career outlet has been, and continues to be extremely rewarding. Read more>>