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.

Emily Stovall | Costume Designer & Fine Artist

From a young age I have searched for a creative outlet. I was always drawing, writing stories/creating my own worlds, and playing dress up. As I grew up fashion became my main focus, I was going to be a fashion designer because I wanted to make people feel and look as wonderful as possible. When I got to junior high I was cast in my first play and my love for theatre was born. The ability to tell stories that mattered and the once in a lifetime shared experience hooked me immediately. I had a wonderful theatre teacher who encouraged my interested in acting as well as the other elements of theatre. Which is how I was introduced to costume design. Through costume designing I was able to not only make the actor feel great in what they were wearing, but I was also able to communicate/tell a story through the costume. Theatre has combined my passions for drawing, designing clothes, and telling stories that need to be heard. And through high school and into college I realized I needed a job that not only provided an income but also provided fulfillment for my many interests and need to tell stories. Read more>>

Irina Day | Permanent Makeup Artist

My story started in my teens years. I always paid close attention to people appearance, facial features and has a great eye for makeup or hair due to suggest and help to complement my friends and family. Some how, they liked it and very often I was a go girl for an advice…for beauty or beauty products. Growing in Russia the standards were high to look good and beautiful but there was no really carrier advancement in beauty field that time. So I graduated from University with an accounting degree. When I came to America, I started with banking, then insurance field, and since I was on my new chapter of life I asked my self what I would love to do I never done. It took me to cosmetic and skincare, medical esthetics for 15 years. I was fortunate to work for Dior, Chanel, Guerlain…..and for many more amazing companies, working with lots of makeup applications. I saw lots of faces and I came to realize that lots of people have a hard time to apply makeup on their own. Read more>>

Dior Cox | BadA Mom & Tshirt Upcycle Artist

I have been creative since I could remember! It’s been my outlet. My way to express myself. After becoming a mom it has helped me find myself again. I love to be different, stand out and inspire others. Read more>>

Laurie Nessel | Glass Artist

I pursued a career in art because that is all I ever wanted to do. I was nurtured by two superb high school art teachers and after-school classes at the municipal arts center. When I was 15 my parents shipped me off to Hinckley School of Crafts in Maine for a photography workshop where I spent most of my time watching the activities in the hotshop. The next year, I went to Haystack, Maine for glassblowing, then to University of Wisconsin-River Falls where I received a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in glass and fibers. After two decades of making decorative window art for the burgeoning Phoenix housing market of the 1980s and 1990s, I transitioned to an equally longterm career as lead instructor of the glass studio at Mesa Arts Center. But my artistic career really started to flourish after I left teaching in mid-2019. Read more>>

Jennifer Chriss | Makeup Artist and Esthetician

I chose this path because it fits who I am. I am to my core an artistic, creative person. It’s a part of everything I do, whether it’s creating my suite space from the white walls up, or picking an outfit for a night out, or even decorating for a holiday. And honestly, it’s one of the easiest paths I’ve ever been down. I’ve had many jobs in my life that I would describe as 9-5 white wall, cubicle type jobs, picture…”Office Space”, but none of them ever felt quite like me. I do appreciate these experiences, however, because without them I wouldn’t be where I am today. As scary as it is some days to be out on my own, doing and creating my own non-white wall, non-cubicle world, every minute of fear has been worth it because my job never feels like work, it always feels like a gift. Read more>>

Aaron Coleman | Artist and Professor

Art has a way of offering people an opportunity to experience something they otherwise may have never experienced. As an artist I find myself a member of a community of creative humans who research and make work about an extremely wide range of topics and ideas. Some are focused on the sociopolitical i.e. gender, race, religion, government while others explore identity, personal experience, love, and memory etc. Others move between multiple ideas and concepts. I think this wide range makes art accessible to almost anyone. The work I make is meant to open conversations regarding difficult topics. I find that when people view my work they are moved in a way that may not happen in a general conversation. In a way, they get to have an intimate experience with my work and learn about who I am without me being present. They don’t hear my voice or tone…They just see bits and pieces of who I am through my work. Some people connect to the personal experiences I talk about and others make decisions as to wether or not they agree with my political opinions. Read more>>

Anickan | Recording Artist & Director

I believe it’s just how I’m wired. When I look around I see that there’s art in everything, and growing up in my developmental stages it seemed to be the only thing my eyes and ears fixated on. I was a terrible student in school, anything too structured or guided just went completely against my nature, I was a draw outside the lines kid. I constantly rebelled, I was seemingly spaced out and bored all the time and you could ell it worried my m om a lot but it also forced her to tart trying alternatives to better grasp what was going on with me. I did everything, art & crafts, karate, sports, dance classes, band classes, acting classes, media classes you name it, I did it! and it was clear those were the things that held my attention and seemingly put some life in my eyes. I was simply born to create, its like my oxygen and I couldn’t imagine my life any other way. Read more>>

Chelsea Rose Neiss | Dance Teaching and Performing Artist.

Creativity sparks joy, curiosity, and purpose in my life. I believe I didn’t have.a choice. Having a creative career is something I have been manifesting, and drawn to, my entire life. Art is our creative skill, emotion, and imagination, and so art is created every day. How I approached projects as a child in school to any mundane task I do now day-to-day has a sense of artistry. Because art comes very much from human expression, it is a clear way for me to communicate and share experiences with others through teaching, dancing and other art forms. Read more>>

Mari Johnson | Freelance Makeup Artist and Clinical Research Coordinator

The reason I pursued an artistic outlet was due to be shy and feeling like I had no having a voice growing up. It’s hard for the world to ignore you when you’re creating loud and out there work. The creative side of me is bold, loud and isn’t quiet nor shy. When that side of me comes out there is no stopping her. She says what I always was afraid to say, does what I was afraid to do and has taught me that actions speak louder than words anyways. Creativity is me and I am creativity. The beauty of art is saying what you want without having to find the words to say it because it speaks for its self. Read more>>