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.

Hannah Blair Akins | Filmmaker & Multimedia Artist

I have always understood art to be something, if not the only thing, that held innate and substantial meaning, in the same way that many understand religion. My pencil became a cherished and intimate friend when I realized it was a channel between the mind and the physical reality – the eternal soul and the body – between which laid a gap I desperately wished to bridge. I’ve finally found that, for me, to be an artist is to be a dying, languageless infant, having been alive for just long enough to know what she’d be missing when she left, grasping for the words and the physical ability to say “thank you,” “I love you,” and “goodbye.” Art, for me, is the practice of radical acceptance and celebration of every part of life in its entirety; a celebration of life itself. Having chosen an artistic life path is my way of thanking the universe, my loved ones, and humanity by way of living intentionally, trying to appreciate and learn from each moment, and constructing as best I can some kind of visceral but tangible, creations as an attempt to express the inarticulable love and fear and awe of life. Read more>>

Erin Kong | Cultural Worker

Above all, I have a deep love for storytelling and community. I am deeply interested in art and work that is rooted in the material world, and is a reflection of conditions. I think creating art for art’s sake is not enough. Rather, as I’ve grown as a cultural worker, I am urgently learning to be more intentional and responsible with how and what I create. It’s strange for me to solely define myself by the work I make, and to think of cultural work as a “career”. I pursue cultural work because it grounds me in the people I love and their stories. Everything is so much bigger than me–everything is defined by everything, and the brilliance of cultural work allows those meanings to always continue expanding. Read more>>

Michelle Sasonov | Traveling Boutique Owner, Jeweler, Photographer, Stylist, Model

As a daughter of Soviet immigrants, I wasn’t raised to take risks. No “Follow your dreams” as is the culture here. Obtaining the secure, well-paying job was the objective. I was told I was going to become a doctor in the second grade and thus, began my career path. I was an obedient, smart girl but my creativity, and desire to be something great, had other plans. As well as coupled with executive dysfunction, I had to finally put my foot down. I had held off from doing for so long because I was an obedient daughter and was letting them down. The last year of high school I took a career placement quiz that suggested I look into pursuing the business field. That definitely made more sense to me- I couldn’t memorize thousands of anatomy terminology and the only connection I felt to the medical field was my desire to help others. With a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from W. B. Carey under my belt I created my jewelry business Eternal Noir. It’s here I can pursue being creative and be the hard-working, independent woman I was raised to be. Read more>>

Yvette Sandoval | Hairstylist/Balayage Specialist

Creativity started at a very young age for me. I was about six years old when I gave my neighbor a haircut,. Let’s just say his Mom had to take him to the barber shop to fix it! I was born and raised in a very small copper mining town with not a whole lot to do. I was a dreamer, and I always knew I wanted to either be a singer or beautician. I was always trying different things with my hair. I would copy looks from Teen Magazine and Cosmopolitan. I hated school and I struggled academically, but there was one area I excelled, music and the arts! I became a licensed cosmetologist in 2004 Honestly I was awful at cutting and coloring back then. I lacked a lot of confidence. In 2016 I had teenagers and was craving a career of my own, so I found a really great mentor and she trained me for 16 months. I relearned everything and started from scratch. The training was rigorous, and at times I wanted to give up, but that little voice inside me wouldn’t let me. My mentor had very high standards and every head of hair had to look spectacular and seamless. Read more>>

Seth Fairweather | Glassblower/Sculptor

I started out with every intention of a medical path. I spent my high school years pursuing science and taking college level science electives. When I actually got to college, I found myself feeling a bit lost. I had an art requirement to fulfill, and the school had a glassblowing program. I enrolled because it sounded interesting and I had always been a bit of a firebug. I was hooked the first time I pulled glass out of a furnace. It changed the entire direction of my life. I turned away from science and medicine and transferred to an art school known for their glass program. In the many lean years after that decision, I would sometimes wonder if it was the right choice. Ultimately though, it was clear that despite having to struggle at times, this was the only path that could really give me the sense of completion and happiness that I enjoy. Read more>>

Dawn Pratt | Artist and Husbands Personal Assistant

Being artistic or creative has always been very meditative for me. I feel most myself, most at ease and able to relax and enjoy the flow. Life can be quick and hectic and stressful, art helps release all of that. Read more>>

Heidi Abrahamson | Artist

After over 20 years working in Visual Merchandising in fashion, my spine was wrecked. I had to do something else. I had collected and loved jewelry all my life, thanks to my parents who were antique dealers. I couldn’t afford to buy the pieces I truly loved….I had to figure out a way to make them myself. Read more>>