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.

Notable Exceptions Judy & Jennifer | musical storytellers and touring artists

Every career choice we’ve made, separately or collectively, has been creative and/or musical. It’s all we’ve ever known. We both grew up in musical families, and creativity was encouraged. Jennifer lives her life as a musical. She was a typical band geek in school, a bit shy, but always ready to take on anything that involved music. Her mom played violin for many years, and still sings in the church choir. Her dad is a barbershopper with a warm, rich bass voice; Jennifer internalized vocal harmony as a little girl with her head resting on his chest as he sang. Read more>>

Rachel Ivanyi | Contemporary Nature Artist, Illustrator, & Art Educator

Being a full-time creative person was not my original plan. I have had a love of animals, art and nature from a very early age. I figured art would be a hobby of mine, with my career in veterinary medicine. In college I pursued (and received) a Bachelor of Science in zoology, diving deep into all the branches of veterinary medicine. I narrowed down my interest to wildlife, and had a special love for birds of prey. Read more>>

Jade Myles | Photographer & Videographer

I chose to persue a creative career because photography is something I am very passionate about and good at. I figured if I spend most of my time capturing my own moments on camera, why not offer this service to the world? Being able to show someone what I see is a beautiful thing to me. I have been taking photos all my life, but finally decided to launch my personal photography business in the year of 2020 due to the death of my little sister, Melissa. Read more>>

Oaklee Thompson | Home & Soap Maker

Making soap is not only scientific, challenging, and technical but also fun, creative, and expressive. To be able to express myself in the products I make and watch people relate to them is very special and gratifying. When I am following my intuition with my combinations and recipes, there is a noticeable elevation to the final product. Some of my best soaps that ended up being fan favorites to this day were soaps that were inspired and created on a whim! This is only possible when there is enough room left for creativity and artistry to flow. Read more>>

Shakia Harris | Oil Painter & Special Education Teacher

I loved watching videos of artists painting, and felt like the process was almost magical. I didn’t consider myself to be naturally gifted, and painting seemed to be the most accessible medium to learn on my own. In 2018 I began painting seriously to cope with PTSD. Jan 2018 I was living alone when three men all armed with guns kicked in my back door, destroyed my home, and I was robbed at gunpoint. Read more>>

Kitty Catatonic | Burlesque Performer & Angle Grinding Artist

I was definitely inspired by Tucson’s diverse artists to create my business as a solo performance artist. I started burlesque about six years ago under the mentorship of Lola Torch and I quickly fell for Tucson’s art community. The friends I made, the self expression… Ahh! There is so much talent and so much inspiration! I’ve always had a love for performing, and this community not only supported me, but encouraged me to discover my art. Read more>>

James Jenkins | Polymer clay artist

I grew up with the idea it was hard to make it as an artist. Artist was not a job title or career path that was recommended to me when I was young. I went and got a degree in management thinking that would be my ticket to making a living. Ive worked as a soldier in the Army, in restaurants, gyms, call centers, cabinet shops as well as doing side crafts like wood turning and furniture building for fun. In my 30’s I was terminated from a job in management. At the unemployment office an interest/aptitude test was administered and it recommended artist or actor. I figured if I did my own thing it would be mine and couldn’t possibly be wrong. Read more>>