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.

Anthony Frazer | Artist | Singer, Songwriter, Producer, Entertainer, Director & Actor

I pursued the career of a musician / artist because this is something I was born to do. I have known from the very young age of 2 that music was in my blood and that it fueled my creative expression. I started to hone my craft early on because because of the business it self. The music industry is very hard to get in to and to achieve the level of success that I aim to reach you must be an artist of many talents. I first started in dance classes at 2 years old, added vocal classes at 5 and acting at 8. I knew that being well versed in this industry was key and I was setting the bar high. It has been a long journey and one that would test 99% of the people that went for this career. You have to stay focused and determined. You have to have the drive and will power to push you past the negative times or times when things aren’t going your way or when things aren’t moving at all. You have to believe in yourself and just block the noise and keep pushing. Read more>>

Jeff Brack | Filmmaker

When you have creative tendencies, there’s nothing more satisfying than using those parts of you on a daily basis. When I first started college, I had come from growing up in small mining towns, and getting an engineering degree was the sensible choice. However, after three years of study, it became clear to me that storytelling was what I wanted to be doing. I come from a family of storytellers, whether it’s at the dinner table or holding court at the camp fire – all of us love telling a great story. Cinema is our ultimate form of storytelling. I switched to a film degree and never looked back. Read more>>

Missy White | Photographer

My name is messy white the owner of Pure Precious Photography LLC in Arizona. Photography has always been a huge Passion of mine, all throughout high school I took photography classes and i took my camera everywhere with me. I took pictures everywhere I went, of everyone and everything. I loved capturing the memories. Even in college I continued my education in photography taking a few classes here and there. When I was pregnant with my daughter in 2017 my husband got my a DSLR Nikon camera to practice and learn as a hobby. From then on I took off, learning and absorbing all I could from every creative I knew in the photography field. I was luck to have friends that became mentors and helped me practice and grow to be a better photographer. @byraephotography has been a wonderful friend and mentor over the years, not to mention an amazing creative herself. @johonaaei is an ASU photography major that was a great help to me, teaching me how to get better as a creative with my photography even with his busy schedule, he still took the time to help me develop. Read more>>

Fernanda Velasquez | Fashion & Creative Writing

To pursue a creative and artistic career has been a way of expression in a world where finding the right words at the right time is almost impossible. I have always had difficulty expressing my emotions and who I am through words alone which is why I went for an artistic and creative career, despite the warning signs. Because physically bringing your reality to others is difficult but not impossible. Fashion is my key to saying what I feel, who I am, where I stand, and where I am going without saying it but showing it. Depending on the mood or idea I am going for the mixture of textures, colors, fabrics, even stitches transmit something. Pursuing a creative career has opened the door to expression with different materials allowing me to make my mark in this world. Read more>>

Andrea Merican | Artist

I didn’t choose art. It chose me. I started drawing when I was 3 years old. All through my school years, whenever someone asked me the classic childhood question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I always answered, “An Artist”. I took every available art class through public school and after graduation, I was accepted into the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in Denver, CO. Although I was unable to complete my degree there, I moved back home to Arizona and took every art class I could through community colleges, some at ASU and eventually the Scottsdale Artists School. My art career has not been linear by any means. I have started and stopped and worked other jobs continually all while pursuing my dream. I have wanted to quit too many times to count, but there is something inside of me, that is called to pursue art as a career. I believe this is a God given gift and it is my strong desire to fulfill my purpose by creating art. Read more>>

Diane Bombshelter | Artist & Yoga Instructor

I have always been a creative-type, but I was encouraged to pursue a more academic & secure career. When I chose to go to college, I studied Electrical Engineering. I made it through two & a half years when I realized this was not the career for me. In 2004, I took a drawing class & it lit me up! I took more art classes & it became clear this was my path. At the time, I was working as an Administrative Assistant for a Financial Planner. Not a lot of opportunity to express my artistic side there. I found it difficult to switch gears from working in an office during the day to creating art in my spare time. I was lucky enough that I had the means to quit my day-job & fully dedicate my time to my art. Read more>>

Nick Rascona | Visual Artist

Art has always drawn me in. The pull of the creative process, the infinite possibilities for experimentation and the space for expression has gripped my attention for years. Making art has become my focus; shaping the way I see, and the way I think. I’d say my pursuit of a career as an artist is a response to this focus- I want to spend all of my time making art- so that’s what I’m working towards. Read more>>

Matthew Roberts | Dancer & Choreographer

I discovered dancing at an early age and although I enjoyed the physicality often paired with elements of sound or music, I was truly entranced by its expressive, storytelling nature. I grew up with a love of reading and wonder for stories, dance reminded me of the feeling of momentarily breaking from reality to going on an adventure. It was like learning another language, and the more fluent and knowledgeable I became, the more I could enjoy movement and appreciate the craftsmanship of a dance. Read more>>

Trevor O’Tool | Artist

As a public artist, it is the creation of site-specific artwork for each project that I find the most compelling. My focus lies on accurately harboring the message sought by each committee and translating that into art. My high level of empathy has been most useful in really grasping both the macro and micro artistic elements of the message that individual groups wish to transmit. I am a firm believer that art is a community need. In the same way that people need smooth roads, public art is needed to enhance the daily lives of people by enriching their environment. Each of my completed projects has served to further my goal of improving my artwork, enriching the field that I love, and pushing the boundaries of my abilities. Most importantly, however, it has allowed me to communicate, through my art, in a manner that seeks understanding. Read more>>

Gloria Chrisanty | Student, Designer

There’s a whole backstory to how I became interested in industrial design, but what I usually tell people when they ask me why this career path, I say I want help people. The responses I get every time I bring up what I’m studying are always a mixed bag, but people are especially confused as to how a “creative career” could help people. The stigma around pursuing creative careers is part of the reason I’ve become so passionate in the work I do. Industrial design (ID) is multidisciplinary; it involves art, engineering/technology, business/marketing, graphic design, and whatever science or social science you want to attach to it. ID requires a somewhat-deep understanding of the human condition so that you can create a product around that knowledge or experience. The thing that intrigues me the most about ID is that not a lot of people know about it, despite the fact that everyone interacting with anything man-made everyday of their lives is interacting with some form of design. I guess my more honest answer to the question would be that pursuing design allows me to work through my trauma in a productive way. Read more>>

Rob The Heart | Artist, Producer, Engineer

Its all I know. As a kid, I learned things from experience, and having my hands on something rather than just reading it in a book. I never did extremely well in school, and eventually had to drop out of college. Making music, writing songs, being creative, helping others be creative is like an in-born second language to me. From an early age, it was sort of something I couldn’t avoid. I knew I could never work a regular 9-5, or in a cubicle because I just don’t have that personality type for it, and I was lucky that my family supported the sort unconventional path I wanted to take. By the age of 16 I had joined a band of members that were older than me and I was touring in vans up and down the east coast. Read more>>

Sandra Cavallo Miller | Author

I feel incredibly fortunate to pursue this new endeavor after retirement from medicine, too busy to write novels sooner. But because my path to medicine was so unorthodox, with undergraduate degrees in creative writing and anthropology, I wanted to try. Little fiction is written about women physicians outside of crime scene stories. There’s also minimal fiction about family medicine, and only a few novels are placed at the Grand Canyon. So my quest has been to tackle all that. I love to write: creating personalities, honing a plot, finding just the right words to describe the night sky. The daunting task of depicting the Grand Canyon and weaving a story around and through it. Making readers want to turn the next page. Read more>>

Alexandra Berger Clamons | Stained Glass Artist

I have worked in the arts since graduating from college in 2004. I earned a double degree in Studio Art and Environmental Studies and sought to meld the two in all aspects of my life. My career path has had several twists and turns that led me to become an entrepreneur and artist. Upon moving to Tucson in 2005, I worked for a non-profit arts organization that I loved but felt that the medium we used there was very wasteful. Having been brought up in a heavily eco-minded home, I knew I needed to do work that had a smaller carbon footprint and a larger positive impact on the natural world. I decided to leave the arts and move to the Environmental sector. There I worked in Development and raised funds to protect imperiled animals and their habitats. Still, I felt very removed from the actual work itself. I left that job to pursue a deep rooted desire to do things my way – to combine my dual passions and have a positive influence on the world while also expressing my creative vision. I have been a self employed stained glass artist since 2015. Read more>>

Allison Moyers | Contemporary Artist

My career as an artist is both a choice and a calling. I am an artist no matter what I am doing, where I’m working, or what I have to sacrifice for it. A desire to create has always been an integral part of who I am, making a career in the arts an inevitable step in my journey. Whether you work full-time as an artist or have to create on the side, I think for those who have the desire, there is no choice but to continue on that path. Read more>>

Kelley Dillon | Designer and Artist

I decided to pursue a creative career because of the versatility and freedom. There is so much that you can do as an artist and designer, making every day is different, new and exciting. There’s no limit to what you can create! I never know what kind of exciting ideas I’ll find myself working on next. I love that creative entrepreneurship is so dynamic like that. I get to bring these abstract, unique ideas to life whether it’s a brand, product or art. It’s incredibly rewarding. Read more>>

Emily Burks | Photographer, Writer, & Musician

When I was younger, photography was a way for me to show those around me a perspective that only I could see and failed to know how to express otherwise. As I grew older, I was mesmerized by the magical ability of the camera and my own creativity to develop and construct feelings, other worlds, and points of view that otherwise might be overlooked or hidden to the eye. It became something similar to exploring the world of a novel with my imagination; yet I was the author and my camera the pen, and I could create whatever I could dream up. I was also incredibly passionate about capturing all my favorite people and moments so that I could hold on to them forever, even when my memory fails me. Not only the power of imagination, but also the strong love of my family, friends, and all the things and memories I cared about were intensely motivating in my desire to capture precious moments and timeless feelings. Read more>>

Carol Test | Writer & Editor

“The creative adult is the child who survived,” said author Ursula K. Le Guin. This truth has been a guiding light for my artistic evolution.. As a writer, I’m obsessed with how artifacts, images, and language hoarded in family systems reveal—and hold the potential to heal—generational trauma. A Complex-PTSD survivor and young adult cancer thriver, I see how it’s vital not only to reflect lived experience when trauma-writing, enabling readers to empathize, but also to recognize that within the *telling* of any story lies the key to unlocking mechanisms by which people survive. This work feels more necessary now than ever, as the world undergoes traumatic shifts. After studying with multi-genre authors these last few years, I grew inspired to take the leap from fiction writing into hybrid forms. My current project, NATURAL DISASTER, is a lyric memoir as collage—comprising everything from poems and epigenetic studies to board games and redactions of insurance claims. But beyond my own work, I’ve grown increasingly passionate about sharing expertise with others. Read more>>