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.

Joshua Strickland | Lead Singer of The Bayou Bandits, Registered Nurse, Army Veteran

I chose to pursue singing due to the ability to be free. When I say free, I mean it in this way. On a daily basis, we as humans tend to compartmentalize a lot of things that are good and bad. For instance, a person might be struggling with whatever internal demons they have whether it be work or family, so they find an outlet that makes them feel a sense of peace and freedom to escape the reality of their situations. For me, that escape and freedom is music. When our music has been reviewed, folks have said that the sincerity and raw emotion that I sing with makes people feel what I am saying. The reason for that is because for one, I believe in what I am singing about and number two, it is my escape and my moment to belt out my emotions and have a sense of freedom. Read more>>

Marc-Anthony Polizzi | Sculptor

I consider myself a habitual maker. Someone who if left alone for long enough will unconsciously begin to adjust my surroundings. Idle hands will lead to hours of manipulating whatever materials are within reach. Over time I have developed a talent for figuring out spacial relations and constructing things that connect with people. However, this by itself doesn’t build a career. Especially in the arts. The arts demand more than the ability to simply make; It demands thought. I chose a career in the arts because it married my talent for making with the pursuit of knowledge. Every moment in the studio is an exploration of an idea, a new discovery waiting to be made. Each sculpture is a reminder of where I was, and an arrow pointing to where I will be. Read more>>

Natalie Hoopes | Picture Book Illustrator and Writer

I’ve always loved being able to verbalize my feelings through words or images. I’m a very shy person and I feel like I’ve always struggled to present my thoughts and feelings in a cohesive manner when face-to-face with someone. Painting and writing have been a great safety valve when I feel too socially or emotionally overwhelmed (which is, admittedly, quite often). I also honestly don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t create something in some way or another. Lately, painting with gouache has become such an essential part of my life and sanity. I don’t know how I’d function without it. Read more>>

Paige Drysdale | Photographer, Model, Creative Director, & Fitness Advocate

I was quite young when I decided I wanted to have an artistic/creative career. As soon as our teachers at school asked us “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, my answers always involved being a writer, photographer, explorer, or actress. All my life I have been mostly surrounded by the creative arts. I began dancing (ballet, contemporary modern, hip hop, etc.) when I was very young, moved into vocal lessons to begin singing when I was a teenager, started modeling & acting classes, then decided to continue to study filmmaking when I was in college. Since then I have worked with a few agencies, production companies, and other creative businesses that have helped me develop my network within the entertainment realm. It was not an easy process and took a lot of courage to conquer insecurities that I had to face. What really helped me along the way was also diving into the fitness community to better my health both mentally and physically. Read more>>

Martin Krafft | Videographer, Social Practitioner, Artist

A year or so after I graduated from college, I was going for a walk with my old photography professor. I was showing him some photos that I had made. During our walk, he made a comment about art that has stuck with me and guided my career choices. He said, “No one is going to understand your decision to make art. No one is going to expect you to do it, or even encourage you to do it. It’s not understood as a viable career path. So if you’re going to do it, you do it because you have to do it. And you’re the only one who can convince yourself to do it.” Since then, I have become increasingly committed to living a life of art. That comes with financial sacrifices, particularly since the art I make is not commercially viable. I have had to take another job outside the art field that pays me enough to live on and still gives me time to make art. But my most important commitment is to making art. Read more>>