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.

Jennifer Cazares | Photographer and Entrepreneur

Growing up, when my grandpa would visit from Mexico, he would always pack a stack of photos and a disposable film camera. He would take so many candid pictures of our family here in the states and then, he would develop the film so that he could show his experiences to our family back in Mexico. Before social media, this was how our family was able to stay connected even from miles apart. With each yearly visit, my grandpa would show me photos of my families’s milestones from Mexico such as an aunt getting married, a new baby cousin, or even a dog that they adopted. This inspired me to learn photography from the inside out! Read more>>

Simeon Nathanael Davis | Composer, Bandleader, & Multi-Instrumentalist

Simply put, I truly couldn’t imagine doing anything else and being satisfied. I started learning music at age 5 after I heard a folk violinist perform, and my desire to understand, to make, and to be a part of whatever that was I’d experienced when listening to that performance was insatiable. By the time I was in high school, I’d competed nationally in South Africa through a variety of competitions on a few different instruments and repeatedly placed or won. That was exciting, but in a lot of ways, simply learning and repeating music didn’t quite do it for me; I wanted to make something. Read more>>

joe villatoro | JVTORO | ARTIST

Well, first of all having the option to choose a career as an artist is pretty awesome in itself. I love what I do, it’s therapeutic for me, and seeing my clients’ reactions when they get their commissioned art piece or purchased personal artwork from me makes it all worthwhile for me. Plus, getting paid for what you love to do, you can’t beat that! Read more>>

Estephanie (Aka: Fany) Cano-Baum | Henna, Braids, Baker, Bling and Custom artist

Growing up I was always surrounded by artistic women in my own family. My grandmother and Aunt in Mexico paint, and still do to this day. My other aunts were very creative too, with makeup, and drawing. Then there’s my mom, she started her own business doing baked goods like cakes and cupcakes. So with that, I had the foundation to pursue artistic talents, however, pens and paint were not my friends, so I took to other art mediums. Read more>>

Haleigh Walker | Hair color specialist

I chose to be in a creative field because I couldn’t picture myself in a normal 9-5 office job. I like the fast paced environment of a salon, and each day is completely different. It’s nice (sometimes taxing, ha) to spend a few hours with someone while you do their hair, and hear their take on life. I joke It’s like going to life college, every day I make Someone feel good about their appearance while I get a different perspective on life, advice or just listening to their story. Read more>>

Kari Heyne | Starwood Custom Interiors | Contractor for Custom Carpentry and Art

My pursuit of a creative career has been an ongoing process. Like many women I had not worked full time since I had begun to have children. I did continue to freelance but only here and there. As my circumstances changed and I began needing full time employment again I initially I began my company, Starwood Custom Interiors, to simply put food on the table while being an accessible single parent to my children needs and not locked into a poorly paid entry level job. To fill my schedule in the beginning there were a lot of homes that I simply painted walls. Read more>>

Keith Steinbaum | Retired landscape professional and author of two award winning novels.

A personal, life-changing event occurred in my mid teens that transformed me into a creative writer, and although I paid the bills through a long career in the landscape industry, in my heart I’ve always considered myself a creative writer first and foremost. It took years of piecing together reasons for occasional bouts of sadness and esteem issues to finally understand the fact that I needed to answer that calling and to do something about it. Read more>>