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.

Allester Vinteers | Visual Artist

My earliest memory is of me at 3 years old coloring in a circle with a scarlet crayon. I’ve always had an affinity for creating art ever since I was little, drawing on anything I could get my hands on from the back of discarded cardboard boxes to my classmates’ papers when our teacher would have us grade them. I also didn’t know English when I began attending school in the United States, so my English teacher would let me illustrate my assignments. At the age of 9 I would often ponder what I wanted to do with my life. It was always between someone who cared for animals or an artist. I convinced myself that the only life worth living would be a difficult one to achieve and also a magical one. That life would be one of an artist. Approximately 3 million years ago, a distant ancestor of ours discovered a jasperite pebble which resembled their face near a body of water. They carried this pebble all the way back to they cave and kept it with them until death. This object is now considered the 1st Artwork. Art is something primordial, intrinsic, and at the very fiber of who we are as human beings. Read more>>

Marcy Grace | Texas Country Artist

Sounds cliche, but honestly I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else. Music has been a part of my entire life and I knew that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Sure it’s not an easy path, but it’s completely worth it when someone tells you that your song or performance changed their life or made a huge impact. That’s the most rewarding thing of all. I think a lot of people think the arts are meant to be selfish or only represent the artist. Yes it’s for me, but it’s also for everyone else out there. I write and play music because I enjoy it, but I share it and perform it because I want others to enjoy it too. Music can really bring a lot of people together. Read more>>

Bailey Turfitt | Makeup Artist and Creative Design

I pursued an artistic career at a young age, starting as a makeup artist for DSMA (Dallas Summer Musical Academy) and for Highland Park Middle School productions, mainly for community service hours and experience. Doing stage makeup and costume design eventually evolved into doing photoshoots in college with friends that involved more complicated concepts and props and even got to the point where I was given incredible opportunities. I did makeup for a promotion shoot for Sweet Tooth Hotel, as well for a few of their parties. I also have been featured in a RAW Artist show and published in UNT’s Over Magazine. This was the point where it became a career of passion. I chose an artistic career because it allowed me to express my emotions in a medium that can be interpreted by others. It also was an effective way to communicate for me, as I am deaf. It seems to be the clearest form of communication for me, despite there being ASL or lipreading, and was just as beautiful. Read more>>

Andrew Williams | Photographer

Documentary photographers are naturally curious. They want to explore the world around them and have a need to record what they were intrigued by. The records can range in various forms, whether it be emotion, colors, scenes, portraits, or landscapes. For me, these forms represent a spectrum of social and environmental issues. I believe that a photograph tells us something important about our world and allows us to think about the world in a new way by holding up a mirror to society. This genre of photography holds more potential than the misfortunes of the world. A passionate photographer can simultaneously show evidence of faraway places and the spontaneity of nature. I pursued a path in photography because of its broad application. My focus has changed over the last 10 years but it all started with documenting nature. From there it moved to journalism and soon converted to a fine art background where planning and sketching became the main focus. Primarily working with film, it moved to the darkroom and to small portrait and landscape projects. Read more>>

Brandon Magnus | Photographer

I always enjoyed photography but never thought I could pursue it as a career. I went to college (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo) a majored in Environmental Management and Minored in Business and planned on becoming an Environmental Lawyer. I loved my time at Cal Poly and learned so much, but I also realized that becoming an Environmental Lawyer wasn’t what I wanted to do anymore. I had no idea what I wanted to once I graduated, but in that final year of college I picked up my camera again and reignited my passion for photography. I realized photography was something I truly loved doing and I wanted to find some way to make it my career. I was connected with a sports photographer in San Diego (Donald Miralle), and he offered me the opportunity to work under him and learn the craft. So a week after graduation I packed my truck, moved down to San Diego, started my photography career, and it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Read more>>

Jaycie Skidmore | Professional Musician and Private Music Instructor

I grew up in a musical family and loved music from a very young age. Just after my junior year of high school, I decided to pursue a degree in music education. After I graduated, I didn’t feel lead to teaching in the public school since I had planned on pursuing graduate work so I started teaching private flute lessons with a local school district full-time. I always loved teaching and working with kids but I really didn’t count on loving it as much as I did. I have a special place in my heart for middle school-aged kids and I don’t think I would have found that if it hadn’t been for that time teaching privately. After eight years of teaching high school and middle school flute students, I switched to teaching early childhood music through East Dallas Children’s Music and love that even more! Who wouldn’t love getting to pretend to be different animals, play games, and make music with wonderful small humans all day? I’m extremely grateful for the opportunities I’ve had and the ability to actually make a living doing something I love. That’s an extremely rare and wonderful blessing and I’m beyond thankful for it every, single day. Read more>>

Andria.Lakee | Vocalist, Musician

It’s always been something that was naturally in me; by that I mean, the music has always been naturally in me . I’ve tried more than once to run away from music & what I’ve been called to do, out of fear & doubt, the overall debilitating feeling failure . I was a pattern of thinking I was becoming comfortable with but I’ve realized on this journey that, what is truly for me, will be only for me. & that something is music, it is my artistry. The reason I’ve chosen to pursue a career in music, is it’s something I love, loved, & continue to explore & learn about. I truly couldn’t imagine doing anything else with my time or my life lol This is a career I’ve been striving for & chasing after for years & lil by lil I get reassurance that this is what I’m supposed to do. So why I chosen to to be a musician, an artist ? This is what I was meant to do. This is what I love to do. Read more>>

Julian Bennett | Music Artist & Creative

For me it’s always been about expressing myself. I feel like everyone expresses their creativity in one way or another. Growing up, I never really found an outlet where I was able to do that. It wasn’t until my later years in high school when I realized that I had a gift for writing lyrics. I’ve always been a good writer and even though school was always uninteresting to me, English was still my favorite subject. I mean like I would write a paper in 15-20 minutes and get an A on it, so that was natural for me. Once I started making songs and showing them to people, seeing their amazed reactions kind of lit a fire in me like “Ok i can do this for real”. Pursuing my career in music was really a no-brainer. I’ve always done the opposite of what I felt like society wants me to do, so the traditional route of going to school and picking a job I have no interest in was never really appealing to me. I feel like life should be much simpler than that. Like just go with your gut on things and don’t listen to the outside world. Read more>>

Debbie Lennstrom-Beard | Artisan Jewelry Designer

I know that my great grandmother planted this seed as It all started while visiting her as a young child. I was bored, she cut some glass bugle beads off of a lamp shade and said let’s make something. I’m sure this was a great influence in my life to be creative as it allows me to express myself. As a child I was always enjoying designing and creating jewelry as an accessory to compliment my outfit. Pursuing a career in this art was not something I had ever thought of or intended to do, I never felt that I would be good enough. It just so happened, that some of my personal creations I would wear got attention. With encouragement from friends and family it blossomed in a positive way that allows me to let my personality shine and showcase a large creative piece of myself. It also brings me joy and relaxation to sit in the studio and create. Read more>>