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.

Tara McCutchen | Wedding Hairstylist, Medical Assistant, and Fitness Trainer

Growing up under a mother who was a cosmetologist as well as an instructor; I have always had the desire to do hair. I have, however, strayed away from it for a handful of years. In that time I thought I was going to become a nurse. I was a medical assistant for about 4 years when I decided that I missed being creative. I missed making things with my hands and using the left side of my brain, if you know what I mean. It wasn’t until about 6 months after I got married that I went to my husband and told him I still wanted to go to cosmetology school. And since that moment, I haven’t looked back. Read more>>

Eva Constance | Musical Artist & Writer

I pursue an artistic career because it’s something that I wanted to do since I was very young. I started singing in the choir at age 6 or 7 and by age 12 I started writing my own music. I have always had a love for music and that will never change. I use my creative channels to express my emotions because I have a hard time explaining them in other ways. My birth name, Chanteuse, means Singer in French so once I knew that, I knew I was destined to be that and be successful in the music industry. Read more>>

Stephanie Barrans | Photographer & Artist

I have always been drawn to art ever since I was a kid, and while in High School I was given my first point and shoot and feel in love with taking photos of nature around the neighborhood. When it came time to choose my degree path for college there was no doubt that I wanted to pursue photography as my degree and started researching photo classes that were supposed to be offered at the college I went to. Read more>>

Ashley Owen | Communication Design Student

I taught myself to draw when I was about 12 years old, and it greatly changed my life. When I was in middle school, I had to trade my physical school and friends for online courses and doctor’s appointments due to health conditions. During that time, I was pretty much isolated, but drawing allowed me to make my life whatever I wanted it to be. I returned to physical school in high school, and my love for art carried on with me. Taking AP Art classes along with being Editor-in-Chief of the Yearbook led me to a stronger appreciation for design. Now, I am a Communication Design major with a concentration in Graphic Design. I chose this field because I love that design gives me the ability to impact others. I am interested in all art forms – specifically print and digital applications of design – but in all aspects, I always try to imagine the viewer and how what I create will influence them. The main goal I apply to my projects is to make a finished product that can benefit or simplify the life of the user. I try to make things understandable rather than just pretty. Read more>>

Danielle Boling | Owner/Principal Broker – Network Real Estate Partners

I’ve always had a passion for real estate. I grew up in Oak Park, Illinois down the street from the famous Frank Lloyd Wright home and studio. I learned about hidden doorways, stained glass windows, prairie style architecture and ginkgo trees by the age of five. I was taught that a home’s style should vary just like people do, and that when a home is built, it should add to the environment and be in harmony with it. These were some of Wright’s philosophies, along with his theory that “every great architect is – necessarily -a great poet. He must be a great original interpreter of his day, his time, his age.” These ideologies stuck with me throughout my life and have always helped me envision my career through a creative light. I see myself as an entrepreneur, first and foremost. Second, I am a business owner. The latter is where the left brain gets to take center stage, and is where I make financial decisions, formulate negotiation strategies, and plan for the future of the company and its expansion. Read more>>

Shannon Lochan | Natural Artisan Soap and Skincare

About 7 years ago the idea of making soap was dreamt up to fill an immediate need for skincare relief within our homes. The first items we ever made was a sugar scrub and melt and pour soap. After reading so many books and chemist forums, the adventure began. Coming up with our own recipes and formulas was fun, and rewarding to see results. We soon realized how much our friends and family enjoyed receiving our items that it inspired us to venture out. It worked. People really enjoyed our products, and here we are today. Read more>>

Lauren Houser | Photographer, Designer

I didn’t always know that I wanted to pursue photography and design. Originally I went to school with the hopes of one day becoming a physician. So, I got my Bachelor’s in Biology and ended up completing two years of medical school before I realized that my heart just wasn’t in it. Deep down I knew that I was being called to follow a different path, one that was more artistic and creative. In a way, it was a terrifying prospect, at the time, stepping away from a career that was safe and stable, to follow my heart and dreams toward the uncertainty being a photographer, but it’s a decision I’m so thankful that I made. Whenever I’m on an assignment, whether it’s during the shoot itself or post-production editing, I feel like I have been incredibly blessed to be able to do what I love. For me, I love everything about photography—the angles that help create “the perfect” shot, the planning that goes into lighting your subjects, and those split second expressions that are captured at just the right moment and end up telling a story. Read more>>