Deciding to pursue an artistic or creative career path isn’t for the faint of heart.  Challenges will abound, but so many of the artists we speak with couldn’t be happier with their choice.  So, we asked them about how they made the decision in the first place.

Haley Lynne Russell | Wedding, Family & Lifestyle Photographer

To be perfectly honest, I would have never guessed that I would be pursuing a career in the creative field. I attended a fine arts high-school and realized very early on that I wouldn’t meet the expectations that many of my teachers had for up and coming creatives. I didn’t want to own an art gallery, and I definitely did not see myself on Broadway. I truly felt like there weren’t successful options outside of this glorified level of artistic success, so I really ditched the idea of a creative career. I discovered my passion for advocating for women and children, and chose to pursue that route. Throughout college, I changed my major a handful of times. I really struggled to come to terms with this idea that I would be working a conventional job. As I got older and life got a little crazier, I was yearning for a creative outlet. Read more>>

Colette Copeland | Multimedia Artist, Arts Educator, Arts Writer & Budding Aerialist

I’ve loved making things ever since I was little. I remember constructing a mouse house when I was 6 or 7. It was very important to me that all of it was handmade including the wallpaper, furniture and magazines. I’m sure the mice didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I did. I studied art in college, but didn’t see how I could make a living doing what I loved. I took a 7 year sabbatical from art and worked in the corporate world. I wouldn’t trade those years for anything. I learned a lot of valuable skills about marketing, sales, leadership, teamwork and networking. Most importantly, it clarified for me that art and teaching were my true passions. Read more>>

Katina Cooper-Rabb | Artist & Creator

I really believe I was predestined to follow a creative path. I started in the corporate world when I was a senior in high school but I always loved drawing and doodling. Sometimes I would find myself drawing abs doodling at work. I also enjoyed styling hair. People always would say I was good with my hands. Once I started having children, I found out quickly how hard it was to balance work and family. So one day, after my son had gotten really ill and my job was pressuring me to come in to work instead of taking care of son. I realized corporate was not for me anymore. My family was more important. So I resigned and enrolled in cosmetology school where I could finally have more control over my life.. From there, I joined a styling team and started participating in multiple hair shows/competitions. Read more>>

Matt Blake | Wedding & Event DJ

I love to entertain people and I love music. My wife is a music teacher, all 5 of my kids have been in band and musical theater, and I have been doing podcasting and event hosting for over 13 years. My passion is entertaining, it’s my whole life… so finding a way to make that a career was more of a necessity than an option. If you can find your passion, pursue it like crazy, and then find a way to make that your career; well, that’s how you find happiness and balance in life. Read more>>

Sharon Nicholson | Floral Designer, Stager & Coordinator

Being creative is in your blood. You either are or are not creative. Our world functions because different people interact providing the various services that we need. I can’t change my tires, nor am I great at filing; but I literally wake up dreaming about what I will be staging the next day. And whether I am simply layering the elements of a bouquet, creating a scene for a wedding backdrop or staging an entire space it’s not about the dollars. Money has nothing to do with it. The best things I create come from inexpensive layering elements that join to form a larger scene. Each little piece is part of a puzzle that creates the bigger picture. The puzzle is not complete without all of the pieces. I dream about the missing pieces. This would be a dull world without dreamers. Read more>>