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.

Oscar Garbalena | OJ Photography & Ohjayy Parker Leather Co.

I actually just fell into it on both sides of my businesses. For photography I believe the help of taking advanced art classes in middle school and having other family members that had been doing film photography put an impact on me, but it wasn’t till the end of my high school years that I decided that photography was my gift/talent so I ran with it. I took the risk and put my all into every shot I took and paved my own path by doing everything I could to be a well known name not just on social media but in all of Dallas. I’ve been blessed to say I’ve worked with all walks of life from upcoming and now well known models to big celebrities, its been an amazing journey for me and I hope to continue to branch out more and see who I come across in the future. Read more>>

Abrea Jones | Host | Entertainer | YouTuber | Influencer

I decided to pursue a creative career for multiple reasons. I enjoy entertaining, making people laugh and making them feel good. I am a firm believer that no matter how much people forget, they will never forget how you make them feel. Second, I’m passionate about helping individuals and seeing their strides toward their goals. #FreeGameWithAbrea pushes me out of my comfort zone and requires me to be vulnerable in ways that I never imagined. #FreeGameWithAbrea isn’t only for me—it’s for the people. Read more>>

Ashley McDonald | DFW Photographer

The truth is, it’s in my blood. My mom was an artist and a great one at that… She could draw. I remember being so amazed at how realistic her drawings were. I always wanted to be an artist like her. Although, I never could quite master drawing. Not only did my mom love to draw, but she loved to scrapbook. She would always have a camera in her hand and a huge box of photos ready to be put in a scrapbook. Like mother like daughter, we would sit on the floor and scrapbook. My grandfather on the other hand, he was a photographer. He recently passed away in April of this year, and I know he would be really proud. Flash forward and here I am today building my small photography business. Ever since I was little, I always knew I had a passion for art. I want to create. Read more>>

Belinda Salazar | Public figure and Advocate for Mental health

Choosing to be artistic or creative speaks a lot of volume. If I can’t show you who I am for whatever reason, I can show you through my art, through my makeup. You may see me do a colorful look and it’ll show you the happy bubbly person that I am. Being creative also brings your mind to a different head space, especially when you need a therapy session from a very tough mental breakdown! Read more>>

Charlie Francesca | Hairstylist

I spent all of my school-aged years prepping for college and my future career. I was even planning on majoring in English and eventually being a teacher. I applied for colleges, got accepted, etc. I was so close to doing what I thought I had to. My parents were very supportive and gave me the idea to maybe explore other options-they told me to look at trade schools. They told me I dont have to fit in a box and should spend my life doing something I am passionate about! So after that I immediately went to cosmetology school. I had always played with my own hair and my friends’ hair-it only made sense I learned to do it the right way! Read more>>

Roderick Rayson | Photographer, Blogger & Creative

In my earlier years. I struggled with having my own identity. I wondered how I could contribute to the world through creativity. Prior to my website Esyntric launching, I would assist other creatives and grasp so much knowledge for my own personal growth. Read more>>

Shandon Guignard | Nail & Makeup Artist

I pursued my artistic career simply because corporate was never my thing! Every since I was a teenager I knew I was different and by different I mean creatively artistic! I was the kid with the shaved head on one side and wore different color hair, long before it was popular. Bright lipsticks and shadows, long nails and vibrant clothes. And in a corporate world l, I knew I would not fit in!! So I had to walk in the life of a makeup artist and nail artist , totally befitting! Read more>>

Kerstie Tarango | Hair & Makeup Artist

I pursued my career in cosmetology because I love to make people feel good. I feel like hair and makeup artists are like unlicensed therapists giving clients the opportunity to lay out their challenges or stresses of life without the judgement they might receive from family or friends. Along with that they also get to modify or enhance their appearance and leave my chair feeling refreshed both inside and out. Beauty therapy is some of the best therapy out there and I pride myself on being able to take my clients on that escape through beauty. Read more>>

Jessica Phillips | Photographer

I’ve always had a creative soul; I feel like being creative or artistic is a stress reliever. I’ve found different ways to express myself creatively whether it was with writing or photography. I love to create with other people and add on to their thoughts and ideas for a photo session that they may have. I love the care-free feeling I have while doing photo sessions and the excitement they have when they see the final product. Read more>>

Tanya Simmons | Nina Dior Photography

When I decided to pursue a career in photography, I didn’t consider myself much of a creative person. I just thought, hey, i take some pretty good pictures, but as I started tapping into some thoughts and ideas I had and seeing them come alive in front of me, it gave me confidence. I wanted to explore more. It allowed me to experience the freedom in it. In this world, there are so many misconceptions and judgement’s, I think if you are able to find your way to liberation, especially in your career, something you do everyday, I think it’s worth pursuing. Read more>>

Reya Roussel | Dancer & Designer

I have always been an artist. As far back as I can remember, I would tell anyone who asked that my career goals were to be a dancer or poet. My first memories are of me performing in costumes in living rooms and choreographing or sketching with friends. S0 despite my parents encouraging me to study engineering or another well paid/secure field, they supported me in pursuit of my goals to study dance at the performing arts high school in Dallas and move on to study dance and liberal arts in college. I believe artists are just as important to communities as doctors and lawyers. We document and express things that cannot be quantified, as well as inspire others. Read more>>

Jai Woods | Audio Engineer & DJ

I had to. Its a huge part of who I am. I’ve tried other career paths but I was miserable. They were just jobs, I was going through the motions each day not being fulfilled. Read more>>

Jan Sikes | Award-Winning Author

I openly admit to the world that I never intended to be a writer. It was never a burning goal or desire. But I had a story that had to be told. I thought someone else would come along and tell it but I awoke one morning to the realization that I was the only one who could tell it, as I was the only one there during all of it. So, I got busy. I took creative writing classes and tackled the huge project. It took me four books to tell the entire true story. It chronicles the life of a Texas musician and his love… me. I am a character in the books and that is the exact reason I chose to tell the stories through fictitious characters. It allowed me to take a step back and let the created characters tell it. Read more>>