Artists and creatives face innumerable challenges given that their career path often doesn’t come with a playbook, a steady paycheck or any form of safety net. It’s definitely not easy and so we asked a few of the artists and creatives we admire to talk to us about why they chose to pursue an artistic or creative career.

Lauren Middleton | Owner & Artist

I didn’t start painting until my first year of college. It was there that I saw girls painting little cute canvases to decorate their dorm rooms, and I thought I could probably do that too! Let’s just say that at first it wasn’t a talent of mine. I did figure out that I really enjoyed painting though, and it was a way to slow my mind down a little bit, I have always been an over-thinker! Over time I got better and tried different things as I went. I am completely self taught which I guess is good and bad in some ways. I plan to take some classes to continue to further my skills, but fortunately my now growing business keeps me pretty busy. I did not turn my artwork into a business until 2017 and in 2018 it started taking off a bit more. Earlier this year in the midst of the pandemic I had a chance to expand my art studio and now I offer my designs on baby clothes, ladies clothes, and home goods. Read more>>

Brendan O’Grady | Architect & Vice President

Ever since I was a child I have always enjoyed drawing and building things. Whether it was a futuristic Lego city that took up half the living room or skateboard ramps in the backyard, I loved being able to take something I imagined and make it a reality. I also enjoyed science and math in school, so pursuing a career in design and architecture seemed a natural way for me to bring all the things I enjoyed together. I truly believe that good design has the power to transform people’s lives. Read more>>

Shermeen Sidiki | Traditional Artist

Art has always been my passion. As I was growing up, all I was interested in was making drawing from my story books or from magazines. I didn’t think art could be a career but nothing else interested me. My dad encouraged me in art, though not as a career but surely as a hobby. I was surrounded by Afghan rugs at my home and I would observe its design. Not knowing this could be a beginning of my passion. After coming to the USA, my husband encouraged me in making drawings and pursuing this career. After around 15 years of practice, I finally discovered what I liked to draw and it came back to the traditional Islamic arts inspired by the Afghan rugs. I discovered that there are not many muslim artists in Dallas in the art world and I wanted to change that. I wanted to go to galleries, exhibitions and festivals and show my art. I felt that there was a missing link of muslims in the art world and this was my chance to be creative. Read more>>

Marcelis Alexander | Artist, Dancer, Teacher & Clothing Designer

The life style of a creative was something that was written in the stars, my imagination has been running wild since childhood and as i grew so did it. I see life as a musical, there is always music, colors and movement going on in my head. If daydreaming were a job i would be a full time employee but as they say “with great power comes with great responsibility”. What i do isn’t a job or career, it is a way of life, I do what i do because it is within me, i do it because it is me. The artist plays a very important role in society, they create and set the tone for that era. When looking back at history you can understand what life was like based on music, fashion and content in the entertainment. That’s because the world is full of creators, creations and consumers, so whatever is created is being reflected on society. I want to shed my light on the world and bring a sense of strength and willpower to the people so they too can let their brightest light shine. Read more>>

Kinsey Gibson | DFW Portrait Photographer

I believe artists have a unique ability to make the world a better place. My passion is photography; it allows me to create images and capture moments while also connecting with the people inside of those moments. My goal is to make my clients feel a mixture of confidence and comfort while showcasing their beauty. Photography feels like a part of who I am, and I can’t imagine doing anything else. Read more>>

Jesse Chacon | Photographer & Studio Manager

I’ve wanted to be a photographer since I was 15, I came across an excellent photojournalism class my first year of high school and got hooked. I took the class every year, I worked in a photo lab, I shoot every football game, hockey game, and basketball game I could. I went on numerous road trips with fellow classmates and photo teacher to photograph the landscapes of New Mexico and Utah. Back then I thought I’d end up working for a newspaper or magazine though, I never thought that I’d end up specializing in food photography. Read more>>

Liz Splatt | Stand up comedian

The simple answer would be, it’s the only thing I’m good at and doing anything else seems agonizing. I never really considered being a stand-up comedian until I tried it for the first time, then it quickly became the only thing I thought about. Growing up I knew I wasn’t very good at school or anything that required standing still or staying in the lines of someone else plans, so when I went to college I majored in art. For a while, that was just enough hope in having a creative life that it kept me going, but still, it was very much staying on course and following rules. When I got into stand up it quickly became clear that making my own rules was the only way to stand out and keep moving up. People don’t want to see the same thing, people want to be thrown off and shown something they weren’t expecting which is just the opposite of what they teach us in school about being successful, thankfully I never listened in school. Read more>>