We asked some of the city’s leading artists and creatives to tell us about how they decided to pursue an artistic or creative career. We’ve shared some highlights below.

Tite | Rap Artist & Song Writer

I chose to become a musical artist because of my love for music. Ever since I was a kid I would listen to music and write poetry all of the time. I’ve got 2 notebooks worth of poetry that I’ve written that I’ve never put out. To me writing music is like writing poetry and then you get to bring it to life by adding music to it. No matter where I’ve been in life music has always had an emotional influence on me and I’ve seen it have the same reaction with others. Read more>>

Christian Gay | artist

I’ve been artistic for as long as I can remember. I struggled socially a lot growing up but art was something I could do independently, without needing friends or social skills. So it was in middle school that I began drawing and auditioned for Booker T Washington Arts Magnet. Getting into the arts magnet school really pushed me to try different mediums and go out of my comfort zone. Now I’m 24 and continuing to build my brand Art Rat, a female owned and operated art and pop culture e-zine. Long story short, I pursued a creative career to express myself. Read more>>

Annie Schmidt | Home Organization Expert

I spent 13 years in the corporate world working for a large manufacturing company. I loved the people, but wasn’t always passionate about the industry. When Covid hit, I started organizing my home and friends homes to easy my anxiety. I found that I loved the combination of function and design, and it gave me an outlet to be creative and stay busy. My organizing business allows me to balance my life as a mom, but also do something for myself to stay active. I love to meet new people, and help moms and families find peace in their homes!. Read more>>

Dontez Fant | CEO | Creative Director | Co-owner of The Slow Motion Brand

I think we chose an artistic & creative brand because its something that gives us a way to express ourselves through more than just words with our own unique twist. It’s also something that represents us & what our brand stands for through visual representation and the name itself. Read more>>

Chelsea LeSage | Actor

I am an artist because I simply cannot do anything else. In my Shakespeare training as a teen, a teacher told the group that if any of us could do anything else at all with ourselves and our lives, to do that. “If you can be anything other than an actor, be that any other thing,” she said. That resonates with me still as I never have felt I could do anything else with my life. It is what fuels me, my creativity and all of the space in my head and in my heart. That sprung from playing music, but I am fortunate enough to find ways to make the two coincide with one another. Then, acting for the stage sprung to film and television and modeling. Each facet let’s my creativity shine and I can never think of doing anything else. Read more>>

Noah Hernando | DJ, Producer, & Event Coordinator

I chose to pursue a career in the arts (yes, DJing is an art) because I wanted to share the way music made me felt – how it allowed me to “escape” during low points in life. DJing is one of the best ways to showcase your favorite selections to an audience, so originally in high school, I wanted to share the new wave of electronic music with peers that were looking for a new sound/new flame. Read more>>

Stephanie Cantu | Makeup Artist & Photographer

I dropped out of high school and got my GED at 16 and didn’t finish college. Now I understand why— there was never enough time or focus on creative outlets in public school. I’ve always been in love with all art mediums and it was the only stimulating thing for me for as long as I can remember. When I realized that I could possibly do it to eat and pay rent, I had a great support system to make it happen. Read more>>

Janie Stidham | Designer & Artist

I grew up in Philadelphia and Dallas. I studied Fashion Design and Textiles at the University of Texas at Austin. I moved to Dallas when I graduated and began working in the apparel industry where I was responsible for a wide range of tasks in the design and production of women’s and children’s apparel. In addition to the creative aspects of the industry, I was also introduced to the business side and I decided that I wanted to move into higher education to better prepare students for all aspects of the apparel industry. That led me to graduate school at Texas Woman’s University and then eventually to University of North Texas where I was a faculty member in the College of Visual Arts and Design for over 25 years. After so many years of teaching and administrative roles, I felt removed from the creative process and I missed working with my hands and directly with the materials. So, early in 2020, I decided it was time to make a change and spend more time on my Textile Art practice which had been slowly building momentum for several years. Read more>>

Alicia Rodriguez | Portrait Rock Artist

I had never thought a portrait artist would ever be something I would have labeled myself. I had never really had an interest in drawing before as I didn’t really see a future career in it. I was more focused on becoming something more realistic like a doctor or a lawyer. It wasn’t until my first request for a portrait came in and without giving it too much thought I took it on as I would any other request for a cartoon character or image someone wanted. To me, at the time, it was just another doodle. But it wasn’t until I saw the reaction I got when completing the order. It was so much more fulfilling and just an overwhelming sense of accomplishment that made me realize there is so much more to it then just drawing your typical characters. Just seeing how emotional someone would get when they see what I was able to create for them off of just a simple picture made me want to continue and learn more and see how far my artistic ability would go. Read more>>

Ethan Glanger | Videographer & photographer

Ever since I was younger, seeing people work a 9-5 job, day after day, painted a negative image of what adulthood seemed to look like. Storytelling has always been a peak interest of mine, so quickly after I picked up a camera for the first time I knew that was the path I strived to go down no matter what it took. At the end of the day my ultimate goal is to expose the raw beauties the world we live in has to offer to those who aren’t fortunate enough to experience it themselves, so hopefully they grow a greater understanding of how amazing their home truly is. Although this career path isn’t fully understood by many others and often times looked down upon due to its uncertainty, I find the risk of shying away from the common lifestyle most tend to live having a much greater reward rather than taking the easy and comfortable rout towards “success”. Read more>>

Courtnie Brown | Potter and creator

Actually I didn’t mean to have a creative career. Growing up, and even through the Master’s program I was dead set on being a Counselor. It was during my Master’s program, that I decided to try pottery. After one class I was hooked. Now here I am 3 years later selling my art, making it into magazines, and creating my own website!. Read more>>

Krizz’Tina Barrientos | Blogger

I chose creativity because it’s a humongous part of who I am as an individual. I also prefer going against the grain; finding ways to make what I love come to the forefront rather than adhering to a common way of doing anything. Read more>>

Amie Maciszewski | Culture Worker, Sitarist, Teaching Artist, Ethnomusicologist

The simple answer is because beauty, be it in form, movement, or sound, very much including that in nature, has always moved me intensely. I can say that beauty is truth for me, and art (in the broadest sense) is my religion. The beautiful natural environment I grew up in–the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in rural northern New Mexico–and being raised by supportive parents who were both creative, certainly left a strong imprint in my consciousness. Making music, dancing, creating little plays or puppet shows were my preferred ways of spending leisure time–in addition to hiking and other outdoor activities. But what I observed in nature fueled my creativity–the sway of the trees and grass; the expanse of the sky and its cloud formations about the contour of the hills and mountains; the colorful splash of flowers, both wild and in the garden; the graceful movement of animals–pets, farm, and wild . . . I felt the urge to somehow translate how all this made me feel into art. Which medium, I still didn’t know. Read more>>

Katrina Doran | Artist

I like to say, an artistic and creative career chose me. I am naturally drawn to the process of gathering, sorting, breaking and arranging patterns and designs. Read more>>

Eliana Miranda | Artist/ Teacher/ Curator

I knew I wanted to be an artist at a very young age. In grade school, I explored several avenues within the arts such as music, dance, and theater. Somehow while I was exploring these areas, I was always drawing in a sketchbook. I loved my art classes. At one point I was skipping band practice to go hang out with my art teacher in the art room. That’s when I knew that I wanted to be a visual artist and I eventually dumped everything else. It made the most sense for me since I found it incredibly challenging and I felt the most liberated to express myself when I drew in my sketchbook. Making marks made me feel like I had a purpose, like I had something to say, and, in many ways, it gave me a voice. Read more>>

Jaylan Rose | Actress/Model/Dancer

Performing arts came into my life at the age of five when I joined a local dance team in my hometown. My childhood was so riveting with dance in my life, and I couldn’t see myself doing anything else. I absolutely loved to perform. Naturally, I always had an inclination for fashion and they way I decided to wear my clothing exuded artistry. Navigating through life and trying to figure myself out in my teenage years, I decided I wanted to pursue a career in fashion, as a stylist. But moving out of my hometown, and exploring life even more as an adult, I realized that I yearned for performing again. I’ve always had a secret love for acting, feeling that it was one of the rawest forms of expression. So I went for it, and it has honestly been one of the best decisions of my life. I finally feel like I am right where I need to be. Read more>>

Piper Byers | Indie-Pop Musician & singer/songwriter

Being creative and artistic is the only way I’ve ever known how to deal with the world around me. To me, writing a song is the best coping mechanism in my life. There is something so special about turning anger or sadness or joy into a piece of work that other people can enjoy and relate to. I chose to pursue a music career because I want to continue to chase that feeling and moment for as long as I can. Read more>>

Celestíal L’amour | Lead singer & Writer

We pursued creating music because we realized we had something special to offer. The idea in creating this band was to create music without boundaries, we intend on using the gifts God has granted us to our full potential, we were created for this purpose. Read more>>

Cheryl Allision | Actor, Singer & Filmmaker

I fell into the field of arts and entertainment very easily. My parents both received their college degrees in music and my father was a minister of music in the church for most of my childhood so I grew up singing with the arts around me. My parents had season tickets to the Dallas Summer Musicals and would take me to a few shows each season. The minute I saw my first stage production, I knew I wanted to be up there and perform. From eight grade on I dreamed of moving to NYC and pursuing a theatre career so upon graduation from college, that’s what I did. 30 years later, I’m still performing, acting and most recently directing and producing films. Read more>>

Courtney DiMare | Artist

I really can’t remember making the decision to be an artist. It felt logical and automatic to pursue a BFA in college. It all really started in high school for me. I was never really into drawing, but my school had a bronze foundry and jewelry classes that hooked me for all four years. Art is one of those fields where you must be constantly curious. Art is an idea materialized into form. It is freedom of expression manifested. Art cannot be regulated or controlled, it survives and endures. Art heals. Art makes life worth living, to experience excellent art is to feel human and alive. Art challenges the mind and changes it. Art is so ubiquitous in our everyday lives that it often goes unrecognized and unappreciated. Read more>>

Toast | Brewer & Artist

I have always had an imagination. As a kid I would dream that one day I would own an island where, instead of roads, you would use roller coasters to get around and… I wanted to grow up to be a famous country singer and guitarist. That dream turned in owning a brewery, taproom, and art studio… And I still plan on being a little famous, at least as a brewer and artist. I love creating. It makes me happy. My passion for brewing started as a weekend hobby. I was already deep into the craft beer world. All the different styles of beer and creative beer names fascinated me. Breweries consistently pushing the boundaries and coming up with new innovations. There is so much spirit behind their names and the beer labels and everything that goes into making a craft beer. Each is unique in it’s own way, much like a painting, or any work of art. Read more>>