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.

Angela GomezDuran | Visual Artist

I’m addicted to art, I grew up painting and drawing on everything. I’ve always been an artistic and creative person, I pursued my career in art in general because it’s a gift, a gift that keeps on giving, It’s like a therapy, it’s brings me joy and peace, I feel more real, I show my soul in each painting or performances and that’s works, because the people who admire my art feel something, good or bad, but that is what it’s about, to feel, that’s my goal, to make people feel emotions an increasingly cold world. Read more>>

Michael Cuartas | Director of Photography

From a very young age, I was drawn to the arts. I must’ve been seven or eight years old when I started playing music. I remember seeing some of my elementary school classmates get together after school to play the bells, which are like mini xylophones, and for whatever reason, I was really intrigued. I asked my mom to help me sign up. Eventually she got me into the extra curricular activity and since that age I’ve been involved in the the arts. Through high school and eventually into college, I continued playing music but eventually stopped studying it and let it be more of a hobby. I’d skateboard a lot with my brother and friends growing up and we’d film each other doing tricks. I think that and a combination of our parents taking us to the movies is what eventually brought me to film. My way into the arts happened organically, I suppose. It came from being genuinely intrigued. Playing music, skateboarding and filmmaking all have something in common, and that is that they are all forms of self expression. Read more>>

Holly Harris | Visual Artist & Interior Designer

Great question! I’ll try for the abridged version…but I’ll be honest…that’s gonna be tough! Being a professional artist and creative wasn’t the path I found myself on many years ago. Rather, it is my “do over” career, built on a foundation of life experiences. Let me explain… As a young person, I often found it difficult to express myself verbally. Being slightly dyslexic made it harder for me to express ideas and thoughts clearly until I discovered that I could sketch them faster and more clearly than trying to explain them verbally. My mother was most excited by this…she would tell me that I was the only person she knew that could take a 2 minute story and turn it into 20. As a creative, I’m compelled to verbally ‘paint’ a visual for my listener and it would be unkind of my not to touch upon every little detail. Read more>>

Meg Hitchcock | Artist

Pursuing a career in the arts was never a choice, it was the outcome of my immersion in creativity. I’ve been making art all my life, have studied it extensively and spend endless hours at it, so it seemed natural to make a living at it. When I was younger, I tried the nine-to-five thing, where I worked as a graphic designer or picture framer or whatever I could manage. I owned two framing businesses, which was great, but it was still a grind, a means to an end, which was to be in my studio working on my art. When I’m in my studio, I feel connected to something greater than myself. I’m not fussing or worrying over anything; I’m just in the moment, engaged in the process of creating. And when I sell my artwork, it feels like the whole creative process has come full circle, that my work is appreciated, and that sustains me so that I can continue with my career as an artist. Read more>>

Janet Gold | Artist

I was always headed in that direction, and the path to being a professional artist was clear. Throughout my career I have worked in painting, photography, and sculpture, on my way to collage and mixed media assemblage. My teaching career has always supplemented my art career. Read more>>

Mariana Diaz | Outdoor Photographer

For the simple reason that I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. Photography has always been that one thing that has been consistent throughout my life and I have always felt a deep connection to nature and a passion to capture it. A sense of adventure and exploring has always been a part of me so doing anything else wouldn’t align well with who I am at the core. Just being outside and getting fresh air, being present, and witnessing nature do its magic is fueling and fulfilling. I always want to get out there and explore a new place, especially with my four-legged adventure buddy. Read more>>

John Sanchez | Visual Artist, Teacher, Husband, Father, Son, Brother, Neighbor, Friend, Producer, Customer, Citizen etc..

We’d have to “peel this onion” to know why I chose an artistic career. There can be a sort of “Freudian” reason such as how I moved practically every six months to a new school district when I was young and I have found that I would sit down to draw on those days I entered that new class room and by lunch time I have made the friends I was going to make for those six months. This was accomplished by my drawings. I understand today that as humans we have this deep seeded need to see others do good work and that is true in almost any endeavor. It can be in a sports game, an artist drawing, or even a cashier filling up bags with groceries. We find these things assuring. We become fans and want to somehow be associated with those that create these moments. It could be that I wanted those accolades? But it could also be about the challenges that creating an artwork reveals. Read more>>

John Frazee | Visual Artist

July 26th, 1949, NYC. 30th St and 2nd Ave to be precise. I arrived in a city that would turn out to be the grandest experience in cultural history. I would come of age in the 60s and 70s, surrounded by cutting edge music, theater, cinema and art. I felt an enormous obligation to create, a necessity, a drive a compulsion deep within me. It was an extremely tough neighborhood and anyone with an interest in intellectual pursuits would surely put their lives on the line. The fantastic High School of Art and Design was a gateway into all the technical aspects of art, the tools, materials and techniques were supplied by teachers who were tops in their field, architects, illustrators, advertisers, photographers, the total package. The school motto was (Be true to your work and your work will always be true to you). The school was on 57th St. which happen to be the center of the art world at that time. Read more>>

Bianca Jazmine | Singer-Songwriter

I chose to pursue a creative career to make a difference and share my ideas. I’m a firm believer in authenticity and creativity, and if I can inspire anyone to allow their truest self to show, or try something they didn’t believe they could do – I know I’ve done my job. I hope that through my writing I can help others step into their best selves. To create is an act of love, not just for yourself, but for the world. To produce something entirely new and add to this eternal cloud of art and ideas – that is love! It’s a contribution to humankind. I feel humans are naturally inclined towards creativity in a multitude of ways, some of which we consider artistic. From our literal birth to the way we all leave our personal mark on this world, creation is ingrained in us. Read more>>