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.

Dorothy Sutton | Photographer

When I look back over my life, I think about when I first discovered the arts, or more personally, photography as a career choice. When I found out the significance and impact photography could make on those around me, I knew I had a special gift to give back. What drove me was I wanted to tell stories and have a plethora of people from different backgrounds to make personal connections to my work. For others to see, to feel and to react is my creative goal in my career. So pursuing a creative career where I get to change perspectives, be a memory keeper and use my camera as a visual microphone for societal issues; well that is the artistic path I follow and the legacy I can hopefully leave behind. Read more>>

DJ Chizzle | DJ

Ive always had a passion for music my entire life. From knowing all the words to every song on the radio, to being interested on how Djs would mix songs together, it helped guide me to pursue Djing as a hobby. I bought my first set of turntables right before I went away to college, and havent looked back since. I never assumed it would turn into a career; but thats what makes music and what I do so special. Its always organic, passion, and love for music and DJing that motivate me each and everyday. Read more>>

Katt Naz Viloria | Visual Artist & Esthetician

I pursued an artistic career because I LOVE to make things that spark a connection. Growing up I always thought I’d go to college for business or something, like everyone else but the cards had something else in store for me as an immigrant. This life changing event pushed me towards gigs in the fashion, production and beauty industry which influenced me greatly to become the 31 year old woman, I am now. I’ve met and collaborated with all types of artists, seeing some of them follow their dreams during their free time made me realize that just because I have to work full time to pay the bills, if I manage my time wisely, I can also follow my dreams. So I did. Read more>>

Alfredo Monroy | Artist

I kind of backed up into being an artist. I never received any training or schooling or n art. I had been an art lover and patron for a while. After suffering a couple of injuries, I had a lot of time on my hands since exercise was not an option. While driving one day, I spotted an art store and walked in, bought a few basic supplies. Went home and copied a painting from my favorite artist…Picasso. It came out much better than I thought it would. That motivated me to continue painting and creating my own work. The more I painted, the more creative I got and the more I wanted to create. Read more>>

Paola Aleman | Designer

I was that high school girl who wore thrift store clothing because I came from humble beginnings. Being an immigrant and from a working-class family, my parents taught me that in life “It’s not about what you don’t have, but about what you can do with what you already have”. So, at the beginning of every school year, I was given a very small allowance to buy clothing for the year and I knew I had to be creative in order to make it last. I always loved fashion and design, so buying my outfits for school was always an event. I eventually got the idea to start shopping in thrift stores because I knew it would allow me to stretch my budget. Back then, thrift store shopping was NOT a trend, it was considered a means to an end and most people didn’t talk about it. Read more>>

Juan Camilo “Juantastico” Rodriguez | Art Director, Lettering artist and Illustrator.

I feel art has been part of me since I can remember. From a very early age, I started showing a special love and interest in colors, shapes, and textures. I grew up inspired by cartoons, movies, and comic books, which helped me find my skills as an illustrator. Then, when it was time to “choose a path” in life, I found that a career in graphic design was the perfect field to express my ideas and the place to find my identity as a person and as a professional artist. Read more>>

Jeremy Brown | 2-D Artist

It’s all that I know. From a very young age, I have been interested in art. I knew that I wanted to do other things, but art has always been something that spoke to me on a different level than all of those other things. Art is something that has a lot of power behind it. Overall, I want to be able to make impressions on people without words. Read more>>

The Drain Outs | Rocknroll Band

We all grew up playing music, so it made sense to continue it. It’s a great feeling that you’re able to get up on stage or behind a recorder and lose yourself in the process of song writing and performing. It’s easy to grow up into a boring adult, but playing music has helped us feel like kids. Read more>>

Carol Prusa | Visual Artist

I began college as a chemistry major, never having had an art course even in elementary school due to budget cuts in Chicago. I met someone studying visual art and realized I wouldn’t be truly educated if I didn’t know about it so I took a beginning drawing class at the University of Illinois. I found drawing so challenging that I was completely drawn in – it used my brain fully and that was exhilarating. I switched from per-med to medical illustration and after that degree realized I had no desire to work to make what someone else wanted. I appreciated that I was an artist and needed to make work with complete freedom so I went on and got an MFA in Painting and Drawing. I learned that every day I to wake up to new possibilities and need learn new things as an artist. Read more>>

Simonie Hugue | Actress, Singer, and Writer

Honestly, I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. I knew once I stepped on the stage, there was no other place I wanted to be. On top of that, I grew up around music (singers and musicians) plus creative writing. All of those elements around me and a deep passion that developed over time led to me pursuing my creative career. Read more>>