What Made You an Artist?

By Carolyn Edlund

Some artists claim they were born to it. For others, there was a catalyst. Perhaps a teacher, an event, or a realization that they needed to create artwork to live their best life.


A look through Artsy Shark’s featured artists tells many stories of how artists became inspired to live the creative life:


Artist: Richard Cavoretto


Richard Cavoretto spent 30 years as a minister when spotting artwork in a hotel lobby sparked his interest in picking up a paintbrush for the first time since art school years before.



Earrings by Nancy Raasch


Nancy Raasch battled cancer and decided she wanted to change her focus in art from advertising campaigns to mixed media because she realized it was time to “design for herself.”


abstract painting

Artist: JJ Jacobs


JJ Jacobs burned out of a real estate career and took up art to relieve her stress. Now she paints full time.


Merle Haggard portrait

Artist: Coy Johnson


Coy Johnson got inspired by watching Bob Ross on TV and figured he could be an artist too.


road scene

Artist: Anita Stoll


A move to the high desert inspired Anita Stoll to start creating art. She was overwhelmed by the brilliant sunsets and open skies, and began her art career.


abstract painting of the sun

Artist: Dawn Kureshy


Painter Dawn Kureshy moved from a career in laboratory science and sales to express her creative side.


Artist: Klone Killa


Saturday morning cartoons fueled the urge to paint for Klone Killa, who pursued street art, neon and and murals to share his gift.


Artist: Nicola Taylor


Nicola Taylor abandoned a job in finance. She found herself immersed in library storybooks, which sparked her magical work with photography.


Artist: Brian Sylvester


Fourteen years of working with flowers in the horticulture industry and a love for Zen combined to inspire Brian Sylvester to design and create his colorful mandalas.


cartoon character

Artist: Helen Dearnley


Helen Dearnley credits the beginning of her art career to a music video.


Necklace by Katrina Mitten


Katrina Mitten taught herself the art of beadworking in an attempt to preserve a tradition in her tribe, and has spent 40 years in this craft.


Artist: Nettie Price


Nettie Price discovered her passion for art while working as a Math and Science teacher in a youth detention center.


Artist: Scott Price


Scott Price accidentally became an artist when developing vacation photographs that inspired him.


What is your story?  What made you an artist?



  1. I am so impressed by the artist comments as to why they were inspired. Thanks for your article. It alone inspires me.

    I’ve always done art, drawing mostly, until my husband gave me a gift of painting supplies. It opened a whole new world for me.

    • Judy, Thanks for posting how you were inspired – plus it’s nice to know that your husband is supportive. That alone is a very important measure of success!

  2. love the stories…so interesting how artists started out their careers!! i have been drawing & creating art since i can remember, but it was an art professor in college, Steve Hanks, that told me i needed to be a full time artist…at the time i was going to college for social work, ended up changing because of him and got my BFA in art.

  3. What a great article, very inspiring!

  4. What made you an artist, Alex?

  5. Like one of the artists above, I believed Bob Ross when he said that I too could ‘paint Happy Little Trees’! I had just made a huge shift and move in my life and for the first time I was living alone. I bought enough supplies and books to get started and off I went. 🙂

    Very lovely and inspiring article. [img][IMG]http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n146/divinitygardens/MyBestFriend4B725x7.jpg[/IMG][/img]

  6. My 2nd grade teacher encouraged me! In my school district, the art program was exemplary. But, family and job got in the way. When I became separated, and lived in a small apartment with my 5 year old, my very best friend gave me baby-sitting for a semester if I’d take an art class. She saved my life in so many ways!

  7. Ever since I was a little girl my parents have always worked so much and my grandparents watched me. My grandfather who was an artist thought me all I needed to know about art before I even started a school. Even though he is not here he always will be in my heart and I want to be as amazing artist as he was. Till the rest of my life I won’t ever stop painting and all I want to do is to create something different right now and this year I want to spent even more time painting…

  8. My father owned a business in the Shoppes at Station Square in Pittsburgh in the early 80’s. There were many days as a young kid between the ages of 7-12 where I would venture the mall to go and visit with another Pittsburgh illustrator named Nevin Robinson. He had a small kiosk set up and still does with his many pen & ink illustrations of Pittsburgh buildings and landmarks. I would watch him draw and I talked with him frequently, so he definitely inspired me to pursue architectural illustration as my livelihood. Since that time, I have created hundreds of hand-drawn pen & ink illustrations which are displayed in homes and businesses across the country including the White House. I hope that my work might possibly inspire young artists to believe in their dreams. Like anything it takes patience, perseverance, inspiration and a little luck to make your dreams a reality, however big or small.

  9. Gracias por permitirme ver los sueños y caminos de otros ARTISTAS, soy muy feliz cuando veo sus obras, cuando explican algo sobre las mismas.Creo firmemente en el arte que se da en momentos como estos, en el arte que se enseña sin tener que pasar horas recorriendo galerias, me gusta la RED y la posibilidad de tantas ventanas a la belleza.
    Un abrazo cordial.
    Maria Gina.

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