top of page

Embracing My Passion: The Journey from Disliking School to Becoming an Artist

I have a confession: School was incredibly hard for me, and I hated it most of the time. There were, however, a few classes that I liked and excelled at, like Anatomy, Art, and History. Looking back on it now, I realize a lot had to do with my Anatomy teacher, Mr. Fenton, who was the best human ever!

black and white image of a women holding a DSLR and showing elementary aged kids how it workds
Erin Holmstead Photography

Mr. Fenton: A Beacon of Inspiration

Amid my school struggles, Mr. Fenton, my Anatomy teacher, stood out as an inspiration. His unwavering support and encouragement would later play a significant role in my journey. He believed in my potential, especially when he saw how passionately I had memorized the complexities of human anatomy.

In stark contrast, my experience in art class was marked by a mishap that almost pushed me away from my artistic inclinations. I vividly remember proudly presenting a chalk drawing of fruit, mainly in black and white, to my art teacher. To my astonishment, he decided to add a splash of blue to my creation right before my eyes. It shattered my confidence, and I never returned to his class.

picture of the Lume Cube team at the WPPI
Erin Holmstead Photography

The Visual Magic of History

History class, on the other hand, held a different kind of fascination for me. It was the images in the history textbooks that truly brought the past to life. These visuals had a profound impact on my understanding of historical events, making the stories vivid and compelling.

The power of visual documentation became apparent to me. I realized that the ability to capture moments in time through photography was essential for preserving history. Without those who learned the art of photography, much of our history would remain obscured.

picture of a group of photographers photographing a women sitting next to a red poster with a light shining on it
Erin Holmstead Photography

A Nudge from Mr. Fenton

Despite these early interests, I pursued a career in the medical field, largely influenced by Mr. Fenton's guidance and encouragement. It was a field I enjoyed, but deep down, I knew I was destined to be an artist.

Although no one ever mentioned art as a viable career option, I inherently knew it was my calling. While I recognize the importance of professions like medicine, law, and policing, I firmly believe that artists play a crucial role in shaping our world.

Spreading the Message

Perhaps this is why I'm so passionate about speaking to the younger generation about the importance of embracing art as a career. I want them to understand that being an artist can be a fulfilling and financially sustainable path. Your art is a reflection of you, and it doesn't have to conform to someone else's idea of what art should be.

The art world has evolved to recognize the immense value of creative work. Pieces by artists like Cy Twombly and Andreas Gursky fetch staggering prices, illustrating that art can indeed be a lucrative career choice.

Twelve years after officially "retiring" from the medical field, I now make a living from my art. People commission me to create art for their spaces, whether it's for their walls or album covers. I've come to realize that being an artist isn't just a hobby; it's a remarkable and sustainable career.

black and white image of Alex Boye with a gold swoop across is face under his left eye surrounded in fur
Erin Holmstead Photography


In a world where creativity knows no bounds, it's essential to let our children know that being an artist is a perfectly acceptable and viable career path. Whether they choose to be photographers, videographers, graphic designers, or painters, their artistic journey can be a fulfilling and rewarding one. So, next time your child expresses an interest in art, consider encouraging their passion and suggesting an artist as a role model during career week at school. After all, art has the power to shape our world in unique and beautiful ways.


bottom of page