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.

R.3.D | Rap Artist

My father inspired me as a young child watching his music videos & being in the studio with my dad for hours upon hours, I began to be interested in producing first before I actually converted into practicing lyrical content. Once i turned 13 years old & Outkast’s Speakerboxx/Love Below album dropped I had my mind made up I wanted to be a rapper. Read more>>

Ronan Colfer | Actor and Writer

For me it seemed like the only plausible course in my life. I was never really interested in school and my teachers were probably all very aware of this. The only areas where I showed any kind of interest was either in English class where we would get to do creative writing or in art class where we were usually fully allowed to express ourselves and our creativity. When I finished school, I then tried my hand at college and enrolled in a computer programming course, but after about a year I decided it wasn’t for me and so I left to pursue acting fully. I first enrolled in a one year acting course in Dublin, and then went on to study for a further two years at another school in Dublin. During those years I felt completely in touch with my creativity and it was the first time in my life where I felt I was pursuing a career that my heart was fully involved in, after that I knew there was no turning back… Read more>>

Abby Cali | Illustrator & Animator

As a kid I constantly doodled on every scrap of paper I could find. I still do this today, but it used to get me in trouble. I had teachers take off points for drawing on homework, and I remember one instance where I drew on an important original document that my parents needed. Aside from those little hiccups, adults were for the most part pretty encouraging of my love for drawing. When I thought about art as a career, however, my only concept of visual artist jobs were famous old painters and sculptors. Read more>>

Jake Spurlin | Songwriter, Vocalist, Rhythm Guitarist – PCL

Music has always been a huge part of my life and growing up I always knew that I wanted to pursue a career playing music. I am a huge fan of 80s rock and would always go to concerts and see bands like Poison, Motley Crue and Def Leppard. I’d go to these concerts and be absolutely blown away, so I’d always imagine myself playing on stage. I played baseball all the way through college which consumed all of my time growing up so I never had time to learn an instrument. It wasn’t until my freshman year of college my best friend and bandmate , Kyle McGraw, taught me how to play the bass and introduce me to the world of pop punk and metal core. Read more>>

Myriam Lopez | Actor

Since I was little I always wanted to be an actress, but my parents never supported me, therefore, I ended up being a teacher. I moved to Canada and when I tried to continue with teaching I did not succeed. I was thinking of going back to Mexico, because I was feeling depressed, like something was missing, and my husband was the one who told me to do what I always wanted to do, which is acting, since I started I have not stopped one single day, and every day I am either on set or in class it’s a moment that I never want it to end. It gives me life. Read more>>

Aswan Harris | Actor & Entrepreneur

I wanted to pursue an artistic career because I love the thought of being able to one: adopt a different mindset or point of view of the world by understanding the psychology of the mind of a character, which allows me to be both more empathetic towards others as well as allow people to take their mind off of whatever hardships or frustrations they may be going through at that time while they are watching a play or movie that I am performing in. I have always been a creative person, growing up I use to sing in a choir & was good at drawing. Read more>>

Taylor Roberts | Writer, Designer, & Entrepreneur

I have always found myself to be best expressive on paper, or through my writing. Since childhood, I had never felt that I was truly understood unless I wrote it out. As an adult, during one of my lowest points emotionally, I began to fiend for a creative outlet. I turned my mental struggles into short-story poetry. I began sharing my work on my instagram page, ToldByT in hopes of creating much needed conversation as well as inspiring others to be more comfortable in vocalizing their struggles and triumphs surrounding mental health. To my excitement, I have been continuously building a community of like-minded and engaged supporters. This support inspired me to turn my passion of creating, helping others, and connecting into a fulfilling career. Read more>>

Jsmooth Aka Jay Gutierrez | World champion Artist

That’s a good question, an interesting one, I’m gonna try to briefly summarize a long answer to this one hehe. Well the truth is I did not know I was pursuing a creative career until I was actually pursuing it. I’ve been in love with dance since I first started to love music, and seek out and buy albums of artists when I was growing up in the 90s. I guess you can say I danced my way through all my teen years up until it was no longer something that just made me either happy or something that made me feel challenged but something that would take me all over the world and be able to make a living off of. Read more>>

Katy Ronis | Digital Illustrator & Content Creator

Looking back, I think I always had a desire to create. I grew up in an overprotective household, so for a long time I was uncertain about my future and had very little faith in myself, but I knew I had a knack for illustration, so I took a chance to get away by going to art school. It was there I realized I truly wanted to create and draw for a living. I was free to express myself, both in my work and my day-to-day life, for the first time. I never wanted to forget that feeling. Read more>>

Morris Madrone | Music Artist | Entrepreneur

To put it simply, playing music is sort of a necessity in my life. When I play, writer or perform music I think more clearly, I have more energy and I simply perform better in life. When I don’t play music (for long periods of time) it tends to haunt me. I can’t sleep, I feel foggy and I’m just not as happy. You see, I have an acute form of dyslexia with a hint of ADHD, and playing music is my remedy. It’s the only activity I can sit a chair and focus on for 6 hours at a time with out any external motivation. I’m simply in love with it and thankfully, I’ve gotten pretty good at it. So I guess I’m pursuing an artist career because my cognitive function and overall happiness is dependent on playing music… so I might as well do it for a living. Read more>>

Bryce Marrero | Writer & Director

Growing up, I had a hard time expressing myself. I would shut down, instead of voicing my thoughts. So, at an early age, writing (and later, filmmaking) became ways I could say what’s on my mind, and communicate what I sometimes would rather keep to myself. It’s a therapeutic process that I enjoy, though I’m probably crazy for trying to make a career out of it. Read more>>

Tommy Lei | Content Creator, Interior Designer and Artist.

As a content creator, designer, and artist, I get asked this question so often. And quite honestly, it’s not an easy one. For one, an artistic and creative career isn’t for everyone. It really stems from this pulsing urge and need to create, to tell stories, to start a visual dialogue. There is a calling aspect to it. And this exact calling had reverberated throughout my life. It didn’t stop until I picked up the camera again and began sharing with the world my love for photography, interiors and travel on my blog and Instagram. Life was never the same again. It felt so right and so invigorating. Read more>>

Tara Jenkins | Filmmaker and Actor

I pursued a creative career because I felt an imperative to tell stories and amplify voices. That’s the romantic answer, but I think you have to be looking at the world from a bit of a romantic perspective to decide to embark upon a career in the arts. The on the ground, daily experience of pursuing a creative career is not very romantic. The freelance life is challenging and there are a lot of difficult decisions to be made about work/ life balance and about how to maintain a healthy outlook. That being said, it will only really work if you don’t lose that feeling of the magic of it all. Read more>>

Jessie Lee | Film Editor

As a teenager, I played with my dad’s DV camcorder and shot home videos with my friends. I began editing the footage into scenes, and we started making up more elaborate plots. It was when I was trying to cut dialogue scenes, that I realized there was something magical about lining up different shots next to each other. The sequence of shots created a story, and it gave more meaning to each frame. I realized that editing created relationships between the people on screen. It could show what was not said between the characters, and to me those moments are the most important. It was such a powerful, magical feeling that I kept wanting to make more films and practice. Read more>>

Ashley Sheriff | Illustrator and Character Designer

I decided to pursue art from a pretty young age, but I think my specific interests in art have evolved over time. When I was in middle school, I thought I was going to be a writer but once I moved schools I realized through my middle art school teacher that visual art was my biggest passion. I had grown up watching animation and Disney movies like everyone else, and so I set my sights on working in animation. It took me a while to find out exactly what I wanted to do in the industry, but once I found out why I wanted to make work and what works brings me joy, it didn’t matter so much about the specifics. Read more>>

MARIA ESCOTO | CHEF & OWNER

Since being in the culinary industry for 9 years, I soon realized that I was not really meant to be in someone else’s kitchen. I loved cooking for others with my own touch and my own menu. Within the first month of announcing Covid back in March 2021, I found myself unemployed like many. I couldn’t fathom just being at home doing absolutely nothing. One morning I was in bed scrolling thru Instagram and saw a Tea House was offering to go Tea Boxes to enjoy afternoon tea at home. I immediately started to see If this was something I can do myself and thought “Hey what can I lose?” I bought my logo for $50 and started creating my own menu. Within 2 weeks I launched my first box and sold over 70 boxes. It was such an amazing feeling. Ever since day 1, I have had many people support my small business and I have been forever grateful. Read more>>

Ben Fosselman | Storyboard Artist, Director, & Animator

Basically, I don’t know how to do anything else. Being creative has never not been a part of my life it’s something that goes back to even some of my earliest memories drawing or coloring. Creative expression has always been my favorite thing to occupy my time with, whether it be drawing, music, or writing. It’s so baked into who I am at this point that I don’t even think I could function doing anything else. In fact, I know I can’t, I have tried it before. It was horrible. Read more>>

Maddi Manheimer | Fashion Photographer & Designer

I come from a family of artists and creatives. Although my original plan was to be an ASL (American Sign Language) teacher, I like to think that it was my destiny to become a photographer. From both of my grandma’s paintings, to my grandpa’s creations, to my mom’s jewelry making and vintage fashion collection – all influenced my journey in some way. Most of my family got the talent to create things with their hands; unfortunately, I didn’t, Instead, I have an eye for photography. I started taking photos when I was very young, but It wasn’t until I took a darkroom class in high school that I discovered my forever passion. I love being able to show others how I view the world through my camera lens. Read more>>

Titus Maz | Musician, Guitarist and Producer

I think behind any artist or musician there is a need to say something and express yourself in some way. Coming from an environment where there were musical directors and painters among my parents and ancestors i might have absorbed both the passion as well as the cynicism towards art. Passion lies in the spark and the fire that fuels the joy and beauty of performance, sharing your ideas and way of playing with others while cynicism means asking yourself question on what’s the meaning of it and realistically seeing all the flaws, the superficiality and even the vanity behind it sometimes. I chose to say something as an artist or musician as, first of all, playing an instrument has, long ago, become a physical need, plus i’m fascinated by the lifelong process of refining your craft, always finding new expressive tools along the way, even changing your taste and adapting your production to a new way of seeing things. Read more>>

Soma Helmi | Director and writer

I grew up with artist parents – my mom was a jeweler and my dad a photographer. They instilled a curiosity about creative art and I really wanted to keep pursuing it. I also can’t imagine doing anything else now. The idea that as a filmmaker I can transform what was once a figment of imagination into something everyone can watch on their screens, is somewhat magical! Read more>>

Amanda Fang | A Taiwanese Independent artist – Released EP

Being an independent artist, I love the process of how I make music. In the process i can communicate with myself more, express my emotions and say what i want to say in my songs. At that time, i can really be myself, and temporarily forget the worries and just focus on my music in my own world. By being creative in my music I can always give myself more challenges and freedom. I can try something different to break the normal, and knowing what i am going to do, makes it more better. It always opens up my mind to the horizon and helps me to see how big music actually is! So, that’s the reason why i’m doing what I am doing. Read more>>

Alex Gonzalez | Artist & Sign Painter & Muralist

Thats a good question, I don’t give it much thought but to be frank my answer is a two way street with two different answers. I pursued an artistic career because 1. I had to and 2. I wanted to. Being a painter and drawing was a skill I developed at an early age thanks to my older brother, it was all I knew and felt comfortable doing, but growing older I realized I had to do it and not just for art sake but because it was paying the bills. I found a balance of doing both. Read more>>

Robert Delgadillo | Vocalist, Producer, Engineer, Songwriter

Growing up I was always interested in the word “desire.” It’s not until recently that I am starting to understand what I have always truly desired. My parents used to have me do these lip sync shows for our school when we were young. They would dress us in intricate outfits, build parade-like props, and teach us choreography that lead to the lip sync shows getting a little competitive. My dad always tells me that I never wanted to do the choreography exactly how he taught but instead would freestyle and get the crowd interacting. In retrospect, I really just wanted to dance on stage and get everyone laughing and smiling. It truly made me smile at the time and still makes me smile to this day. There’s nothing as freeing to me as that form of expression. That’s why I pursue an artistic career, freedom. Read more>>

Nathan Kwan | Illustrator, Designer, Screenwriter

Honestly? There just isn’t much else I’m capable of. A toddler, a pack of crayons. too many back pats, and boom: You have a future artist. Creatives are absolute failures at being content, leading us to both exhilarating journeys of growth and self-destructive spirals of doubt. May seem counterintuitive, but I find it worth it. The cycle of trying, failing, and repeating is a taxing one, but the repetition took me to where the cycles are increasingly reduced to just trying and repeating. As unsure as an electric vehicle stock, the creative journey is a slow investment that only possibly can bring a fruitful outcome. Read more>>

Jessica Khosravian | Illustrator

I was fortunate enough to have parents that had an appreciation for the arts as well as being creative in their own rights. My parents never discouraged me from being artistic but like many other immigrant parents, they worried that the arts would not be a secure career. They had struggled in their own creative careers and wanted a better life for me. Wanting to ease my parents worry, yet not wanting to totally abandon learning all I could about art, I decided to go down the path of becoming an art therapist. Read more>>

Blake Lewis | Music Producer, Entertainer, Vocalist, Beatboxer, Voice Actor

It was uncontrollable. Some people have vices or addictions that are tangible. For me, it was always singing, doing cartoon voices and making strange noises with my mouthhole. LOL I was that weird kid in junior hight trying to make you laugh or subconsciously beatboxing never knowing I was annoying you. I couldn’t help it. It innate in my characters design. I feel the universe put me on this planet to communicate my craft at an early age. It didn’t become a career until I channeled it all after high school. I’m rebellious in spirit and knew I had to make this a career, whatever that entailed I was ready Read more>>

Brittany Tomkin | Comedy Writer & Producer

I always wanted to be a writer, even as a little kid – with the exception of when I was 8 and wanted to be a secret agent. But I was always writing, starting in elementary school with short stories about cute dogs, moving onto crudely-drawn absurdist comics in middle school, emo poetry in high school, and finally satirical comedy in college. Comedy writing became this fantastic outlet of creative expression and I knew that this was what I wanted to do in my career. That’s easier said than done – I definitely spent a few years waffling in TV promos and ad sales before I finally found a community of fellow comedians and creatives who had the same goals as I did. Read more>>

Yon Natalie Mik | Dancer, writer, researcher

I became a full-time artist and researcher because my work allows me to make the most use of my imagination. I believe that imagination is a very powerful form to study life and it offers me the best possible place from which I can cultivate a creative practice that can be compassionate and useful to others. Imagination, in my case, emerges as spirits, dreams, images, or when the yearning towards someone or something becomes too strong and unbearable. There might be a difference of awareness, but I think that we all, no matter what line of work we’re in, ultimately act and think from a place of imagination. Read more>>

Spencer Phillips | Business Owner & High School Teacher

Being a creative is in my blood. I wanted to showcase my abilities through a means of self-expression and artistic creativity. My company, Monster + Ghost, allows me to do this on every level. I have total control over the products I choose to share with people. In many ways, they are getting a glimpse into my life which is filled with happiness and joy, struggles and hardships. All of my passion goes into creating new products that will appeal to the masses. Read more>>