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.

Leslie Daniels | Actress, Writer, Comedian

Both of my parents are very cerebral people, my mother having a PhD and working in academia and my father having a masters degree and working as a construction manager. Education in a formal sense was very much encouraged growing up, so I went to university and studied pre-law thinking I was destined to be a lawyer. I soon realized that I have the exact opposite personality of any lawyer you’ve ever met and that I’d be miserable sitting at a desk reviewing documents all day. Read more>>

Quincy Thompson | Singer-Songwriter/Producer

Me pursuing a creative career simply came from me participating in the arts since childhood. As long as I can remember I’ve been either singing, dancing, or drawing…But growing up and finding out I could be paid from doing something I loved was a win-win for me. Read more>>

Kayla Bohan | Award Winning Actress/Songwriter/Performer

I lived a pretty normal life as a Californian kid, until eventually I developed a burning desire to pursue music and acting which only grew stronger over time. I was very inspired by movies and books where the main character helps other people by solving problems using their natural talents and passion. I started acting out the scenes of the characters I was inspired by. My mother took notice of my interests and wanted to support me. Read more>>

Zackary Rayner | Filmmaker & Cinematographer

There are many different directions I could have gone when choosing my career path, and I knew that I would feel most fulfilled and excited to work if I pursued a career in filmmaking and cinematography. There is a line between a hobby and a job, but to me filmmaking felt like neither of those. It was always something that motivated me to work my hardest and achieve the goals I had set for myself. Filmmaking has presented me with my hardest challenges and largest rewards. I knew that a career doing this would keep me moving forward, and excited to take on whatever came my way, and I couldn’t have asked for any more when choosing this path. Read more>>

Tyshawn Jaimson | Actor/Filmmaker

Coming from an abusive background, pursuing this artistic career was my escapism towards the healing process that the child in me desperately needed. Read more>>

Daniel Pablo | Musician and Producer

I think my creative output comes from the necessity of expressing things in a way that cant be translated entirely into mere words, It’s a search, a lifetime search of meaning, and a call to the adventure of life where you can show others something that might help them too to express what they cant. Read more>>

Teia Elaine | Neo- Soul Singer/Songwriter

Honestly, I never thought that I would pursue music. My father was a musician and I always correlated music with his absence in my life, so I bought against it. I pursued every other artistic bone in my body other than the one that felt the most fulfilling. I’ve always been musically inclined and artistic. I come from a musical family on both sides and I started singing before I was forming words. I began my music career in October of 2020 after losing my grandmother figure. A few days before she passed we had a conversation about my goals and she reminded me that you have to follow your dreams. Read more>>

Faith Crawford | Visionary, Designer, & Stylist

So to remain truly fulfilled in this life, I believe that one must continuously pursue their passions and continue to make space for like-minded individuals. For me, I’ve always envisioned myself doing something creative, whether it was designing, styling, even modeling, I’ve always seen it. I think there are an endless amount of reasons why I chose art over tradition but the main one is because I genuinely couldn’t see myself taking up anything else. Read more>>

Yimin Zhang | Technical Artist

I wanted to go into the entertainment industry as a visual artist from a very young age. My social studies teacher from Middle School Mr. Schaffer ran a news program that aired weekly in the school Cafeteria. He recruited me to help him with all the motion graphics needed for the show, such as intro animation, lower thirds segment openers etc. At the time, I only knew how to use Sony Vegas from Youtube, so I was basically using an editing software to cobble together free stock footage online to make motion graphics. Read more>>

JD McGibney | Musician, Entertainer, Mental Health Activist

Music became such an important part of who I was when I was a teenager. From the moment I discovered a genre of music that resonated with me, and picked up the guitar, I started relating everything to music. It influenced my social circles, the way I started to handle my emotions, how I would analyze the world around me, and even began influencing my philosophy on life. I had started out trying to build a “back-up plan” career, bu nothing touched my heart the way music did. Eventually I bit the bullet, as they say, and decided to build a full career in entertainment, focused around music. Read more>>

Maddison Haan | Composer & Songwriter

From a young age I’ve always felt deeply connected to music and the way stories are told through songs. I started learning piano at age 6 and something clicked in me then when I began to figure out the language of music. It was as though I had been given a way to better understand who I was and how the world around me worked. Since music has always been such a strong foundation in my life, I never questioned whether or not I should pursue it as a career. It’s always been an emphatic “yes!”. Read more>>

Lauren Richardson | Actor & Model

Pursuing an artistic career was never really a question for me, at least not for very long. I’ve been performing for as long as I can remember so it felt like it was the natural progression for me to pursue making art as a career. The medium that has always been most compelling to me is storytelling, more specifically, theater, film, and television. I’m truly inspired by many of the projects that are coming out now. Read more>>

Courtney and Stephen Stahl | Courtney: Artist/Songwriter Stephen: Artist/Producer/Songwriter

Courtney: Pursuing an artistic career wasn’t really a choice, it was a necessity. I promised myself from a young age that I would push myself everyday to achieve a creative career in order to avoid being in an office. Within my 10 years of living in LA, I signed my first publishing deal with Sony Music Publishing, wrote songs for major international artists, and sang on multiple national commercials and movies. All of my years of being in sessions, writing, singing, and everything in between, has shaped me into the artist that I have become. Read more>>

Amiyah Brown | Producer & Singer/Songwriter

I pursued a creative career because creating is what I take most joy in doing. Creating is my way of expressing myself in a positive light that could also encourage and inspire others. I believe that being creative and artistic will always be a main characteristic of mine, so to be able to turn that into a career as well is amazing! Read more>>

Smittybones | Portrait & Pop Artist

Growing up I was the kid that had every name of the colors in the crayon box memorized so art has always been a part of me. I would fill sketch books up with portraits and still lifes and sketches of movie posters I loved. It wasn’t until I started working on cruise ships selling artwork at the art auctions onboard that I really got into the business of fine art and kept thinking, “I could do this with my own art”. As artists we all have a story to tell, and that story is shaped by the the journey we have been on in life. After being involved in so many aspects of the art world, I finally decided this is what is want to pursue with own style. Read more>>

Rachel Andrade | Pastry Chef, Coffee Addict and Renegade

When I was a kid, probably around 8 years old, there would always be cooking shows and competitions on our tv. My family and I, we’d all be on the couch in the living room watching cake decorating shows or even regular cooking shows with celebrity chefs. Read more>>

Ricardo Mora | Commercial & Editorial Food Photographer

Starting my own business is something I had considered for many years, and I figured someday with enough time and experience I might be ready to go for it. I tend to be a perfectionist however and sometimes have trouble starting something new for fear of failing. Still, it is something I continued to think about, and many people would say that I should start my own bakery, because at the time I was working as a pastry cook for a hotel. Read more>>

Lisa Khiev | Creative Copywriter, Editor, & Wordsmith

I chose to pursue a career in writing because it was always something that felt the most natural to me. I have been journaling personally since I was a child, documenting my own thoughts, ideas, dreams and goals. It was a way to hear myself, share secrets nobody else knows, and allow myself to express. Read more>>

Jasmine Vital | Actor, Model, Content Creator

I decided to pursue a creative career because I wanted the freedom to live life on my own terms. I wanted to be free to go at my own pace, in my own lane. I’ve never been one to live life according to others peoples limitations, I’ve always had big dreams. When I was a kid I was never inspired to pick a normal career like everyone else, it just didn’t feel big enough. Now, as an adult if I wasn’t a creative I honestly can’t think of anything else I would be doing. Read more>>

Oscar Bautista | Musician and Community Advocate

I chose to pursue a life in music and art because I felt that was the closest I felt that I could combine self expression and self growth, but also so I could set an example in my community for those who wished to do the same. Growing up in my community of south central LA, I quickly realized there was a lack of resources in the arts. Read more>>

Nadia Voukitchevitch | Filmmaker, Producer, Director, Writer, Educator, World Changer, Activist and Mother

I remember taking a class in Economics when I was at Sarah Lawrence College and thinking how I must be as awful at business as my bohemian artistic parents were, but also realizing that I had to learn the basics if I was ever going to overcome being broke all the time. I suppose I always knew I would have a creative career because when I was about 10 or 12, I told my father, who spent most of his life writing and trying to get published, that I wanted to direct movies and change the world. He then told me: Read more>>

Linda Kaye | Poet, theatrical poetry producer, retired social worker and professor

Shortly after graduating from high school I began pursuing a career in acting. I spent the first 10 years developing my theatrical craft by performing in small theaters, and studying acting and training in all forms of dance. During this time I also acquired the operatic skills needed to project my voice, while also crafting dramatic and comedic art forms, in addition to learning the techniques of improvisation. One could say I was a triple threat! Read more>>

Natasha Ivkovic | Actor, producer, writer

It’s hard to pin point exactly why- it’s something I have always wanted to do since I was an infant. I think the best way I can explain it is wanting to contribute a therapeutic experience to humanity. Story telling has been an important part of humanity since the beginning of time, and film/tv is so powerful because people can have those experiences alone in their homes or in a theatre. Read more>>

Kez Henriixx | Singer and songwriter

Originally it didn’t start off as me wanting to pursue and artistic career. I started writing music in quarantine because I was going through a really bad breakup. I couldn’t go out and do what I would normally do to distract myself from the thoughts of having my heartbroken. For weeks and months I would just write and write and noticed I would start to feel better. I remember sending an old buddy of mine an old song I made before and he seemed to like it. Between him and my father telling me I should try to take it serious, was really all I needed to hear. Ever since music has been my main focal point. Read more>>

Rem Ritrato | Photographer and Graduate of Nursing

I chose to pursue photography because I needed something to take my mind off of the stress; specifically from school, my career, as well as my personal life. Over the course of 2019, I came upon some hard times. I experienced failure and loss beyond the limits of what I could tolerate at the time. After some time to myself, as well as some words of encouragement from my friends and family, I came to the realization that sitting around and hoping for better days to come wasn’t going to make my stress go away. Read more>>

Alex Ponce | Cameraman / Editor / Director

As a child I found myself constantly building scenes in my mind. I would recite lines that I would hear on the movies I would watch and act them out at school with me peers. of course, they would look at me like I was crazy but I didn’t care, I was stuck in another dimension. When my aunt would visit from Mexico she would bring her RCA camera that took VHS tapes and she would hand it over to me so that I could film anything I wanted on it. She would take the tape back to Mexico and my family would have a ball. Read more>>

Amanda Sue Bourda | Couture Fashion Designer

I truly believe that my zodiac sign chose for me. I am a true to form gemini. I am all about creative energy and self expression. I have dabbled in many forms of self expression over the years and my heart settled on fashion. The idea of creating a garment from a simple yd of fabric, or an unconventional material, for example “playing cards” which I just made a dress out of, really feeds my soul. Using my hands to create a wearable piece of art, its like breathing for me. The beauty of High Fashion, Couture and Avant Garde fashion took hold of me and never let me go. Read more>>