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.

Apra Bhandari CEO, Adaa Dance Dance Studio | Studio owner and founder of Adaa Dance

I wanted to open a studio that would welcome everyone who wanted to experience the joy of dance. I feel so blessed every day that I am able to share my love and passion for the arts with all my student. There is so much value, benefits and power in arts and dance for a child that really need more attention and focus. As a parent, I am very mindful of making sure my own kids have a well rounded exposure as I have seen how deeply and intuitively children connect to music, dance and movement. Read more>>

MADSN | Singer/Songwriter

I pursued an artistic career because, for as long as I can remember, I have always had a passion for music. Growing up, I would write songs at recess and put on shows for my family. Now at 23, I still have that childlike joy and love for music. It’s been one of the few consistent aspects of my life that I can always count on. The feeling of taking an experience and making something beautiful out of it to share with people is, to me, the best feeling in the world. And despite all the challenges it may bring to be in a creative field, I still choose every day to pursue a career in music. I believe that we don’t get to choose what passions find us, but we choose whether or not to follow them. I have decided to follow my heart and it has led me to music. Read more>>

Terrence Jones | Writer/Director

Looking back, I think that I was always going to end up in a creative career one way or another. Even as a kid, I frequently found myself doing film related things. When I was around eight, I wrote a short script starring Ernie from Sesame Street along with some of my other stuffed animals in a courtroom drama. Years later, when I was in high school, my English teacher assigned the class an open-ended project. Most people chose to do an oral presentation or create a poster. I decided to go a different route and instead chose to create a black and white “Twilight Zone” style video presentation, complete with me acting as the Rod Serling-style host. Read more>>

Emily Barth | Small Business Owner & Marketing Specialist

I’ve always considered myself a creative person with a range of interests. I work full time as a marketing specialist, but have also had my own creative pursuits simultaneously. I created Scents by Scorpio because I wanted to be my own boss, express myself and to first make a product that I believe in so others believe in it too. I pursue a creative career because it fulfills me, and I love the challenges in managing my own brand and the creative problem solving I do to balance a full time job and a passion of being a small business owner. I do this for myself because no day is exactly the same and I thrive in that diversity. Read more>>

Vanessa Hernández Cruz | Disabled Dance Artist & Disability Justice Activist

I chose dance because it has allowed me to embrace my disabled body and my disabled experiences. It has become my coping mechanism against ableism and societal norms. Dance is an exciting universe full of unknowns and possibilities. As soon as I begin my practice, the rest of the world evaporates and I feel right at home in my body and mind. Creating dances is a portal to untold stories and ideas. Once the process is over and its has been performed; I gently let that dance piece go. It becomes a core memory. But the magic is in the actual process. It’s an intricate maze of problem solving and creativity. Read more>>

Ann Warque | Dancer, Singer, & Actor

I knew that I wanted to be a performer since I started dancing at the age of 7. I always daydreamed of being on a stage in front of an audience, whether it be through dancing, singing, or acting. Since I basically grew up at a dance studio, being a dancer became my lifestyle and an integral part of my identity. I later discovered my passion for musical theatre in high school. Pursuing something other than dance was never an option for me. I was already looking up college dance programs in middle school. On my 18th birthday, I got accepted into my dream school, Loyola Marymount University. Read more>>

Zach Benson | Pop Musician & Producer

I’ve been constantly creating/performing music since I was about 13 years old. At this point, having to stop would feel like cutting off an arm. It almost feels necessary to create for me — I can’t think of a world where I’m not making music in some capacity. Read more>>

Isabel Soto | Actress

I pursued an artistic career because I think is my purpose in life . I remember when I finished high school , everyone wanted to go to the university but I didn’t feel that was my call. I wanted to listen to my heart and I realized the best path for me was to study acting . I went to Cristina Rota in Madrid ( Penelope Cruz studied in this school ) , at the time I didn’t have any idea about acting techniques. It was a very powerful experience for me , because I learned a lot about myself, and it’s through myself and my emotions how I give life to the characters I have the pleasure to play. Read more>>

James Barton | Photographer and Creative

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been interested in the arts. Whether it was performing in community theatre to the singing as a principle role in the San Francisco Opera, the passion was always there. Somewhere down the line I got confused and began to study biology of all things in the hopes I would eventually become a doctor. The thing was I really didn’t want to be a doctor – the sterile environment, the routine – it just wasn’t fulfilling in any way for me. Fast forward to college and I’m working as a medical officer at a summer camp and though it was fun to interact with the attendees I found myself rather bored. Not only that, but the work was tough and relatively unrewarding – I took a firm look back at what I wanted and figured out it wasn’t a career in medicine. Read more>>

Paige Forbes | Creative

For ten years I bounced from one job to the next, restaurants, customer service, retail, administration and even corporate. Each job drained me and left me feeling unfulfilled, and every night I would come home and paint to escape and drown out the monotonous experiences of the day. I never lasted more than a year in each job. My life felt pretty empty without art and that’s how I realized I had to make art my life or I would always feel that way. Read more>>

Simona | Singer, Songwriter, Actor, Writer

I don’t think I pursued or rather chose this path. This path chose me and even though I grew up in a non creative household and didn’t really have the opportunity to express myself creatively growing up in a small town in Germany, I ended up in Hollywood. For me it’s really life or death, because if I wasn’t able to write songs and movies and act, dance and sing, it would drive me crazy and it would feel like I am imploding. Read more>>

Alexsey Reyes | artist & photographer

I was never truly passionate about the things taught in a traditional school setting. From a young age, I found myself turning to art at any given opportunity. I knew I was meant to create and as I got older I realized the potential this could be to a long term career. Art makes the world go round. Everything around us is designed, photogrpahed, or directed by a creative. This means that the hands of what representation looks like for the younger generation is in our hands. It’s an extremely important responsibility to me, and being able to push culture forward is such a rewarding career. Read more>>

Jay Miehli | Singer | Song Writer

The reason i pursue an artistic/creative career is because it runs through me. I love and enjoy the challenge writing songs presents to me. When i get everything exactly how i want i feel a moment of ecstasy, followed up by a moment of wow lets do this again but better! There are values of art in everybody its just a matter if we are willing to find out which art values are more keen to us individually. With an artistic career I’m not restricted with my vision, as long as i can think it and organize it correctly in the physical world anything is possible. Read more>>

Kevin Xu | Student & Vis Dev Artist

As a kid I’d often go around running his mouth with crazy random ideas to whoever would listen. I think it started with recapping the stories of books or comics I had read. I would find a friend who had never read Calvin and Hobbes, or Percy Jackson (some books I had read religiously growing up). and would want to sell to them the story as best I could. My hope would be that they would read it and we could talk about it together. As I kept doing that, I found myself wanting to share my own stories. So I would start writing drafts of fictional scenes, and jot down random off the cuff ideas. Read more>>

Joan Zodianz | Astrologer, Author, Artist, & Spirit Medium

I chose to pursue an artistic creative career because writing and art are things that I’m most passionate about. I love the idea of creating something timeless, impactful, emotional, intuitive, and inspirational for others to enjoy. It’s also my outlet for emotional expression. Read more>>

Pano Fountas | Film Composer, Orchestrator & Pianist

My career choice was the result of a conflict between reason and passion. I started playing the piano when I was ten. I remember how eager I was to learn pieces fast, to see “what’s next”. Over time, I became increasingly interested in the orchestra, the different instrumental timbres, and how they are combined. After I got my first computer at the age of fourteen, I got a notation program to start composing. Read more>>

Du’Shawn Hausley | Song Writer, Artist, Black Collector & Entrepreneur

Since the age of 5 I have always been the creative and artistic business child. I used my creativity from writing music, hairstyling and making art to inspire others as I created a stream of income. As I matured and began developing my mindset, I turned my focus to solely on building a legacy through creating a custom lifestyle which encompassed music, art, clothing, and more. This came as no surprise to those around me and my family. They call me the “Renaissance Woman.” Read more>>

Conrad Javier | Art Director/Illustrator

Drawing has been a driving force in life since the moment I picked up a pencil. I started drawing because I wanted to be more like my big brother. That love of drawing led me studying traditional painting and drawing in college. Being a creative was always the one thing in my life that truly didn’t feel like work. Now, don’t get me wrong, it takes a ton of practice and patience to hone your craft, but I love every minute of it. It’s the thrill of learning something new that excites me. Being creative is at my very core and influences every part of my day. I love it. I’ve loved art since day one and I’m blessed to make a career out of it. Read more>>

Heather Lew | Ceramic Artist

I actually went to college for business and that was my main career focus at first. After a few years of office jobs, I gravitated towards ceramics as a way to manage stress. Growing up with artists in my family and doing pottery at a young age definitely set me up for pursuing something more creative. At first ceramics was a hobby to help me escape my job. Eventually I had enough customers emailing and messaging me wanting to place orders that I decided to focus on being a ceramic artist. Having a creative career is so fulfilling and energizing, but it also can be extremely overwhelming. In the end it’s worth it because I love that I’m creating functional art that will bring joy to peoples homes all over the world. Read more>>


Evren Edler | Bass Guitar Player & Composer

Among many reasons, I pursue it because I found it is the best way to express myself to others. This could be to the audience, other musicians on the bandstand, my students, friends or family. I think it is very rewarding to see yourself improving in the field you are passionate about although artistic career can be tough and risky at times. Read more>>

Jonathan Heffner | Music producer

My mom is a screenwriter and my dad is a cinematographer so art has always been a big part of my life. I always thought I was going to be in their field of work but never thought I’ll end up making music. When I was about 15 my dad introduced me to the music of Kanye West. At the same time, my Highschool sent me to a music production course. As I was learning more and more about music production I delve deeper into the music of Kanye West and hiphop in general. After about 3 years of experimenting in production I met a few people that also made music and started working with them. We instantly became friends. I never looked back since. Read more>>

Randall Byers | Rhinestone Artist

For me, it was my own personal pursuit of freedom and happiness in a world that has 101 opinions on what you should be doing with your life. I am well aware that I wouldn’t be happy working a 9 to 5 job, so making art is my opportunity to keep my own hours and choose the projects that I put energy into. Plus, I can show up to work stoned everyday and no one cares. Read more>>

Sylvester Rivers | Composer, producer, arranger and pianist

I could say that music chose me, in that I never considered anything else. I believe that musicians are born and not made. While everyone loves music, only musicians feel compelled to join in and generate their own contributions to the musical landscape. Read more>>

Mula Migz | Rapper

The reason why I pursued my music career 10 years ago is because I started to have a passion for writing music and coming up with different ideas on how to become a big artist. Also as a young kid I always been into music. Read more>>

Kimberly Davis | Screenwriter, Author, & Customer Service Rep

I am of the mindset that, sometimes, we do not purse artistic careers. Instead, they pursue us. I know. It sounds cheesy. But how else do you explain it when nothing in your environment sets the tone for creativity? There’s no one around you molding pottery or reading books. There’s not even anyone writing—not letters nor in a journal. Yet, there you are, scribbling across pages. It’s inexplicable. Read more>>

Roxanne Griffith | Producer

This is something that I ask myself often, but I feel it comes down to having a desire to create. I’ve always been interested in telling stories, and was one of those kids who liked making things up to see when people would catch on. As an adult, this transitioned into wanting to tell stories and to work with others and helping them tell their stories. As a producer, I find it so rewarding to work with a director or writer in developing their scripts and ideas. Read more>>