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.

Brian Alfred | Artist, Professor, & Podcaster

I think I chose to be creative and make art first as something that I felt very excited by. Making art was something that I couldn’t quite figure out and it seemed so open. The career part came after. I came up in a time when career wasn’t mentioned in school much at all. It was more about understanding art and working hard and letting the other practicalities figure themselves out. It wasn’t easy learning how to navigate a career on my own, but I learned. I have devoted my life to creative pursuits and I couldn’t feel like I made a better decision. Read more>>

Ahku Gardner | Actor

I believe that my artistic career chose me and that it was in my DNA. Two of my sisters including myself have always been into drawing, painting and poetry. I remember doing a stage play in the first grade and falling in love with performing. As a child living in the world of imagination was a place I spent a lot of time. Read more>>

JaDarrel Belser | Actor/Writer

I decided to pursue a creative career because I found that it brings me the most Joy of anything I’ve done in my life. I love talking about movies and TV shows and video games and such. The moment I got the chance to finally do what I’ve always dreamed of in that I became an actor, I knew from then that this is what I wanted to do with my life. The process. The commitment. Read more>>

Elysse Moore | Creative Entrepreneur

Growing up, I spent my formative years doing what I felt would make my parents proud: playing sports. It kept me feeling accepted, and safe, but it wasn’t my heart’s calling. I loved to sing, dance, & write. I loved taking pictures, creating with my bare hands. Read more>>

Alex Norris | Photographer

Art has always interested me, I can’t really explain it. I tried many different facets before finally narrowing it down to photography. I’d really been into photography, I think, without really knowing it. Read more>>

Jessie Field | Playwright & Director

I pursued an artistic career for two, equally good reasons. First, because I have something to say. Quite a few things, actually! I want very ardently to grip every living person’s shoulders and make a lot of meaningful eye contact and say directly to their faces “hey, you are okay exactly as you are. In fact, you are perfect. Read more>>

Zheyu Liang | Film director & editor

In my teenage years, the word my family members and friends most frequently used to describe me was “premature.” At a time when my peers were devouring animated cartoons or popular blockbuster movies on their screens, I was watching documentaries, independent, international, and art house films. Read more>>

Rainy (Yushan) Zhang | Illustrator & Art Educator

In a way, it just came naturally because I love drawing and have enjoyed it since I was very little. I was a little troublesome during primary school because I kept making up imagined stories and told everybody as if it was real. Read more>>

Andrew Kesler | Musician, Producer, Composer & Arranger

Like many musicians I caught the bug when I was very young… two years old! I grew up in the prairies of Canada in a house filled with instruments and records. I was immersed in music and found myself constantly discovering and exploring new sounds, be it Hendrix or Handel. Read more>>

Julia Shinkareva | Photographer, Writer & Creative Director

My grandfather was a writer, dad an amateur photographer and a musician, and grandmother was an art critic, though she never worked officially she still wrote an enormous amount of reviews and provided me with a good artistic background. Read more>>

REKHA IYERN [Fe] | REKHA – IYERN [Fe] is a Canadian Musician & Visual Artist

Ever since I was a child, as early as 4 or 5 years old, music and art always blew me away. For me it was the magical happy high I simply couldn’t get enough of! I would get lost in the joyous high vibrations of a favourite song or a piece of art shown to me & would put my all & beyond into it whether at home or at school. Read more>>

Brandon Widener | Director & Cinematographer

The reason I pursued a career in the arts is because it was filled with people who I related too, offered a lifestyle I wanted, had endless stories to tell, and provided the sort of experiences I wanted to be a part of. I figured if anything was worth filming it was also worth living. Read more>>

Gina Gonsalves | Animator & Artist

My decision to pursue an artistic career actually was not an easy decision for me initially. I always loved drawing and art, since I was a toddler, and I always wanted to do something in animation. But once I got to high school/college, I unfortunately faced a lot of judgement and criticism from people, like many artists do, when I initially had thought about pursuing it. Read more>>

Theo Hyppolite | Director Of Photography

I pursued an artistic / creative life was because the medicine world was not it for me and being a creative has always been my dream and I am extremely happy to be living my dream! Being a creative has allowed me different ways to express myself while continuing to be the meticulous and detailed person I have always been. Read more>>

Blase Groody | Professional Musician & Producer/Sound Engineer

Well, when I was really young my dad picked up the saxophone because it was something he just always wanted to do. He just started playing it lol props to him for trying something new. In the beginning my sister and I made fun of him a lot because, of course, he was a beginner and sounded like crap LMAO but eventually he started taking lessons with a guy and started sounding a lot better. Read more>>

Sean Liang | Actor/Producer/Director

I’ve thought about this all my life. I grew up in Florida with separated parents who both worked a LOT. Most of my early childhood was spent under the watch of my Gaga (grandmother), and unless I was in the pool, I hated the outdoors because it was Florida. So I was in a lot of ways raised by the TV. Read more>>

Ramsey Heitmann | Film Producer

I realized very early on in my life that a typical 9-5 job was not something I connected with. I wanted excitement, spontaneity, and the ability to create stories and media that would represent my voice and my ideas. Read more>>

Kirtan Tom | Allied Woodshop – Owner / Director

For a long time I didn’t. Right out of college I got a job doing customer service at an office. I hated it, but I figured it would be temporary. Then they offered me a sales position with a salary and benefits. I went home and told my partner and immediately started crying because I thought I had to take the job. Read more>>

foroozan shirghani | multidisciplinary artist

I always thought about where I could freely experience and discover life beyond the usual rules and regulations. I first experienced a sense of freedom when I was a child and wandering around my father’s farm with my sketch book. Since then, I have been mesmerized by art and nature and they always give me such a feeling of strength and peace that I could not give up on them. Art, like an opium, always soothes and makes life’s suffering bearable for me. Read more>>

Grayson + Grey Prnce | Multimedia artists + creators

Grayson: I’ve always pursued creativity, but it’s also always been around me. Grey: I pursued a creative career, because it felt like I had no other choice. Creative work comes a lot easier than anything the opposite of that. Read more>>

Whitney Alix Jeffries | Graphic Designer

I pursued an artistic career because I wanted to make a living doing what I love to do. When you love what you do for work, it doesn’t feel like work and that was my goal. Read more>>

Madeline Morningstar | Project Manager, Curator, and Researcher

I never grew out of my theater kid phase, and my performance studies nerdery has truly become my predominant personality trait. I work puns into every conversation, regularly make obscure references to the show ‘Falsettos,’ and talk about liveness with a religious fervor. Read more>>

Genia Kuypers | Writer, Journalist and Chronic Illness Content Creator

I chose to pursue an artistic career initially because it drew me in the most, I felt the most comfortable in creative fields. Growing up with a learning disability and being identified with Attention Deficit Disorder, it became clear early on that part of finding a career I would be successful at I needed to be fundamentally interested in it Having ADD makes focusing difficult, even more so if you aren’t enjoying or drawn to the topic itself Read more>>

Cynthia Guardado | English Professor, Consultant, Poet.

I always want to say that writing chose me, and this is mostly true. I really never had any intention of pursuing a career as a writer or professor. Growing up in the 90’s (pre-smart phones) I spent a lot of time grounded (for fighting in school, among other things), my parents wouldn’t allow me to watch TV or do anything that was “fun” but I was allowed to go to the Inglewood Public Library and check-out books. Read more>>

Isabella Brenza | Actor

Expressing myself through the art of acting provides me with an outlet and allows me to embody many walks of life. Having a deeper understanding and broader perspective of others inspires me to be a better person. Read more>>