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.

Valerie Brandy | Filmmaker, Screenwriter, Director, Actress, & Author

I became a filmmaker and screenwriter because I believe movies teach us how to be our best selves. By watching heroes succeed, fail, struggle, and try, we start to imagine how we could be better. How we could DO better, out there in the real world. Fictional narratives give us a chance to imagine the way the world could be. Read more>>

Monai | Singer/Songwriter, Professional Dancer, Actress, Model, Entertainer

Art itself is a form of expression. For me that art began with dancing and singing. No matter what was going on in my life, I could always use dance as an escape or sing my feelings away. Read more>>

Bradlee Jaay | Singer & Songwriter

Music has always been my passion. As I pursued and completed various levels of education and professional pursuits I always felt an emptiness that only performing and creating music could fulfill. So I chose to put all of my energy and love into my artistic career because ultimately my happiness and fulfillment come first. Read more>>

Minkyu Kang | Film Director & Writer

When I was young, I wanted to be a doctor. Doctors giving hope to sick people looked so cool to me. However, as I got older, I saw the limitations of the profession of doctors. No one lives forever, and doctors sacrificed them for a battle they could never win. I looked for something to give people joy and hope in a way other than being a doctor, and then I started making films. Read more>>

Helle Urban | Artist/Illustrator

Ever since I was a young child I loved to draw! Moving to the U.S. when I was 5 years old I felt out of place a bit shy. My art has grounded me over the years and there’s nothing else I would ever have wanted to be but being an artist! Read more>> 

Dylan Lei | Independent Film Producer and Sale

I have always believed that artists have a social responsibility and that the essence of art is to help and educate society. I believe that art is a humanistic concern rather than an outpouring of expressive desire. Read more>>

Heidi Ziemann | Photographer & Student

I had quite a rough childhood growing up. I think creativity was always my way of escaping. I was very blessed to be able to attend performing arts schools. This allowed me much more of an opportunity to explore various types of arts. I played violin for many years, I took drama/acting, ballet, jazz, hip-hop, general art and photography. Read more>>

Kevin Moody Alex Perdomo | – Girlish Band

For us, there’s never been another option. The artistic path chose us! The two of us have had a mutual love for music ever since we met in middle school band class. It doesn’t stop there either. We’re very involved in the creation of all our visuals too. All our artwork and videos are a product of collaboration with our creative director, Tanner Deutsch. Read more>>

Yasmin Xavier | Actress & Model

I always knew I wanted to be an artist. I remember watching videos of me when I was 3 years old, the way I would carry my little microphone around with me everywhere, always ready for an opportunity to perform. I loved singing. I loved acting. But most of all, I loved expressing myself, and making the people around me feel a certain way about what I was doing. Read more>>

Juan Ferron | Audio Engineer, Musician and Composer

To be completely honest, I couldn’t see myself working a 9 to 5 corporate job somewhere. Spending my days in an office replying to emails and attending meetings. Wearing a suit and tie, dressing shoes, and holding a briefcase of some sort. Even though I finished and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Accounting, I did it as a plan B and as a way to get my music career the support that I needed from my father and family. Read more>>

Ayooluwa Owolabi | Digital Artist & Music Producer

To be honest, a creative career is what I chose because art is something I have been familiar with since I was born. I started sketching when I was still young, learning from my brother and at first, I just did stick figures and cartoons. I was exposed to a lot of cartoons, animations, animes and comics growing up, which is why I would draw characters from sources like Cartoon Network, Super Strikers, Naruto, and Marvel. Read more>>

Michael Marom | Photographer, Videographer, Editor, Creative Director

Creativeness was always something I had inside me since I could remember. Whether it be me trying to paint or taking videos and photos of my friends skateboarding or nature, building legos, etc, I was always trying to keep my mind busy with things I could be creative in. Read more>>

Chistina Linhardt | Chanteuse, producer, writer, dancer & theater therapist

I think the arts and creative path chooses us. Once, while studying at USC, in a Masterclass, one of the Opera Singers brought in to guest lecture said “Only pursue this if you absolutely can not do anything else.” At the time I thought ‘Of course we could do something else.’ But now, as the years have passed, whenever I attempted to “do something else”, creative work always pulled me in even further. Read more>>

Jennifer Grimes | Actor, Producer, & Executive Assistant

Art is transformative. It has the power to change our hearts and minds. And what is art other than a form of storytelling? I have written and deleted so many paragraphs on why I finally decided to pursue an artistic and creative career. And while its all true, it all boils down to love, the human condition, and my inability to repress my artistic expressions in pursuit of a more “responsible career.” In short, acting sets my soul ablaze; I love it. Read more>>