Is there a book you still think about? Perhaps a book that made you challenge your beliefs, attitudes about life, work, politics or culture? Has there been a book that deepened your convictions or broadened your worldview? These are among the questions we asked some thoughtful members of our community recently and we’ve shared their responses below.

ZiCheng Li | Writer, director, poet

I took my first class on cinema in my Junior year in college when I was still pursuing a degree in psychology. It was the only filmmaking class available and I just thought it would be interesting to learn about making films. I took the class just for fun, but it changed my life. In the class, we talked very little about film histories or the techniques of production, but more about what did we want to say using cinema and why did it have to be cinema. We also watched a lot of masterworks, which opened the door to the fantastic world of cinema and filmmaking. Read more>>

Matthew Kaminski | Film Composer

Pursuing an artistic and creative career stemmed from having a desire to make people feel less alone. All my life I have been fascinated with helping and relating with people by having meaningful connections. Music is one art form where people consistently connect with each other. It is a universal language that makes you want to cry, dance when no one is looking, or hit rewind. Read more>>

Kikee Bah | Singer/Songwriter

I fell in love with music at a really young age. My people are from The Congo and music has always been a big part of our culture. I grew up in a very eclectic household. We would listen to all genres and appreciate each and every one of them. I remember watching concerts of one of the most entertaining singer/songwriter of all times (Michael Jackson) and seeing the impact his performances would have on people. I remember people being mesmerized with him almost as in some sort of a trance, and I remember thinking, with my little brain at the time, this is what I wanna do when I grow up. I wanna be on stage, and touch people’s heart. Read more>>

Cooper Walker | Musician

Question I’ve always found creative ways of expressing myself… when I was a kid I would draw on everything – tables, walls, myself… I remember getting in trouble for carving “Z’s” into the drywall at my parents’ house in Los Angeles after watching Antonio Banderas as Zorro. I never meant any harm by it, I was just paying tribute to my inner rebel. Thankfully I’ve learned a little self-control since my days as the masked crusader but I never outgrew my passion for conscientious objection. Read more>>

Randal Fisher | tenor saxophonist

When the idea of pursuing the arts as a career choice was introduced to me, it was clear that it was more than just a job. It was an entire lifestyle, a higher calling, a purpose that is bigger than just going to work and making money. i was privileged enough to be around artists who embodied their art in such an inspiriting way that I couldn’t help but desire to experience that myself. I think it was best decision I’ve ever made. Read more>>

Deepa Subramanian | Art Gallerist & Curator

Well, creativity is the larger part of me although I wandered afar before I got back to where my heart belonged. It is practically impossible for everyone to pursue a career which they love from the start. The first set of cards that was dealt to me did not have a creative aspect to it. But I had to go through it and finally got to where I wanted to be only after a decade or so. But the good part was that I gained a corporate experience which I could use in the business of running an art gallery. Read more>>