We asked some of the most creative folks we know to open up to us about why they chose a creative career path.  Check out their responses below.

Jabari Weathers | Illustrator, Writer, Game Designer

I wanted to tell stories and making my art always felt natural. I also grew up with video games and a lot of the experiences I was drawn to had its conceptual DNA in roleplaying games, so when I got to my professional career making art for tabletop RPGs and eventually writing for them at the same time felt like the natural way to share in that process. If I wanted to make my profession all about exchanging narratives and experiences with each other, I can’t think of a better, more organic medium to do so. Read more>>

Mitali Khare | Filmmaker

Ever since I was a kid the only way I knew how to communicate was through art. I was a shy kid so whenever it came to expressing my feelings I would draw it out or make small greeting cards and collages. When the time came, I was still wiggling my way through visual communication until this one Sunday me and a friend of mine were sitting in front of a historical monument and all I could do was stare at this structure flaunting the mughal motifs, it was a weird realisation because I was following the light fall on the pillars and ridges and then it blended into a tree, all I wanted to know in that moment was what the story was behind each of those lines and I wanted to capture it anyhow; so I tried to sketch it, didn’t do any justice and then clicked a picture as well. Now that I look back at it, it still lacks the storytelling but that’s when I knew how much I adored the visual elements and the harmony it exists in. Read more>>

Jason Madsen | Photographer and Visual Artist

My original idea was to create a tangible images for people in this digital age. I found it is also about the shared experience of creating a portrait for someone that keeps it interesting. I like to share how things work. Read more>>

Joyce Ng | Los Angeles Photographer (2wnty4)

As young as I can remember, I have always had a passion for the arts. Art was never an option as a career growing up in my family. It was just a matter of figuring out how to pursue and execute it to create income from it. I knew I love drawing, creating and anything art related. I was terrible at other school subjects. I felt in my soul I had to do something with it or else I wouldn’t be happy and it has been a long journey of discovering who I am and what I want from it. Read more>>

Ilaria Malvezzi | Actress & Filmmaker

It’s a very interesting question. I didn’t really have a choice. I think no one can “chose” an artistic career. We are born artist and we fulfill ourself by making art and satisfying our creative impulses. It’a force that can’t be tamed or contained. My first acting teacher Thomas Wait used to tell me that creativity and talent are like the roots of a tree: they break the asphalt. Art is not like any other industry or businesses. It doesn’t follow a linear curve, and it’s not motivated by money or fame. Art is a vocation. We have responsibilities towards our imagination and visions. I could quit any other day jobs, but I could never quit my art, because it would mean to give up on myself. Art and the artist are one entity. Read more>>

Priscilla Avila | Actress & Writer

I don’t know how I could choose another way of living that was not based on promoting creative and artistic content. In this pandemic more than ever we have learned the value of art. We were able to live without restaurants, without traveling, without shopping malls but we couldn’t live without a book, a movie or a song. Art has always been a human value of the highest quality and what influences and inspires generations in the most diverse areas. Elon Musk said that everything he does for the world today was inspired by science fiction books. Read more>>

Jolina Jasmine | Dancer & Drag Entertainer

I pursued an artistic career because I’ve been a super creative person my entire life. Ever since I was younger, I remember being fully invested in anything where I was able to create. I would put together my own Halloween costumes, I would paint pictures, and would make my own songs complete with my own dances. All of the little details mattered. As I grew older, I realized that creating my own art in any sense was something I truly loved to do. Read more>>

Jacob Masters | Music Artist (HighSchool Jacob)

For as long as I can remember I have been pursuing my music career. I knew I would be looking to do music for a living as I was graduating from high school and was applying to music schools. From that moment on I knew music was going to be a central focus of my life and identity and that really never changed. Music, for better or worse, is just wrapped up in who I am as a person. My ups and downs are directly linked to how I am feeling about myself as a musician and artist and as a result there really was never an option to do anything else. Read more>>

Tajh Amir | Rapper Singer

I pursued an artistic career because music was the first thing that gave me a sense of calmness, and made me expand my mind in a way to take a deeper understanding to the lyrics that were being recited over 808s. I started writing poems and rap verses at the age of 8, and when I finally got to a point of being able to record, mix and master my own music, I jumped on road and never switched lanes. Read more>>

Reece Lyons | Musician

At the ripe age of 12 I picked up my first guitar given by me by my grandmother. I had no Idea what I was doing yet I couldn’t seem to set it down. From the mahogany neck to the melodic sound the strings made, even the distinct smell of my grandmother’s house that never seemed to fade even with time, it became almost a comfort to me, like some kids with a blanket or teddy bear. It was all I really wanted to do or play with, A shiny new toy that was never losing its luster. I started to position and press down as hard as I could with my tiny fingers in ways that sounded different yet somehow right. An understanding of what I was so attached to began to blossom. I had no idea of what chord structures were at the time, yet I was creating E minors to F’s to C’s to G’s to what became music that I had no idea was in me. I couldn’t stop, I wouldn’t stop, it was the best part of me, little did I truly know at the young age of 12 that this would be my forever. Read more>>

Mike Chattem | Artist

I pursue an artistic career because nothing else seems fulfilling or worth it. By some cosmic coincidence we’ve found ourselves spinning around a star in the infinite abyss of space, somehow sentient on a world indifferent to triumph and suffering yet perfectly conducive to human existence. Making art seems like the most meaningful way of exploring this bizarre and spectacular accident. Read more>>

Alec Reyna | Writer, Director, Martial Artist

Ever since I was young, I’ve always been drawn to stories. One of my earliest memories is being in the theater with my family watching movies. It was kind of a family activity. Whenever a new release would come out or if a few weekends had gone by and we haven’t been, it’d be a family day at the theater. A good story will inspire, entertain, make you think…make you feel. And I think, that’s what connected with me most. Stories that made me feel. Stories that put me on that journey with the characters. I couldn’t get enough. Once I was old enough to go on my own, that’s where I’d spend most of my free time. I used to joke with my friends that the theater was my second home. Every summer vacation, I’d have this goal of seeing all the releases at the local theater down the street. I met it a couple times, and not for lack of trying. Read more>>

Phebe Starr | Artist/Songwriter

Cause I was a little bit crazy and didn’t have time to work that out and have a career at the same time. Read more>>

Gabriel Connor | Music Artist

I think music is a noble cause to live for and a form of expression like no other. Rock has been a huge part of my life since I was a kid and I wanted to create it the way I saw and heard it in my head. I was always passionate about it. Read more>>

Kristine Lo | Creative Director | Mindfulness Guide | Photographer

Although I have always been naturally creative growing up, I didn’t pursue any creative pursuits until my 20’s. It started with a fashion brand designing clothing and producing jewelry. I took 1 sewing class in college and was self-taught in making jewelry. It was purely out of passion and loved the feeling of freedom from creatively expressing myself. While I was starting my fashion brand, I was also in college. I suffered from a lack of self-confidence and self-worth. I actually didn’t really know what I wanted to do but did what I thought was expected of me. So I graduated with a degree in Public Health with the intention to work for non-profits that help communities in the public health sector. Read more>>

Elaine Unzicker | An Empowerment Couturiere For Women

As a child, I was taught to be quiet and not express myself. Intuition led me to study the arts; I find my voice when I create art. From my farm bred parents’ perspective, this was a totally unexpected goal. A business career path would have been more suitable. But, the quilting history in my family drew me to working with my hands where I finally settled on metal as a medium. And, once, the mockup of a nickel headpiece frightened me so much I hid it in the closet from my professor and myself until I was ready for it to be seen. Funny, that a visiting artist I showed it to, said, “It couldn’t be made.” An armor inspired piece, the headpiece, went on to be exhibited at the Schmuckmuseum (Jewelry Museum) in Pforzheim, Germany. Read more>>

B.B. Kates | Bassist & Vocalist

I played a lot of Guitar Hero 3 growing up and eventually got sick of playing all the same songs. I begged for a real guitar and ended up getting one for Christmas in 2009. I ended up picking up the bass full-time sometime in 2013. I loved playing, but never really took it seriously until about 2015. In 2015, I started creating a lot of covers online for YouTube and Instagram. I ended up reaching some industry people and bands who saw potential in me. To this day, I still talk to many of these people and am so grateful to have met them. I’ve been releasing my own original work with my band – we just released a single called “So Tired.” In addition, I now give bass and music lessons as well as do session work for others. Read more>>

Cristina Angeles, Ayana Parker Morrison N/A | Artistic Director and Creative Producer of Checkmark Productions

Checkmark’s mission is to create a home for artists of color to tell their stories and develop their craft. We encourage the growth of artists of color through the development of new plays, musicals, and screenplays. To do so, we fundraise to not only support our artists’ work, but also to compensate them for their time and talent. One of the main reasons behind the disparities in the performing arts is inaccessibility due to unpaid and under paid work. As a result, we work tirelessly to ensure every artist is given proper compensation for their work with Checkmark. Supporting artists of color will always be our focus. In doing so, we create a space that incites conversation, that cultivates a community of independent artists, and rethinks traditional producing models that challenge the limits of storytelling in theater, television, and film. Read more>>

Alex Ahr | Animation Director

Struggling to calculate the tip on my Denny’s grand slam breakfast, a child one booth over threw a strawberry jelly packet at my head. I was struck immediately with what can only be described as divine inspiration. Like a candle illuminates the darkness, in the dawn of a new strawberry understanding, I knew that I was meant to be an artist. Read more>>

Mia Scozzafave | Actress/TV Host

When you are a creative, artistic kind of person, it’s nearly impossible to not find a way, even unconsciously, of exteriorizing these artistic energies. For me, it is not much of a choice, it’s something that is in your core. The difference lies in people that find a way to channel these feelings and reshape in what we call “a job” and other people, for many reasons, put energy in other places, so that they can have a job, “to support ” their creative energies in their spare time. I believe if you are an artistic person and you don’t direct these energies somehow, you’re going to find yourself in a very unhappy place at some point. It has happened to me before.
However, the common denominator in all creative/artistic people that I’ve known, is that unique feeling that is very particular to each and only individual and makes you complete. It’s that spark that makes the whole world stop turning and freeze for a couple seconds being in your mind a pleasant eternity. It makes everything worth it and leads us to never stop to pursue it and feel it again and again and again. Read more>>

Noel Pastrana | Registered Nurse & Small Business Owner

Looking back I’ve always been a creative “artsy-fartsy” kind of person. I grew up playing with toys ranging from Legos to simulation computer games, like The Sims or Rollercoaster Tycoon, where I can be in a playground to create any environment my imagination could take me. This led me to pursue a career in Interior Design, but after graduating, life had other plans for me. Along the way, I gained a passion for fashion by working in the retail industry as a visual merchandiser for several brands, while ending up in a career in nursing. Lastly, my love for Disney started as soon I was able to watch these classic Disney stories like Cinderella, Pinocchio, Mary Poppins, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Beauty & The Beast. I fell in love with the lessons that hard work, integrity, living in the moment, chasing your dreams, and seeing the beauty from within are the life lessons we all aspire to achieve within ourselves. Read more>>

Steph Copp | Owner/Videographer, Steph M Copp Videography

What I love about videography is how multi-faceted it is. Sure, it’s a creative career but there is also so much technical savvy involved, as well as a good amount of working with clients and other vendors. I love talking with clients and helping them to get comfortable with what it means to hire a videographer and what to expect during the whole process. Most people haven’t hired one unless it pertains to their job and will probably never hire one again, so I think it can be intimidating and that’s not how I want my clients to feel. I want them to feel comfortable and excited and most importantly feel like they can trust me to translate their day into a video that does it justice. I love shooting because it’s a thrill to work within the timeline and the weather and create beautiful shots out of a location you may not have seen until the day of. I love editing because with each edit I can try something new and different. I also feel very connected to the work I do. Read more>>

Briar Rosa | Artist

Art has always been a great joy for me and I was very fortunate to have grown up in a nurturing environment. My interest in art has always been a continual pursuit and I’m blessed that it has had such a natural progression in my life. I’m very thankful to have such an identity. Read more>>

Yusuf Khan | Writer, Filmmaker, Podcaster

In retrospect, people and moments throughout my life solidified the decision to pursue writing and filmmaking. By people, I mean my family. I am the youngest of four children, born and raised on the southside of Chicago. I still have fond memories of my parents, brother, and two sisters packed in the car en route to see the weekend movie. There was something euphoric about the moviegoing experience. Finding your seat, the anticipation of the house lights darkening, the first image that shines on that big white screen. I knew nothing about how a film was made, all I knew was how movies made me feel. My first job was as a movie theatre usher in high school. One day, I was cleaning out a theatre between showings. I stopped sweeping and looked up at the scrolling end credits. As I was watching the numerous production jobs, I said to myself, “I can do that”. That’s when I knew I wanted my name to be up there. The dots were officially connected. Read more>>

Amanda McDonough | Deaf Actress, Author, & Motivational Speaker

As a Deaf woman, I definitely chose one of the hardest possible paths to pave for myself when I gave up my comfortable 9-5 desk job to follow my dreams of becoming a successful Hollywood actress. As a kid, growing up with hearing loss in the 90’s, I wasn’t exposed to any openly hard of hearing role models for me to look up to in the media. I found no characters on tv for me to feel kinship with, models in magazines didn’t showcase hearing aids on their perfectly dressed frames, and blockbuster movies didn’t feature heroes with deafness. I often felt alone, isolated, and sometimes like a freak of nature. Society instead, told me that there was a long list of things I “couldn’t” do. So, more than anything, I needed to see people like me defying those odds. As an impressionable little girl with a passion for art, music, acting, and singing I needed to be shown that my dreams were possible. So, when I grew up, I became the woman that my younger self needed. Read more>>

Craig Strong | Chef

I have always been interested in art and the creative process. Cooking professionally satisfies not only the creative beauty of plating, and flavor combination but with the added pressure of timing that needs to be orchestrated with teamwork. It is this dynamic environment that is challenging and rewarding simultaneously. Read more>>

J. Loree | Musician

As is the case with many creatives, I found music as a hobby but soon realized it could serve as an escape from the issues I was facing at home as well as an outlet for me to discover and express the feelings I was taught to repress. I have no idea who or were I would be if it were not for the artists whose music I sought refuge with. Beyond just enjoying the process of creating music, I knew that I could eventually end up on the other side of that equation and use my music to help the next generation of troubled youth who might not have other role models or feel understood by anyone other than the ones they hear in their headphones. Read more>>

Diane De Franco Browne | Diane De Franco Browne, Tania Grafos and Zoe Vidalakis are all Artistic Directors for Pasadena Civic Ballet

For Browne, her father was a creative not by trade but as a passion. He handcrafted artisan jewelry from precious and semi-precious materials. This led to Browne’s interest in visual arts in high school and in college. With an interest first in movement and martial arts, it was during her collegiate years she discovered dance, selecting the discipline as part of a double major at UC Santa Barbara. Transferring to UC Irvine she had the opportunity to advance her training under icons like Anthony Tudor. While she knew she wanted a performing arts career, she was drawn to choreography and arranging space. She chose to pursue a masters to poise herself for a career path that would extend beyond the life cycle of a performing artist. Browne spent years teaching dance at the at the community college and university levels including Trade Tech, East LA College and USC. She was hired as faculty at PCB following her graduate work and then offered to take over the studio as Artistic Director/Owner when the Founder, Elly Van Dijk retired. Read more>>

Tana Rose | Singer, Songwriter & Music Producer

One word: Happiness. All I had ever dreamed of ever since I was a little girl was becoming successful and happy. Later in life I discovered in order to be successful, I needed to achieve happiness first. Any other career path that I might have taken would of only lead me into a boring lifestyle that I didn’t want in the first place. My passion for music started when I was only a toddler, and has grown extensively ever since! Having a career in the music industry is the only thing that truly makes me happy. Read more>>

Charis Hartley | Hairstylist

I realized as a teen what one of my big loves was. What I didn’t realize then was how valuable that discovery would be. When we go through high school and then onto college having to blindly a choose a career or decide what job might suit us can be an incredibly daunting process. I started creating with hair color and cutting around 13. Hair, pottery and dabbling in acrylic painting became my art outlets. It wasn’t until I was in my early twenties that I had the chance to turn art into a career. I was laid off from a job in commercial insurance and took that opportunity to enroll in Cosmetology school. Read more>>

Duy Nguyen-Amigo | Singer/Songwriter & Social Worker

I’ve been singing for as long as I could remember, but it wasn’t until the age of 9 or 10 when I knew I wanted to become a performer, breaking into the entertainment industry. I initially had this endeavor, simply to share my love for music and create meaningful connections with an audience. As I got older, I went through my fair share of personal and professional adversities. Through these life experiences, my intentions certainly broadened. To elaborate on this, I now use my music as a platform to share stories (storytelling is such a powerful moment), and inspire others to live their most authentic and intentional life. Also, after becoming aware and even experiencing the struggles of being an API artist trying to navigate through such an intense industry, I strive to break down barriers alongside other fellow API creatives. We, as a community, certainly need more and proper representation. I’m also a mental health advocate, so the integration of having those conversations through music is an important deal to me. I guess you could say I’m pretty holistic in that sense!. Read more>>

Miika Mz.Inkbomb Coffey | Tattoo Artist

I pursued an artistic career all because I felt self expression is most important to me also because a lot of times I tend to be a “Loner” I guess you can call it, to be able to express myself through art means everything. Read more>>

Laurine Lambert | Actress

I always knew that I wanted to study film and later work in the entertainment industry. I decided to pack my bags when I turned 18, and to study Film Production at Santa Barbara City College. I had never even been to California before, so it was a sudden move to a strange place. It was a valuable experience being an international student. It has taught me to be persevere, independent and not give up on my dreams. Santa Barbara was only an hour and a half away from LA, so there was also a lot happening there regarding film. I studied full time and also managed to do some theatre work to gain more experience. I worked at the Santa Barbara Bowl during my free days (one of the main reasons to see Depeche Mode). I also worked at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival as a production assistant and met a lot of filmmakers. Read more>>

Adrian Joseph | Wardrobe Stylist & Creative Director

I wanted to be happy. I believe the secret to happiness lays in living life on your terms and loving what you do for a living. From a very young age, my parents had their own business and it was always rather small but sufficient and fulfilling to their personal growth and the success of our family. We weren’t financially rich but we were wealthy in many other ways that stemmed from the success of their business and what that did for their emotional well being. They were alarmed when I went into the fashion world. I was a small town boy with no financial backup, moving to NYC all on a hunch, that it was the right thing for me and what I wanted to be a part of. I did the 9-5 lifestyle and corporate rat race for a while to upkeep my artistic endeavors and unpaid fashion internships/opportunities, but I knew that’s not what I wanted for myself. Read more>>

Chayce “Chaycin Change” Whiting | Recording artist & Entrepreneur

I never really decided to pursue a career in the arts. Since as long as I can remember I have been drawn to music. My father is a musician and has a great singing voice. I grew up with his singing being a relevant thing even though he never pursued a career in it. I owe my family for a large part of my love for music. I always found it amazing that works from centuries ago are still preserved for the sake of the “culture”. Art is one of the few things that lives forever. Since childhood I have been fascinated with words and the way when used in the right order some of them feel like they were created to be next to certain others (words). I’ve always been drawn to creative expression but as I got older it became a necessary therapy for me to release my thoughts and frustrations via lyricism. I knew I couldn’t be the only one feeling or thinking the things I was, so when the response was positive I knew that my intelectual property could be of great value to my family and legacy since it’s limitless in resources. Read more>>