We asked some of the city’s leading artists and creatives to tell us about how they decided to pursue an artistic or creative career. We’ve shared some highlights below.

Elmer Abapo | Songwriter and Producer

Over the years, I’ve definitely recognized that making music and writing songs is something I’m good at and it’s one of the main things I can never get tired of. Even if I wanted to stop, I don’t think I could because the ideas in my head won’t ever stop. Read more>>

Abe Song | Composer, Producer, Pianist

I like doing music more than other things, and I think I can do the most amount of good with music. I like the idea of doing good in other ways, maybe as a doctor or an engineer, but I just like the idea of it. I actually tried to make a career switch to medicine. Read more>>

Cami Storm | Actress

In short, because acting is the only thing that sets me on fire. My passion for this industry runs deep and I have felt the calling ever since I can remember. I always knew I would do something creative or artistic with my life. As a kid I tried drawing, writing, dancing, singing and playing pretend among many other things. Read more>>

Viannca Martinez | Resin Artist, YouTuber, & Social Media Marketer

2020 stripped away a lot of the things we loved to do. Specifically, it took my love of seeing friends and relatives, live music concerts, and traveling (all of which I treasured so dearly). I was left with my phone screen and that was not healthy for me. I knew I needed a hobby that didn’t involve scrolling through news all day or watching other people’s lives. Read more>>

Hitomi Matoba | Writer & Model

Creatives of all mediums bring more color to the world we live in. As a writer, model, and an all-around artistic being, I want to play my part in this painting called life, adding to it my words, my poetry, and through other creative ways where I can express my emotions vulnerably. I can’t not create, to me it’s like breathing if I stopped I’d suffocate and it would take away so much vibrance from my life. Read more>>

Ana Sofia Fehn | Actress and Model

For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be in front of people—acting, dancing, whatever I could do. I love to make people laugh, to take them on an emotional journey through the characters I play. However, as I have gotten older my passion for acting has evolved even more so. There is a social responsibility to use my creative career for good, especially with the widespread reach movies, TV shows, podcasts, and other forms of media have. Acting is story telling, and the ability to tell stories that move others, that inspire, that educate, that is my goal. Read more>>

Amalia Santa Maria | Filmmaker & Storyteller

To me being in a traditional 9-5 job has always personally meant the death of my soul. We are born with a set amount of time. The idea of me giving away my time (that I will never get back) to someone that I may not even know is unbearable. So pursuing an artistic career has always been the only answer for me. Read more>>

Alison (Ali) Woods | Fine Artist & Accidental Curator

It never occurred to me to be anything else. I was brought up in a family of professional artists going back three generations on both sides. I was surrounded by art and artists and assumed that I would also be one. When I was four years old I watched my grandmother make a large mosaic mural. Read more>>

Kosta Galanopoulos | Musician

I knew early on that I dug the feeling of music and being able to create. It’s always been in my blood. Once you have that itch.. it never goes away. To be able to make others feel that emotion too.. that’s some heavy stuff. It’s a feeling. Read more>>

Christopher Roe | Photographer & Model

It’s some thing I’ve grown up in since the day I was born. I think photography is a beautiful art form…..you can tell so many stories within just a picture it really is a beautiful way of showing your vision. Read more>>

Andree Lin | Sound Designer & Sound Editor

Ever since I was a kid, I have always been drawn to creative arts. My parents exposed me to different kinds of arts at a pretty young age. Even though neither of them was an artist or worked in an art-related field, they took me to see plays and made me learn the piano. We would visit museums or go to the movies during the weekends. Therefore, my childhood was filled with artistic activities. As a quiet, shy kid, I gradually learned to express myself through drawing, writing stories, and playing music. Read more>>

Charlie | Owner of Glamour Society LLC

Fashion has always been a part of who I am. As a child I loved playing dress up, in high school I loved styling others, in college I became obsessed with online shopping and boutiques. Fashion has always been my way of expressing myself creatively. It was the one space that I could truly be…free. Fashion also allowed me the opportunity to make other women feel beautiful and confident which is an exhilarating experience for me. I honestly feel as though fashion pursued me in a way. Read more>>

 Luna 13 | Band

I believe an artist is a natural born thing. An artist has to create, it’s like a spiritual therapy that is a necessity. The phases in my life that didn’t include art were a real challenge. Dark art is the most fulfilling aspect of LUNA 13’s life. Read more>>

Mikua Mori | Dance Instructor, Choreograpger, Performer, English Teacher and Translator

I am a dancer and I love to create shows and perform on the stage to inspire people. When I was 11 years old, my mentor made me cry with her performance. I was moved and the moment is unforgettable. Because humans have emotions, doing whatever I love and inspiring people are amazing things to me and others. Read more>>

Corey Kupfer | Filmmaker

It’s the only thing that ever made sense to me. At a young age, art was a refuge. For many years it was the only place I excelled, the only place I could see myself as “good” or “right,” when in so much of the rest of my life I was lacking as a student, deemed a trouble-maker or more harshly a “bad kid.” Read more>>

Chenxi Huang | Object Designer & Yoga Instructor

To be quite honest, I didn’t know I would pursue a creative career. Growing up, most people around me are fixated on an antiquated impression of a designer: he (not she) is “gifted”, is good at drawing things, plays some instrument. etc. I remember the 10-year-old me in an after-school painting class, the instructor refused to critique my drawings, diplomatically citing “too creative” .  Read more>>

Luis Chamorro | Digital Content Specialist & Photography

I pursued a creative career for a couple of reasons. First, from a young age, I’ve enjoyed artistry and creativity, like video games, movies, novels, and imagery. Video games and novels, in particular, really spoke to me. In both mediums, game designers and authors would tap into their imaginations to bring forth a world that anyone can experience. This is why I pursued a degree in English with an emphasis in creative writing. Read more>>

Guillermo De Fazio and Giovanna Dan | Argentine Tango Performers, choreographers, and directors.

We pursued artistic careers as a consequence of having been surrounded by and captivated by many different artists from a young age. From families of musicians and dancers, the spreading of art whether it be through teaching or through theatrical performances, has always been an important part of our lives. Through out our careers, every project we have done has been part of our mission to spread the joy and fulfillment we feel having Argentine Tango in our lives, as our families did for us. Read more>>

Nico Duarte | Video Director, Director of Photography and Video Editor

The reason I pursued a career in creative direction in film/ video production is the ability to work with like minded individuals who all have the same goal of bringing a specific vision to life. Read more>>

Leslie Foster | Experimental Filmmaker & Installation Artist

I feel like my journey into art has been a series of small decisions over a long period of time all guided by my need to find a medium and a language with which I could truly express the weirdness and beauty that kept colliding inside my brain. Read more>>

Phoebe J Yung | Filmmaker & Creative Portrait Photographer

In my career of filmmaking, I knew that I wanted to be able to develop and execute the creation of diverse stories that not only highlight character-driven narratives, but I also always hoped to represent those who may not necessarily have a voice in this industry. Read more>>

Maria De La Ghetto | Comedian

It’s all I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid. I’ve always been a performer. Unfortunately, my parents didn’t have the resources or knowledge to put me on that path early on. But I’m actually grateful that I wasn’t a child actor or got into the business too early. Especially, with all the #MeToo cases and child abuse throughout the years. Read more>>

Thalia Nino | Wedding Photographer

I was always an art kid, even in high school I took all the art classes. I never took a photography class thought. It was just a hobby of mine that I loved so much since I was younger. I had thought that I wanted to pursue art and design but when I told people around me, they said I would never make money and to think of something else. Read more>>

Molly Warburton | Musician

Since a young age I always had a love for music, as I pursued my dreams of becoming a musician through school I was always faced with people doubting my career choice. As a young artist all I ever wanted to do was share my music with people which is the main reason I am a musician today.  Read more>>

Travis Covington | Creative Director & Content Creator

I pursued a creative career because of my love for the art of production. Shooting videography, photography and filmmaking, it gives me the opportunity to create at a high level. It also allows me to influence and entertain the audience’s eye with my own style of work. I have the luxury of managing my own work hours, and having patience with my craft. The lifestyle can be artsy, lots of fun, and full of creativity, but it also brings obstacles that will strengthen you as a creative. Read more>>

Eric Marq | The Filmmaker & Musician

Freedom. The freedom to fully LIVE and FEEL. To learn more about myself on a daily basis. To make “Dreaming” full time… and most importantly, to inspire. Growing up, the most memorable moments were the feelings I would get when watching a certain performance in a film, or hearing a specific part of a song playing on the radio. Read more>>

Jim Stone | Abstract aerial photographer

My favorite thing in life is perspective – how it can be so different between two people and how one can change their own just as much. With my work, my aim is to provide my viewers with the adventure of experiencing a new perspective with each piece, and ideally more than once in each viewing. Read more>>

Charia Rose | Writer, filmmaker, and Mariah Carey enthusiast.

When I was younger, I tried every possible sport and activity and none of them stuck. I remember that my gymnastics classes were the same time as my favorite TV show at the time, and my priority was watching the show. That was kind of the moment that it became clear that my passion for film and media was going to be path for me. It was truly the only thing in the world that made me happy and I was genuinely a great writer and performer. When I realized you could get PAID to be an artist, it was really over. The arts have always been the one thing that made me feel safe. It was the only true career option for me. Read more>>

Kanika Lal | Journalist & Artist

I ask this question more often than not these days. At first, when I stepped into this creative jungle, I did not feel the need to question my intention, my reason, or my decisions. After a while, the career can drain you of your bright spirit, your willpower and your reason for existence. Read more>>

Juliane Hooper | Singer and songwriter

Well, I’ll start defining what an artist is to me. Being an artist goes beyond choosing a career. I believe nobody chooses to be an artist.Being an artist is something that comes from the soul, and, once you realize that, it’s a one way street. You can’t ignore that part of you and you cannot choose not to be an artist. This is what I’ve learned in my not-so-rare existential reflections! Read more>>

Whitney Wood | Singer/Songwriter/Worship Leader

I began singing in college as a way to be around friends and avoid any homework. I always knew music was in my family, but had never committed to it as a hobby, and especially not a career move. Upon graduating, after switching majors, ditching most of my classes, and joining different musical groups on campus, I realized it was a passion that I was determined to pursue as my life’s calling. Read more>>

Alvaro Gonzalez | Screenwriter & Director

This is what I’ve always seen myself doing. I’ve been a bit actively pursuing creativity since I was a kid. I would reenact scenes of TV shows with my toys and eventually tell my own stories. I mean not bad for a five year old. Overtime I learned more about various forms of media and my story telling matured beyond the playing with action figures, but I still try to hold on to that sense of wonder because it’s what kick started everything in the first place. Read more>>

Alice Esposito | Photographer

I love connection, with people with places, I love the lightness of feelings, some can be everlasting but at the same time nonpermanent, and the photography process helps me keep all of it with me and understand it better, I have always been interested in people and their relation to light and space surrounding them. Read more>>

Anna Thatsanaphonh | Chef of The Epicurean Bunny and Partner of Banana Leaf Kitchen

I’ve spent the last 10 or so years working in a corporate office setting so that’s all I knew. But ever since I was young, I knew my passion was in creative arts. I dabbled in writing, photography and painting but as I got older, my corporate job took up all of my time. During the pandemic, I realized that my soul was craving a creative outlet and I had all the time I needed to get back into it since I lost my job. I spent the time I had perfecting my dishes as I’ve always loved to cook and expressed myself artistically through my plating and recipes. Read more>>

Nissan Mosapor | CEO and Co-Founder, Metropolitan Animal Specialty Hospital (MASH)

My first experience working in a vet hospital was part of an after school program at my high school, which was when I fell in love with the profession. In the veterinary field, we talk about a moment that drew us into the profession. I think my moment occurred at a young age when I would rescue the bees and insects in the community pool. My mom always told me I had a special way with animals and I felt there was this unspoken bond I had with them. Read more>>

Tina Mirka

I knew that I wanted to pursue acting from a very young age. I always had a highly active imagination. As other kids would play during recess, I often found myself daydreaming about all of the things I could become in life. Later on, I was able to funnel this curiosity into learning how to play different characters. And even to this day, there is little that fulfills me more than getting to delve into characters living lives so different from my own. But at the end of the day, you realize that we’re all not so different at our cores. Read more>>

Jordan Pratt | Singer-Songwriter

I chose a creative career because I have always had the desire to create. Growing up, I was always making things. I made these terrible stop action movies with LEGOS and equally terrible short films and music videos later on. I was convinced I would be an author in the third grade. I shifted to writing music in middle school, and that stuck! Read more>>

Llewellyn C. Radford II | Actor, Writer, Entertainer, and Inspirer

I believe God blessed me with gifts and talents to share with the world…and it’s my job to do just that. Along the way I realized I was meant to inspire people and I found that out by simply pursuing my passion which is acting. Read more>>

Nic Saavedra | Music Producer & Audio Engineer

I decided to pursue an artistic career because music has always been the best way for me to express my emotions. I’ve always had a hard time putting my feelings into words, so rather than tell you how I’m feeling, it’s easier for me to emulate it through song. Read more>>

Monique Dominguez | Designer, Painter and Illustrator

In fourth grade, I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up by a C.H.A.M.P. (College Headed and Mighty Proud) mentor from Azusa Pacific University. I declared that I wanted to be an artist and she looked at me like I was crazy. I changed my mind a few times before I chose to major in Illustration in college. I decided to pursue what fourth grade, Harry-Potter-obsessed me set out to do. Read more>>