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.

Chris Willard | Unit Still Photographer

Well, my love of photography began at a young age. When my father, Rodger Willard, handed me my first 35mm Film Camera, a Canon AE-1. Instantly I am hooked. I fell in love with taking photos, so much so, I quickly decided to set up a darkroom in my fathers’ basement. Read more>>

Divinity Roxx | Artist, Composer, Author

From the moment I discovered the power of words, books, music, and my own imagination my only desire has been to create. I fell in love with hip-hop as a kid and started writing my own raps when I was about 11. I founded a hip-hop group in high school and we were pretty serious about “making it”. But, I left home and went to college across the country in order to pursue a “real” career as a journalist. Read more>>

Yukari Yokomizo | Hairstylist, Musician & Jewelry Designer

I always knew I wanted to work with my hands. I have an attention span that requires movement and challenges to keep me engaged. Even when I was still in high school, I was drawn to hair. Starting as young as 10 I would use hot rollers, and wouldn’t leave the house until my sections were perfect to my standards. Read more>>

Eric Thornburg | Electronic Music Artist / Producer

Growing up I was always an “outside the box” type of thinker & doer. Something about the unfamiliar or unpopular (at least where I am from) excited me which ultimately led me to pursue a career in music producing/live djing. With art there is no ceiling to your potential that can be reached, there is always room to grow, learn, and push your craft and the feeling of knowing there is constantly more to discover continues to keep my drive and passion so alive! Read more>>

Robyn Jade Pelayo | Visual Development Artist and Small Business Owner

Since I was a little girl, I’ve always been captivated by animation films and games. I invested a good chunk of my time watching the behind-the-scenes features of movies like Atlantis and Prince of Egypt or reading art books in the back of a bookstore. While I always wanted to be an artist, I decided to put art on the back burner to go the medical route during my first three years of college. Read more>>

Kate Crash | Conceptualizer of the Future, Record Producer, Filmmaker, Artist

Art, science, tech, history, equality, philosophy, innovation all inform each other. The boxes we put on all of the varying disciplines don’t really exist. As a creative, I utilize my abstract thinking capabilities to meld seemingly disparate aspects of humanity, compassion, news, and invention to envision various potential futures to make commentary about the state of Earth. Read more>>

Connor Casper | Rapper, Producer & Sound Engineer

Music has always been a pure source of inspiration and joy for me. Growing up I felt like I could easily be successful in a different lane if I wanted, but I knew deep down I wouldn’t be as happy or passionate about what I was doing. I never had the focus for school, but something about the magic of creating music allowed me to have my head down looping a beat for hours at a time. I think at the end of the day it was just a decision to pursue happiness more than anything else. Read more>>

Charlene Aragon | Tattoo Artist & Body Painter

There’s always a thrilling chase with a healthy dose of uncertainty that comes with having a creative career. Everyday is different because the projects and people I make art with are. I like not knowing what to expect and being challenged to push creative boundaries and open up my perspective to grow with the times, art, and people around me. It’s a career that constantly pushes me forward, while keeping me on my toes, and I love that. Read more>>

Kayla Renner | Holistic Esthetician and Evolutionary Herbalist

I believe creativity has been apart of my being all of my life. As an Aquarius Sun and Cancer Rising, I inherently lean towards my creative side by using my hands and heart. As a young child I was the only girl of 3 boys, so outside of playing soccer, I spent a lot of my time playing in my room with my imaginary friends (really just my stuffed animals). We had tea parties, painted nature scenes and made potions, so creativity runs in my blood! Read more>>

Chico McGee | Artist/Creative and Brand Owner

I feel as though being a creative chose me. My brother and I were a curious kid’s and did everything. From fishing and golf to basketball and wrestling. I always felt as though I could be great at anything I put my mind to. I found out I could write poetry in 3rd grade and fell in love with words. When I found out I could make music myself, I never looked back. The older I got, the more I realized that was the path I wanted to take. Regardless of the level of difficulty or naysayers that comes with this line of work. Read more>>

Diana Vergara | Creative Writer | Producer | Actress

I have always felt like being a creative soul is both a blessing and a curse, which oddly enough is how I always felt about having big boobs. I didn’t get to choose either of those. I just had to learn to live with my physical body and creative intuition and ultimately learn to honor and protect them both. Read more>>

Ronald Katagiri | Multimedia Artist

I have always done different forms of art. I started with Traditional painting and transitioned to graphic design. I’ve worked for a TV company for 7 years where I learned a lot about filming, photography, marketing and advertising. Read more>>

Tina Vonn | Singer, Actor, Filmmaker & Writer

I always knew from as early as I can remember that I loved singing, acting, creating, reading and writing. It was in my blood. My father and grandfather were both incredible artists, my grandmother knitted and sewed the clothes for everyone in the family and my mother loved to sing. Read more>>

ILIONA BLANC | Singer Songwriter & Director

I could never picture myself doing anything else. I’ve had the soul of an artist for as long as I can remember. I just love creating and I have a lot of imagination. Read more>>

Emma Pyne | Actor / Writer / Creator

Because nothing else feeds my soul! I just have to create! I’m just not good at doing things that I don’t like! I’m an actor and writer and believe me, I’ve done all kinds of jobs to support my artistic life over the years, but I literally start to die inside if I’m not being creative. Read more>>

Chelsea Vainio | artist, actress, & activist


Michael Alvarez | Director

Theatre has always been part of my DNA. From my earliest memory, I always knew it was my calling. So, I never questioned the “why” of it – I just did it. As I got older though, the why began to reveal itself. All through my childhood, and well into high school, I took part in every theatrical project I possibly could and hoarded every cast recording for every musical I could find! Read more>>

Erik Russo | Actor & Artist

I chose an artistc career to inspire my daughter. Growing up in Providence, RI for over 40 years and moving to Los Angeles, CA was an abrubt change for me. Year in year out, I felt my life was idle in my 9-5, 40 hour a week graphic design job for a corporation. Sure I was getting by, but that didn’t mean I was living. Read more>>

Christian Haynes | Writer & Director

I’ve always been a creative person and wanted to have a career where I had the opportunity to explore my creative ideas. I was pretty scared of pursuing a creative career because I didn’t think that it would be practical, so I at first decided to pursue stable jobs. But after a while, I just wasn’t feeling fulfilled creatively and I came to the point where I really wanted to pursue my passions. Once I did that, I felt so much more myself and motivated to do what I love doing the most. Read more>>

Bria Wade | Actress/Creative

Art moves me. It inspires me to continue the creative process in my own unique way. I’m most confident when I’m creating, and I’ve noticed I’m able to motivate others through my creativity. Honestly, no other career choice has given me the feeling I receive when I create or watch others create. Read more>>

azurae shults | Wedding and event producer

I have always had an artistic pulse. Although I can’t draw worth a darn or sculpt or produce art in a tangible sense I am inspired by beautiful things and feel that artistic expression spans so many forms- for me, my art is creating experiences. Weddings and events are an experience for both the people who are hosting the celebration as well as the guests who attend. Read more>>

Hannah Tizedes | Artist & Environmentalist

From a young age, I was drawn to anything colorful. If I could have chosen where to spend all my time in school, it would have been the art room. Although I loved science experiments and learning about geography, I was drawn to imagery and the impact it had on me. Read more>>

Josephine Clarke | Artist, Entertainer, Songwriter

I grew up in the Arts and would literally dream of performing in stadiums. I would put on concerts for my cabbage patch dolls, and even did a full 30 minute Barbie dance workout for “show and tell” at school so Performing is in my blood. Being an artistic child meant I was sometimes misunderstood but I never cared. I knew my calling was in the arts because that’s the only thing that truly made me feel happy and complete. Read more>>

Lily Sparks | TV writer & author of Teen Killers Club

I know of a skiier who answered the question, “Why do you ski?” with, “To be with the mountain.” For me, writing– screenplays or novels– is a way to sink more deeply into the people and feelings that really interest me. Read more>>

Caleb Auston | Musician: “Ghostribe” and Photographer

For most artists and creatives, “choosing” to pursue your passion isn’t much of a choice. I have considered and attempted other career paths, but creativity for artists is as essential as oxygen or sustenance in that without it, we cannot survive. This path is not for the weak of heart or the soft of skin but when creativity is the language that you were given, there isn’t much of a choice other than to speak. Read more>>

Daniela Amaya | Fashion Designer

I always felt that I was meant for the creative field. As a kid I wanted to be a pastry chef, letting sugar be the medium in which I expressed myself in. Instead, I ended up in the fashion industry, which really wasn’t a surprise; I would make clothes for my Barbies out of scrap fabric and draft patterns for felt teddy bears that would later hand-sew and embellish myself. It wasn’t until high school and joining our fashion design club that it truly clicked and I wanted to pursue a career in fashion. Read more>>

Nick Frangione | Filmmaker

When I looked at my life and a daily dedication and responsibility to something, I couldn’t imagine anything other than the arts. It’s the way I communicate. It’s the way I know how to contribute something to the people I love and to the world. Art connects us, inspires us, and transforms us. It allows us to see ourselves in others. To me, a career in the arts is a high-stakes profession because artists can impact so many lives and help move society forward. Read more>>

Goldie Vargas | Singer/songwriter

I have always loved to entertain people ever since I was a child. I came to the realisation that through pursuing music I would be able to not only entertain but to make others feel a deep sense of emotion and transport them to a space and time of familiarity. Read more>>

Ashley Aurora | Rapper/Singer/Songwriter

Art in general, namely music and film, has always had a special hold on me, my imagination & my life. I can’t remember the day I learned to ride a bike and I couldn’t tell you what any of the books I read in school were about, but I still remember all my favorite songs from childhood word-for-word. Read more>>

Alyssa Trumic | Jewellery Designer/ Artist/ Maker

Ever since I can remeber art and creativity was something that I was intrinsically drawn to. I remember the very first time I picked up a paintbrush and mixed paint colours. I was 3 years old at my gradeschool’s kindergarten openhouse. Read more>>

Hannah Leigh | Actress, Musician & Mentor

My why is fairly simple. I’ve never known anything other than “why not?” I started working as an actress at the age of four. I started pursuing ballet seriously at age twelve. I started my music career straight out of college at nineteen. Read more>>

Genellyn Driver | Mobile App Creator and Children’s Book Author

I am constantly pursuing creative and/or independent careers. I have worked for a number of not great companies/individuals and I don’t like the idea of my livelihood being dependent on how someone else feels about me at any moment. Read more>>

Giacomo Lamparelli | Composer and Producer

The short answer is: that’s what I always have been doing all my life. I have been in music since I can remember, from when I was 6 learning to play piano all the way through my studies in Conservatory and following in Berklee. I started doing small gigs even while studying, from teaching to copying, to production, to play. Read more>>

Rogerio Maudonnet | Composer and Music Producer

I have a strong connection with music since I was a kid. I’ve played the guitar in several bands, had my solo project, but by the time I’ve got a job in an audio production house, I realized that being a composer and music producer was my career. Read more>>

Howard The 3rd | Entertainment and TV host

I chose to purse an creative career because that’s really all my mind knows. As a child whenever I would watch tv or listen to music I just knew that’s what I wanted to do. Then as I got older into my teens then twenties I knew I wanted to be involved in the arts somehow and someway and my inner voice wouldn’t let me move away from it. Now it’s not easy at all pursuing this career but at least I can say I’m truly happy. Read more>>

Jared Forman | Music Composer for Film & TV

You know that feeling when you are itching to do something? When you are really craving a certain kind of food, or say you are at work, sitting at your desk, but all you can think about is getting home to watch the show you are binging, or play that game you started last night? That is how creating music is for me when I’m doing something else. Read more>>

Andrés Soto | Composer & Arranger

Ever since I was a little kid I found joy in being creative. My mom taught me how to read a little bit earlier than the rest of the kids in my preschool, so I always associated learning with fun instead of with school. But why the arts? I had a steady diet of Disney and Looney Tunes, so I was drawn to animation because of its characters, their humor, its music… Read more>>

Cynthia Chen | Editor & Colorist

My desire to pursue an artistic career comes from my growing up environment, including my parents and my own hobbies. I was growing up in an era that digital media is expanding. Influenced by my parents, a physics teacher and an art teacher, I was fascinated by science and art. Read more>>

Bobby Marks | Artist, Songwriter & Music Producer

To be frank, I think music is the only thing I really know how to do. Sitting down at my desk every day making tracks is where I find structure in my life. I’d like to think that people who excel in typical 9-5 office jobs apply the same logic to their own work. My feelings of productivity, of happiness, and of fulfillment come from laboring to create songs. I chose to pursue a career in the arts because my musicality is my definitive most important skill. Read more>>

Zaku | Artist

Growing up, my father worked a corporate job overseas. While the opportunity to live abroad in my youth proved to be an enriching experience, I didn’t see the appeal in my dad’s job. Sitting behind a desk was definitely not where I wanted to end up in the grand scheme of things – it was not for me. Read more>>