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.

Rachel Wallace | Creative photographer

The camera for me has always been something I use to observe and try and make sense of the world around me. I have been behind a camera from a very young age taking visual notes and making pictures. Pursuing a creative career was never a conscientious decision for me, I simply did it. First expressing myself physically on a drama degree at University, photographing the student drama productions as a sideline, and documenting for the University student newspaper. Next, with photographic knowledge alongside the technical expertise I had acquired through lighting, staging and making sound for staged productions I joined an event production company and worked in their photographic department designing and creating slide/tape presentations for large staged commercial events. Read more>>

Jessica Roux | Illustrator & Author

Becoming an artist wasn’t a conscious decision, as my creativity has been the driving force in my life since I was a child. I spent a lot of my childhood outside, drawing and painting the natural world, writing stories, and exploring in my own backyard. When it came time to apply to colleges and pick a major, I actually briefly studied journalism first. Writing has always been a passion of mine (and it still is – I’ve write and illustrate books), but I found myself painting during my free time, sketching when I should have been taking notes, and finding everything but the journalism classes I was taking to be inspiring. I ended up transferring to study illustration at another university. When I was younger I don’t think I understood that illustration could be a job, so writing seemed more practical. But, now I know it’s the only job I would be happy having. Read more>>

BAD AMY | musician & graphic novellist

I had to. I was honestly going crazy and becoming more and more depressed the less I did the things I was called to do. I honestly had to hit rock bottom with my mental health to wake up and realize I was tired of making excuses and being afraid to make mistakes. Read more>>

Brandon Martinez | Gaffer, Cinematographer, and Writer

I’ve been a visual person. I learn better visually, and absorb information better. I have always been into art. From sketching and drawing as a kid, to wanting to be an animator as a kid. From there I really got into culinary arts. I pursued a degree in culinary arts after I got out of the US Army. I still love to cook, just not professionally. I have always loved film and cinematography. So, now i”m about 5 months away from graduating with a bachelors in cinematography. I’ve tried other types of work, but they weren’t for me. We spend a third of our lives working and another third of it sleeping. I don’t want to be happy for just a third of my time, I want to be happy with my career too. Read more>>

Luke Frees | Singer/Songwriter

I remember when I was in high school, I’d already narrowed down my career to be at least something pertaining to music, and a lot of people (academic advisors, math teachers…you name it) would tell me that to be a musician you had to either study music education or roll the dice and be a performer, hoping that you’d get lucky enough to support yourself that way. For a while, I went back and forth between those two options, wondering if I had what it’d take to make music for a living. One day, I asked my guitar instructor what he thought, and he looked me dead in the eyes and said “Luke, the world doesn’t need any more half-assed teachers. What do you actually want to do?” And that got me thinking. When I’m 80, reflecting on what I did with my life, would I feel like a wrinkled, deflated balloon, who never really went for it? Nah…I’d much rather live as deeply as I can, have as many experiences as I can, make ends meet however I can, and hope that somehow, at the end of all this, I’ll feel full and satisfied. Like I really did something. Read more>>

Miguel Angel Almeida | Traditional Painter/Digital Artist

Like most children, I grew up loving to create and exercise that creative bug in me. I loved drawing my favorite cartoon characters and making Dragonball Z flip book animations out of sticky note pads. As I got older, I never got bored of making art or had it lost its spark. There has always been something about tapping into that creative energy and head space. I knew I had to choose something that involved creativity in a career. Coming from a family of Immigrants from Zacatecas, Mexico whose first jobs were picking fruits and vegetables in agriculture it was hard to see being an artist as a possibility for me. My parents, Tios, and Tias all worked factory labor jobs. Read more>>

Tola K Lawal | Actress | Language/Dialect enthusiast|Director | Writer

To be very honest, I feel like the creative/artistic career chose ME. Being an Artist was something I enjoyed because it made me feel good, though I’d always considered it a hobby, opportunities to engage in the artistic world seemed to follow me in practically every stage of my life. I’ve always thought of myself to be a quirky type of creative, certainly not a ‘cool’ creative nor a mastermind behind innovative things that were captivating and by nature . My creativity was more in tune with the reaction “Oh..interesting.. I never looked at it that way before.” I don’t necessarily feel like my creativeness is particularly remarkable, just different, which I suppose is what makes it unique. Read more>>