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.

LetFloGo | Sister Band

Deciding to pursue an artistic career was not an easy or obvious decision and it was one that we both had to come to on our own. We both started at our local community college at fifteen. For almost three years, we put music to the wayside and focused on our education. While Bo earned a degree in the culinary arts, Ky continued to explore other options but always had music in the back of her mind. After years of being on different pages, we couldn’t ignore the fact that music is our passion and there was nothing else we wanted our careers and lives to revolve around. Read more>>

Jacqueline Alvarino | Artist

Approximately five years ago, after struggling with trauma, I decided to pursue painting as a therapeutic pastime—an activity to get me through those difficult days. After a couple years of experimenting with color, media, and application in fine art, I decided to sell my artwork as well as pursue graduate studies within the field of Art History. Not only do I create, but I also study my artistic predecessors in-depth. I also strive to maintain a balance between studio art and academics. Taking elements from both of these fields, I have designed art classes that integrate creative methods, mindfulness techniques, art history and healing rituals. At the end of the day, I want to share my knowledge with others, while demonstrating how art can facilitate introspection, specifically, by making us ponder the relationship we have with other human beings and nature. Read more>>

Alyson Smith | Performance Artist & Social Media Creative

I think I chose to pursue a creative career because I have always had the desire to inspire or help people with my work. An artistic career allows me to do that. Read more>>

Konstantinos Pateronis | Director & Screenwriter

The main reason for pursuing an artistic career, such as becoming a filmmaker, was because I really wanted to be able to express myself freely and create new worlds and stories. Read more>>

Chad Frye | Illustrator

I was one of those kids who always knew what he wanted to do. From the time I was five years old, each year on my birthday my mother would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up. Each year she wrote down “artist.” So, I suppose I was born with the desire, which I’m sure caused my folks to sweat a little since they were in the world of suit and tie business for my father, and my mother was a registered nurse. I think they only started to breathe more easily when I received my first children’s book contract when I was a sophomore in college. Read more>>

Claudia Ramos | Graphic Designer, Artist, Illustrator & Business owner

Since I was little girl I knew I that I loved drawing and art. I knew I wanted to do art when I grew up was not sure what exactly. In high school, I was in AP Art and I knew that I love art because it was a way to express my feelings. When I started attending college I learned about Graphic Designs. What I like about the graphic design is that you can create digital art that can spread a message and also you can work in different fields as a graphic artist. I’ve worked in the field for about 13 years and I’ve worked for different companies from greeting cards, apparel, signage, toy industry, and also working on my own business. With all these different types of jobs, I always had a positive message behind it and I do that with my own projects too. Read more>>

Mary Farah | Travel Writer & Social Media Marketing Manager

Just like we’re born left or right-handed, I feel the same is true for whether we cling towards the arts or not. For me, I was writing short stories and creating plays for my stuffed animals at a very young age. I’m definitely not a science or math person and recall dreading science days in kindergarten but going crazy when we had a puppet show or storytime. These early memories certainly molded me into the creative individual I am today. For me, nothing is more magical than when I’ve written an article on a great trip I’ve been on, or when I’m able to help a client succeed in their marketing/online goals. Read more>>

Azalia Snail | Musician, Writer & Podcast Host

I felt there was absolutely no way I could live happily without being an artist. I knew damn well what it was like to try to live a “normal” life when I worked in various office positions in New York City. Sure, I could have worked my way up to a nice, fancy corporate job making loads of money, but I knew it would not keep me content. Though the struggle has been very real, it has made me stronger, and my payoff now is living an unbelievably good life with an amazing partner. Read more>>

James Gilbert | Sculptor & Installation Artist

At times I feel that being an artist is one of the least understood careers one can have. That’s why it is important, it is a search for understanding, relating, connecting to other people in ways that are almost indescribable. I recall as a child reading or hearing about terrible disasters, wars, moments in history, yet, though all of it people created and needed art, music, literature. Why? I wanted to understand why art existed when you think during catastrophic events that getting food, shelter, rebuilding should be the only rational priority. But art was there. That is the indescribable part. How do you describe the meaning of your dreams? You can’t, its guesswork. How do you describe the reason we make art, it is almost as difficult a question, except that since we are awake when we make it or consume it we assume we can rationalize it in a more logical way. Read more>>

Cristina Tudor | Fashion Illustrator

Today, as a fashion illustrator, I paint live bespoke portraits of guests at in-person and virtual events in retail, fashion, weddings, etc. I’ve had the pleasure of working with amazing clients such as Chanel, Ferragamo, Piaget, David Yurman, The Ritz Carlton, Google, Warner Bros., Diptyque and Sephora, among others, many of them on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. But my road to my illustration business started a long time ago, with my love of fashion and drawing going all the way back to growing up. As a kid, my school notebooks were full of fashion drawings, and I was constantly designing and making my own clothes, jewelry, and even shoes. I’ve always been a creative person, which eventually led me to becoming an architect. Read more>>

Natalie Rodriguez | Writer, Director, Author & Producer

To me, nothing else ever made sense, until I started watching movies on my downtime. Growing up, I used to beg my parents to relocate us to Hollywood, California so we could be closer to the entertainment industry. They also denied my request but for quite some time, my parents drove me out to Hollywood and took me through the Hollywood Hills. Sometimes, they did so in order for me to get turned off by the industry, whether that was the heavy traffic or the fast-paced lifestyle; but deep down, I KNEW the arts and doing anything creative was in my blood. Why? Because in the years to come, I obsessed over particular storylines and characters from – my now published, live, and soon-to-be projects – stories and films I was working on. Read more>>

Rajiv Khilnani | Visual Artist & Actor

As they say, sometimes you don’t choose your profession but the profession chooses you. My creative career pretty much fits that statement. While I was always interested in the arts, especially painting, for the longest time I never thought of making it a career. I discovered my passion for painting in High School and dedicated significant time towards it. Back home I was even represented in multiple galleries, but I never went to an art school. Instead I got my degrees in business. A MBA in Finance, can you believe that! My creative journey got even more interesting when I moved to USA in 2000. Instead of working in the corporate world, I started working for Stanford University, Palo Alto. While working there, I started taking theater and on-camera acting workshops and soon discovered my love for acting. Read more>>