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.

Evonne Chua | Interior Designer

At the age of 17, I was often attracted to technical art, such as geometrical drawings and perspective art. I always knew that liberal arts are not the path that I would like to pursue. After graduating from high school, I was determined to continue my studies in architecture. During my young adulthood, to enroll an architectural program in a private college was not the best option for my family due to our financial situation. Therefore I tried my best to look for an alternative program that is still related to my interest and discovered interior design. Read more>>

Nathan Luna | Singer/Songwriter

It’s the music, it’s always been music. Music is the essence that I breathe. It’s the color in my vision. Singing, writing and enveloping myself in the music around me is what has kept me alive and going for as long as I can remember. It is the only thing I have ever been truly passionate about. Read more>>

Lauren Henning | Storyteller

There are so many ways to make an impact in this life; but, for me, storytelling has always been the medium with which I give back. I can’t count how many books, TV shows, and films have given me a place of refuge and acceptance– pure escapism in Gilmore Girls, total rage in Promising Young Woman, heartbreak and inspiration in Dopesick. I have been shaped by stories and I know it’s my purpose to shape others through my own. Read more>>

Chris Torres | Photojournalist and Reporter

I pursued a creative career because I realized I was not very smart when it came to academics, but once I began photography and studied journalism, it all naturally made sense to me. I was picking up the concepts of photography quickly and I had no resentment towards learning and practicing photography. I became obsessed and ambitious because I really loved creating visuals, rather than having to self-motivate myself to study concepts on mathematics or science. Read more>>

Guy Wolfus | Technical Artist & Pipeline TD

In my occupation as a Technical Director I deal with the fine line between art and computer science. Even though I started out as a 3D artist, I was always drawn to programming and in time I’ve learned that I truly enjoy software development in the context of creating art. It was something I always knew that I wanted – a job in the context of artistic creation, and more specifically, animated movies and video games. Read more>>

Nick DeRuve | Filmmaker & Writer

First things first, we have to eat… everything. A couple of my favorite spots in Hollywood are El Coyote and Musso & Frank’s. Then we can go out for drinks to a cool speakeasy like No Vacancy or Melrose Station. On the way home we have to hit up one of the hundreds of delicious food trucks with any kind of food you can imagine, my favorite is Entre Cheros in NoHo. After a night like that we need to go for a short drive out to Malibu to do some hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains. Incredible views, and a lot of quiet. Read more>>

Shaniya Taylor Walton | Fashion Designer & Universal Artist

I believe in natural born leaders. I myself am one. From the beginning of my experiences I had taken to fashion, at 3 years old I would pick out my own outfits. I would be gifted art supplies and fashion illustration kits. I remember even having an easel and paint. So I always appreciated the design process and the art of experimentation. On the contrary, I was a scholar and over achiever in academia. I could really go either way career wise. But my passions never wavered and by the 8th grade my teachers and I knew I’d never work for anyone but myself. Read more>>

Super Piano Brothers | Music Group

For all of our lives, the arts have had a constant presence in our lives, whether it came from formal studies as encouraged by our parents, exposure from museums and exhibitions, or through the vast amounts of fantastic media that we eagerly consumed. Our simple enjoyment of the arts in its endless variety was enough motivation for us to pursue continued studies and careers in art, driven by the desire to give back what we enjoyed. Through happenstance, music was the primary vehicle for us to express ourselves, and we quickly found enormous joy from replicating tunes from movies and video games for our friends. Read more>>

Tiffany Y. Ayala | Photographer/Cinematographer

I never thought that I could pursue an artistic career. As a child I was inscribed to follow in my uncle’s footsteps and become a doctor. I come from a very medical family, my mom and aunt are dentists; my uncle and great uncle were both doctors all in Mexico. So for me being a first generation Mexican American, it would have been the greatest accomplishment. However becoming a photographer/cinematographer has really made my family proud, to tell our stories for the world to see. Read more>>

Kourosh Beigpour | Graphic Artist & Font Designer

I have always felt there should be something more to life rather than ordinary living. So, I tried to follow that feeling to fill the void. Read more>>

Sauyee Tsang | Make-up and Hair Artist & Natural Skincare Formulator

Growing up in a city dominated by the financial industry, pursuing a career in Art or Creativity was not a common option. It was more like a hobby or side business to me as well as many people in where I lived. However, painting, playing music, crafting, and making anything from scratch always soothe me. Doing makeup and hair for people is particularly enjoyable. I started when I was little and this was my day off activity until I was found. Read more>>

Konnie Aguilar | Creator and owner of XOCO

I was introduced to art and music at a young age by my father who is a professional painter/muralist and musician. Since I was born my home was always full of paints, paintbrushes, canvases, and musical instruments. Several of my family members are artists as well, it runs through our blood. I remember my father always telling me how important art and music are for children, it expands their minds, creativity, and opens up whole new worlds for them. My family has been an incredible inspiration for me and it’s what really lead me to this path. Read more>>

Eileen Alexandra Colon | Graphic Designer

I’ve always been interested in art since I was a kid. Growing up I would always be doodling. School projects that included any form of artwork always excited me. I remember this book project in elementary school where we were asked to make a portrait of the main character and we were allowed to use any form of material. I had my mom help me make a full body portrait of Ash Ketchum on foam board. That has got to be one of the coolest projects I got to do during elementary school because I was able to do something that I enjoyed and had full creative freedom. I also enjoyed drawing cartoon characters; Read more>>

Jenna Mahmoud-Bosco | Actress + Writer + Filmmaker + Compassionate Human

I’ve always been a creative kid and an old soul. I grew up around a theatrical family – my Grandmother was a dancer and my Grandfather was an actor. My family entertained all of my performance requests at family parties. They came to my school shows and recitals. In middle school the acting bug hit me hard. Acting was a way for me to express myself and be vulnerable, something that isn’t easy to do when you’re in middle school. Middle School was also significant because that’s when 9/11 happened. I grew up in the NYC area, and it wasn’t an easy time to be an Arab kid. I started questioning so many things. Read more>>

Bofan Zhang | Film Producer

I grew up in a small village in rural China, where people barely talked about dreams. The days, especially in harvest season, were labor-intensive, beginning well before sunrise and ending at sunset. A high proportion of my childhood memories were about walking barefoot in the muddy roads and pasturing cows in the water meadows, which have shaped my appreciation of films that depict the portrait of the original inhabitants in various cultures and my delicate emotions as a storyteller. During the days, under the subtle influence of my grandmother who was a victim of China’s Cultural Revolution and wasn’t able to pursue her dream to become an actress, Read more>>

Razzle Dangerously | Stand Up Comedian & Artist

That’s a great question. I’ve pursued arts since I was a child in some facet. In high school I was always a performer craving attention, in after school plays or art classes getting creative. In college I was in a punk band (which heavily inspires my pop art) and then in my late 20’s I got into Stand Up Comedy. I recently got back into the making and selling art the past 6 years in my off time from writing or pursuing comedy and entertainment. Read more>>

Jackie Marion | CG Artist and Crafter

I grew up thinking art was just a hobby. If someone was a professional they were a “starving artist.” This misconception led me to put my paint brushes down and pursue a degree in Engineering. It wasn’t until my junior year, when it was time to start thinking about internships and my future, that it became clear to me that I had made the wrong choice. I couldn’t sign up for a career doing something my heart wasn’t into. An MFA, a cross-country move, and an Etsy Shop later I learned art can absolutely be a career. When you do what you love, you find success and happiness and nobody starves. Read more>>

Jimi Blackrose | Musician

I chose the path of a creative career because I never want to give up being me. Doing something for someone else always made me feel like I had to be someone else. Being an artist I represent myself and my art. Writing music helps me with so many things, it’s real life therapy for me. I’m kinda of introverted when it comes to opening up so music really fills that space up for me. I started playing the guitar in elementary school, 4th or 5th grade. Read more>>

Mikarlo | Singer & Songwriter

I decided long ago that I wanted to make people happy. With each passing day, I learn new lessons and gain influence that I use as motivation to continue what I do. I’ve been a creative person since childhood and exploring that part of myself brings me such joy. I love that my art can cause emotions to rise! It’s therapeutic to create the art for me but for the audience, the listener, it can also be very healing. I put all of my heartache and troubles into my work to relieve myself of it and I hope that listening or watching could do the same for those who tune in. Read more>>

Jeff Schubert | Actor/Writer/Director

Because I was out sick the day statistics and probability were being taught in school! Seriously, it was an epiphany moment. All my life through the first couple of years of college I thought I was going to be a licensed psychologist. Then, through a sequence of random events I found myself in an acting class doing a scene from the movie Wall Street. I played the Michael Douglas role, Gordon Gekko. And it was over. I loved the experience. The acting coach, Molli Benson, had called me “a diamond in the rough”, and in one moment, my life plan changed on a dime, and I knew after I graduated from college, I would move to LA to pursue acting and entertainment. Read more>>

Jaim Brohier | Multidisciplinary Artist

My main motivation behind pursuing an artistic career would be the desire to express and create. Aside from that having the extreme life and schedule flexibility is a huge plus too. I also enjoy working for myself rather than someone else. Read more>>

Nosizwe Moleah | Pastry Chef/Owner

I believe that creativity chose me. My parents are creative entrepreneurs so I was always around music playing whether it’s from artists we all know/love or from local artists that my dad would meet and produce for. My mom would always have fresh pressed juices ready for breakfast and homemade vegan meals available all day. At night, we would have herbal tea time and watch inspiring movies or documentaries. My parents always encouraged me to love Christ, learn about the world and be happy in everything I do. Read more>>

Lytel Young | Luxury REALTOR / Interior Designer

Growing up in Delaware, I was always interested in the arts, music, colors, and design. I remember watching the Oscars and Music Awards, imagining myself at the show – spending countless hours singing Michael Jackson songs in our family basement. I can still hear my siblings telling me to be quiet. There were days my mother would come home from work only to find that I had rearranged the living room furniture entirely. I was always expressing myself creatively. Throughout my middle and high school years, I was enrolled in Conservatory School, where I studied piano and voice. Read more>>

Erin Daly | Artist & Small Business Owner

I have always loved design and words. I graduated University with a Journalism diploma and a Communications Degree wanting to write for publications, but also wanting to be artistically creative. Hand making signs began when I was a stay at home mom and needed an outlet for my creativity and desire to do something entirely different and rewarding for myself. The joy of making signs for me, comes from the collaboration of home design and words with meaning. Read more>>