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.

Eva Kmetko | Photographer & Graphic Designer

You can design your life. One of the most valuable aspects of pursuing a creative career is the ability to create your own path. Unlike some professions, there is no limit to the ideas you develop, the people you meet, and the places you go. Read more>>

haniyyah dixon | Creative Direction & Model

Pursuing a career in the arts came extremely natural to me and I wasn’t necessarily seeking it. Ever since I was a child, I always saw life in color. While I come from a staple household, I experienced a lot of trauma early on. Read more>>

Meet Jon Lampley | Musician

I grew up in a small immediate family but a large extended family of a many aunts, uncles, and cousins. Most of my extended family members were musicians of some sort within the Black Pentecostal Apostolic church. Read more>>

Dani Knight | Esthetician

After many years in a medical corporate setting, I got the opportunity to go to back to school for Esthetics at the age of 37. Read more>>

ibti | Photographer & Creative Director

Well let’s say art chose me at birth, hahah It was meant to be. I’ve been creative all my life, when i was a kid, i would spend my entire time drawing, painting on whatever i could find. Read more>>

Cathy Ellis | Visual Artist

For me painting feels right. It’s such an amazing balance of mind puzzle and physical work and the results are often surprising. Read more>>

James Falciano | Freelance Illustrator

There are so many reasons that I wanted to purse a creative career but I think it can all be summed up to the fact that creating art for me is like breathing, sleeping or eating. Read more>>

David Guo | Animator, Director, and Producer

I wouldn’t consider myself a particularly intuitive artist. I have a lot of artist friends who tell me that they knew from a young age that they were interested in drawing and painting and all things “artistic”- I was not that. Read more>>

Alexandria Siah | 3D Animator and Filmmaker

I pursued a artistic career because I always thought that there was something magical about being an artist. Whether it’s an artist who paints pictures, makes music, or in my case being an animator, Read more>>

Íria Llena Gasol | Dancer & creator

Dance for me has always been my way of expressing myself, of expressing everything that cannot be said with words. Letting my body free and investigating its movement made me discover the beauty and power of dance to communicate, to transmit, to channel energy, to understand my body. Read more>>

Nolan van Lith | Music Producer, Artist

I’ve always been into playing piano & guitar. My older brother Tyler actually introduced me to Fl Studio when I was about 15 years old while he was home from college. Read more>>

Simplicio Emping” Kiskisan Jr. | Artist”

I pursue an artistic and creative career is because this is my passion since I was a kid. I feel that music has been by part of my life and would be the greatest talent that I ever have. Read more>>

Luis Alvarez | Artist

Most of my life has been driven by “what ifs.” Like “What if I did this? Or that?” I’m at the point in my life where I want to take as many risks as possible. Especially since I held myself back for a very long time. Read more>>

Kate Ladenheim | Choreographer, Designer & Media Artist

So, to start off: all careers are creative – the assertion that creativity is relegated only to artistic realms is a fallacy that I hope my work can push against. Read more>>

Gizelle Orbino | Storyboard Artist

I’ve always been attracted to the arts ever since I first came upon my grandpa’s comic books, back when I was 5 and living in the Philippines at the time. Read more>>

Eleanor Bannister | Illustrator & Designer

I’ve wanted to pursue a creative lifestyle since as early as I could remember. Whenever someone would ask me what I wanted to do when I grew up the answer was always that I wanted to be an artist, Read more>>

Cassius King | Filmmaker & Content Creator

Starting off, I don’t think I pursued being a creative intentionally. Its just not something that was listed or labeled in the career paths of school. Read more>>

Adam El-Sharkawi | Actor

I always find this question interesting because it varies so much from person to person. A superhero origin story if you will. Read more>>

BXB LOVE | 20-something-year-old living in the year 20-something. creator of music, worlds, and portals. she/they

i’m pursuing a career as an artist because of the role music has had in my life, and what i have come to understand of its power to reflect the state of the world we live in while simultaneously creating our future world. Read more>>

Maddison Cross | Artist

Ever since I was a kid, I have always wanted to create art to share with others— be it through storytelling or gathering proceeds for charities I strongly believed in. Fame was never part of the plan for me. Read more>>

Brian Eskow | Podcast host, Construction Manager, & Law Grad 2022

I didn’t, and that’s why I had so much bubbled-up frustration. Before I started my podcast, I had no outlet for my creative side. I have a great job as a construction manager, but I wasn’t totally fulfilled. Read more>>

richard chiu | actor, producer, nft artist

honestly, I don’t know. I think its how it makes me feel. I remember as a kid, I found this guitar in my parents closet. it was this solid white and blue acoustic. something screamed out to me to play it. Read more>>

Shuang Sang | Landscape Designer

Since childhood, I have been captivated by nature, specifically plants. Landscape design is a unique profession that requires plant knowledge and the integration of plants, people, the environment, and architecture. Read more>>

Nanyi Jiang | Performer & Writer

I pursue my passions for writing and performing as interruptions of the routines. 1. Writing and Therapy
When I was little, I have wild fear for my illusions at night. I would involuntarily picture bats in my closet, hands above my vision, or a man under my bed. Read more>>

rui huang | Digital Artist & Animation Director

When I was young, I was obsessed with animation and films. Working in the entertainment industry became my dream. After I graduated from Sichuan Fine Art Institute, I got an excellent opportunity to work in the game industry as a concept artist. Read more>>

Misinformation | Band

The both of us have always had a connection to music. “Music has always been a part of my identity. Ive always been the music person in every room I step into, I can’t imagine my life without some type of musical aspect or career, whether big or small.” -Frank. Read more>>

Monique Herzig | Fragrance Designer & Esthetician

I come from a family of doers and DIYers. We use our hands to create. And at my last corporate job I learned that I cannot “office”. So a creative career was really the only option. Read more>>

Tomar Thomas | Fashion, Beauty, & Lifestyle Creator

Education was stressed in my household growing up so I took school very seriously. I thought the only way I could be successful was to get a good paying job. Read more>>

Keri Kubota | Graphic Designer & Creative

When I chose to major in Graphic Design, I had no clue what it was, I just dove in head first. Growing up, I was (and still am!) awful at math and science, so as a teenager I decided I’d probably do something in the arts. Read more>>

Michael Shaw | Artist, activist and podcast host

Like many artists, it was a case of an artist career choosing ME as opposed to the other way around. I didn’t land on art until my freshman year of university, Read more>>

Jose Hernandez Austin Ahn | Music Producer & DJ’s

We both have very similar reasons why we chose to do an artistic/creative career. It’s about the the daily routine, its always refreshing and requires you to think outside the box. Read more>>

Robert Deshaies II | Author of Adam & Eternity, Blackjack – 22: Modern Poetry, Anthology, The Living Death, Siblings & more.

In one word? Change. Since the birth of my conceptual thinking, I persistently wondered what actual change is? How can I change myself, my world, Read more>>

diego barrientos | Fine Artist

An artistic career was bound to happen for me. My dad is a musician so we always had at least one instrument in the house like a guitar. So music was my first love. Read more>>

Champagne Manley | Artist & Owner, POP! Shop Jewelry

I decided to pursue being a full time artist when I realized that I was finding myself lost and depressed at my traditional 9-5 jobs. Most of the time, this depression would result in me not being able to perform to company standards, Read more>>

dean lv | artist

I was fond of watching cartoons when I was young, and then I was almost crazy about drawing. Up to now, I have been interested in painting. When I was in college, I came into contact with contemporary art, Read more>>

Anna Jefferson | Sequential and Character Design Artist

I began making comics in 4th grade, when I was introduced to manga with my friends, and later comics when my local Library set up signs pointing to their new Comics aisle. Read more>>

Adriel Meka | Illustrator & Animator

In a way, I feel the simplest answer is that it’s all I’ve ever known to be the best way to express myself however, in all honesty, the biggest factor was my family. I come from a family full of creatives: Read more>>

Vickie Eisenstein | Comedian, Actress, & Producer

I fell into performing while teaching and studying abroad in Seoul, South Korea. I’d always been shy when younger and I had stage fright most my life, but I ended up on a popular talk show there and got bit by the entertainment bug. Read more>>

Adriana Adler | Actress & Artist

I pursued a creative career because acting was the one thing in my life that I was genuinely passionate about. It was the only career I could see myself doing every day for the rest of my life and never getting tired of. Read more>>

Maria-Sara Santoro | Producer & Writer

Growing up I knew I wanted to help people, so me and my family thought I could be a doctor. During middle school I started thinking I could be what I called a “writer-doctor”, Read more>>

Kaiya Wynn | Recording Artist

I’ve always been an artist. I wasn’t very good at expressing myself directly. So I would express myself through art. It evolved slowly – with drawing comics and painting as a kid. Read more>>

Jenna-mae White | Actor

I chose to be an actor because truly there is nothing that brings me more joy. I have never experienced that moment of elation anywhere else. The thrill of escaping within a character and experiencing true emotion is profound. Read more>>

Ruth Swissa C.M.M. | Ruth Swissa Medical Spa

As a medical micro pigmentation specialist, I have been, and continue to be, blessed with the ability to bridge both my artistic and medical background to help others around me feel comfortable in their skin. Read more>>

Herry Kim | Artist

I pursue an artistic career because I saw it as the worthy path for me as I enjoy pondering upon the questions of aesthetics and artmaking. For me, it was not hard to find out that I enjoyed putting together my thoughts in visual formats from when I was a kid. Read more>>

Maty Young | Director, Cinematographer & Actor

I grew up in a family that was reprised mostly of erratic but impassioned business owners, however most of their business endeavours had already reached the end of their shelf life before I was born. Read more>>

Café Noir | Motion Designer & Design Developer

It came naturally, likely by way of my father being a perpetually creative soul albeit a rolling stone. At an early age I continued to develop it further and as teachers and other creative professions noticed, here and there I was exposed to knowledge and experiences that would later help me decide which trade path I’d choose. Read more>>

Brian Alvarado | Concert photographer

To be honest, I sort of stumbled upon the idea of becoming a concert photographer. I originally chose to become a journalist, and was actually targeting more sports. Read more>>

Joel Douek | Artist, Composer

I tried not to! I started out wanting to be a doctor, actually first an astronaut and then a doctor, but got sidetracked into neuroscience and finished a degree in Human Sciences. Read more>>

Prince Gomolvilas | Thai-American Writer, Speaker, and Educator

When I was a kid, I played with stuffed animals obsessively. I would make them perform shows for an audience of one—myself!—so they were basically a de facto theatre troupe that would rotate through different plays, All this is to say, Read more>>

Jaclyn Lopez | Actor & Producer

I’m happy to answer this question because I love to share this story. When I was 6, my mom would turn on the old Golden Era Hollywood Classic films and I was always enthralled by them because they were different than the Disney or Nickelodeon animated movies I would watch. Read more>>