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.

Charly | Songwriter, Singer & Composer

I feel like I didn’t have a choice. I tried to convince myself to pursue a more stable career such as dentist or nurse. But I ended up abandoning this idea and came back to what always helped me to feel myself : Music. A creative career is not the most secure. There is always a moment when I don’t know why I’m pursuing this path. It’s hard, harsh, and complicated. But there is always a good reason for me to continue this journey. Creativity is what fulfilled my spirit and my heart. Creativity is what makes my life have a sense. Creativity is what helped me to continue in a society where I don’t always understand the rules and the standards. I pursue this career for my own happiness and health. Read more>>

Erica Medina | Makeup Artist

I am by nature a person who always likes to learn and create to feel productive. Right about eight years ago is when I decided to take the plunge and pursue my dream to become a pro makeup artist. It took me a while to make that decision to change careers. I really believe that when something is in your path sooner or later it will cross your way and so it did for me. I was working at a consulting company and one of my clients asked me to attend her open house for her makeup school. Without thinking about it, I left work and drove to her school and signed up that same night. Like most makeup artist I was already playing with makeup with friends and family but not professionally. I was the little girl who and dresses up and applied makeup to myself every Sunday to host shows for my siblings. Read more>>

Edi Roque | Composer & Musician

I started playing music since I was 5 years old and that became part of who I am. Learning music as a child had a huge impact in the way I see the world around me and it also shaped my personality and character. I never decided to be a professional musician like I had a choice to do something else, music in not just a big “part of my life” rather than that, to me, music is my life. Read more>>

Juliana Slemenda | Lifestyle and Brand Photographer

I almost feel like I didn’t have a choice when it came to doing something artistic and creative with my life — I would never be happy if my job wasn’t fueled by those two things. Looking back I’ve always gravitated toward the arts and the few “desk jobs” that I worked made me feel completely stifled and unfulfilled. I need something that I can move with, something social, something fluid. Nothing against desk jobs, they’re just not for me personally! Read more>>

Marta Stattmiller | Illustrator & Storyteller

Funny enough, I actually avoided a “traditional” artistic career path for the majority of my adult life. I grew up in a very creative family and was actively doing art until about high school where I just stopped. I thought I should be more pragmatic and go to Business School for undergrad but choose marketing because it did seem to provide the most creative outlet out of all the majors. I then spent the last decade or so doing experiential marketing, which did allow me to express a different form of creativity through live events and experiences. It actually wasn’t until this year and the monumental impact of Covid-19 that brought me back to expressing my creativity through illustrations. I found myself being forced out of a very active events-based lifestyle to countless evenings alone during quarantine. Read more>>

Brandi Aguilar | Actress

I didn’t choose to be an actor, it chose me. It’s the reason I was put on this earth, to tell stories through my performances. It is my calling and I have to follow where that calling takes me. If I don’t, it is a huge betrayal to myself and my soul. Read more>>

Rachel Denniston | Co-founder

I was one of those kids that was always making stuff. I wanted to make anything and everything myself and essentially live in my own universe of things I’d made. To some degree, I guess I’m still kind of the same today. I chose a creative career because creating is what makes me happy and is the kind of life I want to live— one surrounded by art and bringing beautiful and intentional things into the world. Read more>>

Derek Long | Artist

Art has always been that one way to express myself and how I feel in that moment in time. I worked a lot of crappy jobs and realized that’s not what I want to be doing for the rest of my life. I want to be doing something I’m happy to do and something I can look at and say, “that’s me and my work.” Read more>>

Michael Wacht | Architect of Community

Being creative in Architecture bridges two seemingly opposite concepts I find fascinating: sorting through speculative thinking off infinite possibilities and applying the practical constraints of our programmed world. I am lucky to live in a dream world, imagining physical realms that are yet to be realized. By visualizing a future environment for my clients and all potential users, I’m able to offer calculated insight into how we can achieve more comfortable, joyful, and productive spaces. Read more>>

Derek “D-Wrex” Zimmerman | Graphic Artist, Illustrator & Designer

Art is something I’ve always enjoyed and have had somewhat of a knack for. I guess it’s the old cliche of figure out what you most enjoy and make that your job. Read more>>

Luis Grane | Visual Artist

I have always liked art and have been drawing for as long as I can remember, but I didn’t go straight into art school. I did three years of medical school, incorporating art into medicine by drawing dissections and organs for the anatomy class I was teaching, until I finally switched to fine arts to pursue my passion. I wanted to be fully dedicated to Art despite all the risks that involves, much to the chagrin of my whole family. Read more>>

Szilvia Bartha | Leather Crafter

Ever since I can remember, I look at things differently. I always see what an object could be or become and can’t stop until I create it. For a long time I thought that everyone is just like me. Constantly feeling the need to create something. When I make something and it is good to look at, it means that it resonates. I believe that everything is energy. And when something resonates at a similar energy as we are, we like it. We feel some sort of similarity, we feel good. Same thing with music, other people, animals etc. When I create something it resonates with some people and dos not with others. The ones it resonates with are my customers. I like to make things other people will like and gives them joy. Seeing other people loving what I made makes me happy and content. Read more>>

Prince Bagdasarian | Film Director

Being born in Los Angeles and having spent my entire life in and around LA, some might say that a creative career should automatically kind of be programmed within me. But growing up, a majority of parents around me wanted their kids to excel in school and go on to become law or medical professionals. Not many parents, most especially the traditional ones from abroad, would consider artistic or creative work a job or a career. However, I begged to differ, as I had a tremendous passion for the arts. After spending most of my pre-teen years in front of the camera as a magician/illusionist, I soon realized that I was more interested in creating from behind the scenes. Therefore, I took baby steps to insure that I work towards that ultimate favorite goal — a creative career as a filmmaking. Read more>>