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.

Sharon Desiree | Actress & Behavioral Therapist

I knew I wanted to be on TV, like every kid out there right? We have this really funny family home video where my dad is filming and I’m directing him to show me the footage, and he’s laughing because I didn’t understand yet how it worked. I grew up with siblings, and cousins, so it was always fun to do dance off’s and sing a longs, put on shows. In school I doodled through the majority of my education, I started a dance club, and I painted on anything I was allowed to. Eventually, I started singing in school events and symposiums, and it became a game of doing the next big thing, that was the fun part. To maintain an artistic career to me is the ultimate challenge. To get to indulge in learning about a person, a point in time, and perspective I haven’t experienced. It’s exciting. Read more>>

Alejandro Cohen | Arts Non-Profit Director, Musician & Producer

Pursuing an artistic or creative career came out of an internal and personal call. It was the realization that regardless of the financial rewards, I had to do it, like almost being stuck with it. I knew from what everyone tells you and from what you see and experience that for most a career in the arts leads to financial struggles. It can be daunting, but not only for the financial side of it, but also for the uncertainty you live in when you throw yourself in the creative abyss. Although you could call what I do a career, for me is more helpful to see it as part of a larger collaborative art piece, that when it’s over it will be part of a time and place that all of us contributed to. Ultimately I chose this line of work because of the need for self-expression and wanting to make a positive impact through the arts. Read more>>

E.F. Kitchen | Fine Art Photographer

I had a crazy childhood. My mother was an artist and decided to move to Europe. We lived in Switzerland for a while and then ended up in Paris, France, where I went to high school. So I was always surrounded by art and the process of making art. It was a natural pursuit for me to follow. Read more>>

Dave Trudell | Writer & Solo Performer

I was passionate about movies, books and music as a young boy. On a boring Saturday night in a small town, I’d secretly act out entire movies in my bedroom, playing all of the characters. An elementary school teacher approached me one day and asked if I’d like to be the lead in our school play. Although I was very young, my first performance before a live audience electrified me. I loved the interplay between actor and audience and remember thinking: “can I do this for a living?” Something clicked. Now, as an adult, I can definitively say that the most rewarding thing about a creative career is the human connection. A mentor gave me a great piece of advice in my earlier years as a writer and solo performer: “your performance isn’t about the spotlight being on you, it’s about the spotlight emanating from you onto the audience.” Read more>>

Aja Levi | Founder & Principal Designer

This career really chose me more than I chose it. Ever since I can remember I have known that I was meant to be an Interior Designer – It was like there was no other option. And with that strong force guiding me, I focused all my energy on getting there. I watched HGTV religiously as a kid, stole my mom’s home decor magazines, and re-arranged the furniture in my bedroom regularly. Not everyone has that urge to create something, and if you have it, you need to feed your fire and do it as often as you can. But I think the real reason I pursued this career is when I realized how much a well-designed interior can affect your mood and positively impact your life. I wanted to give that feeling to other people. Read more>>

Malia Miglino | Grave Hunter, TV Host & History Enthusiast

I’m not sure it was ever a choice really, I’ve alway said if I wanted to do something more “stable” or “easy” that had a direct line of success, I would. However, creating and being artistic is what makes my heartbeat, it’s my lifeblood and I am only me because of it. So in many ways, it chose me, I only followed the path it told me to walk. Read more>>

Lauryn Muraida | Creative Enthusiast, Artist, Musical Performer & Technology Trainer

My mother always wanted my siblings and I to be fulfilled with as many experiences and life-skills as possible. She threw me into sports, crafts, theatre, art, dance, cooking, and everything under the sun. My heart kept pulling me towards performing and the arts field. I started theatre when I was 5 years old, I was drawing, designing, decorating all the time, and everything was pink and glittery! I realized my passion for performance was the most fulfilling. There is such a rush of joy I feel when I’m singing, dancing, performing with and for others, and even when I’m watching a theatre production or leaving a movie theater, I feel completely moved by the performance of great talent. I love entertainment. I also truly love and appreciate art. Read more>>

Nadia Beck | Wedding & Event Florist

Since high school, I knew I would never work a desk job. I’ve always loved the arts. Growing up, I was heavily drawn to painting/drawing, singing and acting. Originally I wanted to go into the performance arts, specifically theatre. I was drawn to the technical aspects of the theatre like makeup, props and costuming. I loved that professional theatre was an art while having a schedule. We had to rely on the whole team to make the show happen, which I felt paralleled the professionalism within the event industry. I obviously didn’t pursue a theatrical career and came upon floristry totally by chance. I loved being able to design again and create living art. After working a few years at a flower shop, I decided I could make a career out of floral design. Read more>>

Trisha Kwan | Professional Makeup Artist & Brow Specialist

I have always loved drawing since I was in elementary school. I always loved the art of brows, but I didn’t think it would be an actual career. In high school, I was in yearbook and learned a lot about deadlines, designing pages, gathering information, etc. When I graduated high school, I thought I wanted to be a graphic designer. But later, I realized my passion for art was on people. I love the books from Kevyn Aucoin “Making Faces” and “Face Forward”. I always loved working with people and creating art by bringing out their natural beauty. While I was on my makeup artistry career path, I came upon the opportunity to work with a brow studio called Anastasia Beverly Hills. This experience opened my eyes to working with the art of eyebrows. I love creating eyebrows and teaching people how brows can compliment their natural beauty. Eyebrows are everything to me! Read more>>

Ali Reynolds | Owner

After graduating from Wake Forest University with a degree in Business, I moved to LA with the dream of working in the music industry. While I sang in college and played the piano most of my life, the business side of the music industry really appealed to me and I thought would be the perfect marrying of my interests. When I finally accepted my “dream job” it was when the music industry was downsizing, budgets were cut, and I found myself working 14 hour days preparing six figure financial forecasts and leaving no time or room for anything else in my life. And while I was so proud of the career I had built, I also knew that I wasn’t completely fulfilled. Growing up with a twin brother, sports has always been a huge part of my life. Read more>>

Salil Bhayani | Composer

All I knew growing up was that I wanted to be a musician. When you are little, you don’t think too much about the pragmatic aspects of your dream. That is why they call it a “dream”. It does not have to make sense to anybody but yourself. It made sense to me, it still does. Happiness in life is ephemeral, meaning is what matters. Pursuing a career as a musician brings meaning to my life. I may not be a great storyteller, but I know how to bring great stories to life with music, and that gives me a strong sense of purpose. Read more>>

Christie Smirl | Sacred Artist, Devotional Musician, Doctorate of Ayurveda & Nurse Practitioner

After 30 years of studying science and practicing acute care medicine my life took a sudden shift towards art. An alchemical shift in 2019 prompted a prolific outpouring of channeled drawings, poems and prose. The process was often deeply cathartic while bringing forth messages for transformation. In January 2020, just before COVID spread to the US, I took a full sabbatical from my hospital career and immersed all my energy into sacred creativity, devotional music and ritual art. As a child, art and music was difficult and even painful for me manifest and express. Art was never a career goal, but once I became an incessant creative conduit, I decided to share what was pouring forth. Read more>>

Kent Yoshimura | Muralist & Co-Founder

Communication is our tool to connect with those around us, and for me, art captures and materializes all the gaps in our communication. I’ve always been a visual person – art was the easiest way for me to express how I felt and what I was fascinated by in any given moment. As I got older, I realized my different forms of expression helped me build deeper relationships with people, whether it be friends, clients, or strangers. Of course, these connections can always improve. Art is and will always be an endless pursuit. Read more>>