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.

Corey Crandall | Talent Coordinator & Apiarist

I’ve always been a creative person, but there was something about Television and Film that sparked a lot of interest when considering a career. I wanted a job that would allow me to make a positive impact on the world. With the current state of California, there is not a lot that we can look forward to. Some days, all we do is watch TV, so being able to provide people with an escape and something that can make them smile has always been a driving force behind why i love my job. Getting started was a long journey because as an independent contractor nothing is guaranteed, but as I’ve progressed I’ve been able to build my life around a handful of network shows that give me the kind of schedule I’ve always strived for. I work hard for 8 months out of the year, and then get a break to pursue some other passions or just relax! For me. Read more>>

Rachele Schank | Actress

I pursed an artistic career because, for me, it is simply the thing that made the most sense. There was never a question when I was picking colleges and selecting an area of advanced study that I would go into any field but arts. It’s where I feel the most comfortable, it’s where my people are, and whenever I step onto a film set… I feel the most alive. It feels like my entire spirit is smiling. I can breathe deeper, I become more personable, and I feel like the truest and most authentic version of myself. Like most actors, I have had moments of wanting to throw in the towel and pursue what society would consider a more normative path. However, every single time I’ve tried, I have simply failed to quit. The work always finds me. It’s like a ghost following me around, and anytime I even think about quitting, this ghost simply stares at me with a raised eyebrow, tapping it’s foot like. Read more>>

Matthew Wang | Film Composer

I chose a career in music because quite frankly, I was unhappy until I discovered my passion for music. An artistic career might not generally start off paying the best and you may need to work intense hours, but if it’s what you enjoy and what you feel you were meant to do then it will pay off! Learn to be patient while studying your craft and refining your singular voice then put your work out there for people to hear/see. Read more>>

Francisco Palomares | Fine Art

I pursued a career in art because that is all I have done since I was a little boy. Ive always have had this impulse to create from my imagination. It is a great sense of accomplishment to have a vision , begin from scratch and finish with a work of art to put out to the world. I am addicted to art . It is what fills my soul with joy. It gives me a sense of purpose. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else in life there is no plan b. Read more>>

Tim Fenton | Bassist and Composer

When I think about why I pursued an artistic and creative career, I am taken back to when I was a kid. My mom used to tell me, “Children have great imaginations. Adults tend to lose their imaginations. Try to never lose your Imagination.” I heard this and felt scared. I loved creating scenes in my head and I didn’t want to lose this. At the time, I loved legos. I would get a set and build what the instructions indicated. I would quickly disassemble it and, with my imagination, would create and bring to life whatever scene I was seeing in my head. I also think about why I pursued a performance based artistic career. Around 10, I joined a ballet class after a friend had invited me. I enjoyed the class and, when the final performance came, I didn’t think much about it. I had never performed before but I was captivated by it. Read more>>

Natalie Tofer | Self Taught Chef

For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be in a career where I help others in an emotional way. In college, I declared myself a Psychology major and believed that going down that route was the best decision for me. I got into one of the top Marriage and Family Therapy Master’s programs and continued on my path to becoming a therapist. I worked for multiple years with individuals suffering from psychological disorders as well as those battling addiction. I learned a lot, both about myself and others. It helped me gain empathy, sympathy and patience. However, I had a feeling that it was not the right career for me. I still wanted to help people, but in some other way. Within time, I fell into my current position and I now realize that there are ways in which I can help people that doesn’t require me to be a therapist. Read more>>

Dan Wickline | Writer

I think the secret to success in the arts is that rarely do the successful people choose a creative career. It’s an incredibly difficult journey that is often times filled with a hundred failures for every one success. Those who choose to be a writer or artist or musician are usually the first to step away when other parts of their life come calling. I became a writer because it’s who I am. The ideas are always forming in my mind whether I’m trying to write them down or not. I spent 13-years as a computer programmer, making really good money, but I was miserable the entire time because in my heart I wanted to be telling stories. I don’t think I could ever have been happy sitting in a cubicle 9 to 5 every day and living for the weekends. But I’ll put in ten times the amount of effort to finish a story without thinking twice about it. Read more>>

Bree McCool | Photographer and Creative Director

I always knew I was never meant for a 9-5 and if there was a chance I could make it doing something I loved, I was always going to go for it. When I started my business though, I had to wear so many more hats than just Creative Director and now I’m learning to hire out for those things that bring my desire to create to a halt. Now I’m able to do artistic projects with my clients, pursue creative endeavors to grow my business and continue my personal creative projects. Read more>>

Chris Orr | Director, Cinematographer, Editor

Growing up in Seattle I never imagined myself making a living creatively in the film industry. Today I feel like being a filmmaker is more accessible for younger generations. Literally anyone can pickup an iPhone, watch a couple YouTube tutorials, and begin a journey creating their own content. If you have the right mentality, stick with it and you’re on the lookout for opportunities the sky’s the limit. When I was growing up, the film industry felt very distant so making a career out of it, much less being a cinematographer wasn’t even on my radar. Instead, I never quite knew what I wanted to do when I “grew up” but for better or worse I’ve always had a low tolerance for doing things that I was not interest in. Although this reflected poorly on my grades in school. Read more>>

Dwight Simmons | Stand-Up Comic

I respected artists tremendously growing up. As a kid, I loved musicians, comedians, writers…I, probably out of pure admiration, always tried to explore myself in those creative ways. In college and shortly after, I kind of lost that part of myself in search of a”real world” career. I got a job doing door to door selling sports packages. After that fizzled out (big surprise), I got another sales job. And then another. I was miserable and awful at all of them. Frustrated, I decided to give stand-up another shot. Even though I wasn’t very good, I was undoubtedly addicted. I loved everything from getting on stage to refining a bit after a show to hanging with other creative people. Going to dinner with a bunch of salespeople is enough to make you want to jump off a bridge. Once I started gaining momentum with comedy, I knew there was nothing else that I wanted to do. My goal was then to put my head down and try and make it into a sustainable career. Read more>>

Diego Kuri | Actor

Whenever i think about what I want to do in my life I think of art. I see art as a creative way of expression. It’s a great thing because expressing yourself creatively is therapeutic so you’re cleansing yourself. And by sharing your creation it can also be therapeutic or inspiring for someone else. I think art can touch us humans in deep ways that sometimes logic or words can’t really explain. Read more>>

Autumn Palen | Filmmaker

It all started in grade school, penning comics on scratch paper at recess, waiting patiently as my friends read my words, and lighting up at the faintest hint of a laugh. I’ve always been a “shy ham” — which is to say, in a somewhat unflattering fashion, that I enjoy being goofy and entertaining others, but avoid being directly in the spotlight. As such, I enjoy the communal creation aspect of filmmaking. Whenever I find myself at the helm of a creative project, I relish in incorporating the thoughts and ideas of my team into the final product. In my eye, more cooks don’t spoil the pot, they just make for a richer flavor. I push onwards in my creative endeavors, to share my silly thoughts with the world, but to share the silly thoughts of others with the world as well. Read more>>

Gabrielle Alvarez | Makeup Artist

Ever since I was a young child I wanted to be an artist, and knew it was my way to happiness. I never second guessed another path for whatever reason, but I did experiment with so many mediums to really find what spoke to me. I always found the pursuit of art and beauty a noble pursuit. Read more>>

Rowan Joseph | Singer/Songwriter, Actor

When I was growing up I was always wildly infatuated with the arts. Whether it was singing, dancing, acting or what have you I was obsessed with it. I honestly don’t remember when I really started having the idea that I wanted to go in to entertainment when I was growing up because It feels like a desire I’ve had since I was born. I remember every year when I’d start a new grade with new classmates and It would be time to go around the room and have all the kids share what they wanted to be when they were older, and I always thought I was weird because I would watch all the other kids answers change each year while mine always stayed the same, “Im going to be a singer” I would say. I pursued an artistic and creative career because it is my passion, it lights a fire in me and keeps me excited. All I want out of this life is to make people happy doing what makes me happy. Read more>>

Laath Martin | Documentary Photographer & Instructor

Art has always been an outlet for me to make sense of the world. It started with me as a child sitting by my bedroom window with sheets of notebook paper, drawing my favorite airplanes I longed to use for my escape from home. And over the years, this concept of art as escape continued in me. It wasn’t until I started using a camera at college in North Carolina that I realized art, especially photography, was a way of connecting as well. Now, I’m fortunate enough to use my camera to tell intimate stories of the people around me who are much more like me than I realized – people who are chasing memories and forming new ones, sometimes shaped by forces we can’t always control, like a troubled home for that boy sitting by his bedroom window. The generational and cultural importance of church crowns. Read more>>

Brent Fischer | Grammy®-winning Producer, Composer, Arranger, Consultant and Lecturer

One of my earliest memories is of lying underneath my father’s grand piano, listening to him play. His name was Clare Fischer and he was a Grammy®-winning producer, composer, arranger like myself. He was taking me to recording sessions by the time I was five. I would listen and learn while he was making music for hundreds of movies (like Earthquake and Enter The Dragon), tv shows (such as Mission: Impossible or Mork And Mindy) and albums (Prince, Paul McCartney, Robert Palmer, etc.) that people still enjoy today. He got me my first drum set at age six, my first electric bass at age 14 and paid for my first few years at CSUN, where I got my music degree. When I was 15, he felt I was advanced enough for professional work and put me on his next album, which won a Grammy® the following year. So I was literally surrounded by music from birth. Read more>>

Jake Silverman | Keyboardist, Composer, and Producer

When I was about 4 years old, my grandmother had passed away and we inherited her piano. I took a liking to the instrument even before I had any idea of how to play it. As a kid, I had a very difficult time in school. I had trouble paying attention and performed poorly in class. I was socially inept, and as a result was bullied a lot. The piano became a means of escape from the troubles I faced so frequently in school. As I got older, my relationship with the instrument only deepened. By my senior year of high school I was a regular performer at the jazz clubs in DC and Baltimore. When I was on the band stand with my friends, I felt a strong sense of purpose. Since then there has been no turning back for me. Read more>>

Samantha Jaime | Makeup & FX Artist

I chose to pursue a career as an makeup artist because I love color, changes, and I’m creative. I love seeing different people, different colors, anything that is out of the ordinary. Read more>>

Johnna Slaby | Abstract Expressionist Painter

I think about this question often, and I believe that a lot of artists can reply with a similar answer: I never intended to become an artist. While each person progresses in their careers differently, it all starts with an indescribable curiosity, a calling some would put it. For myself, I initially planned on becoming a musician. However, not being able to withstand the pressure of competitions and difficulty that comes with pursuing an instrument professionally, I decided to take a long break. During my hiatus, I came across a beautiful video of an older gentleman from New York drawing his breakfast bagel. The vibrant colors and deep lines of his sketch spoke to me, and a little voice inside my head said, “I think you can do that”. The very next day, I went out and bought watercolors and the rest is history. So if I alter the question a bit, there is a reason why I continue to pursue art each day. Read more>>

Jeremy Lucido | Creative Director of Starrfucker Magazine

I started an artistic career because I didn’t know what else I wanted to do. It was my only option. While attending Highschool, I didn’t know what I was going to major in at college. I loved photography and took classes in school for it, but it was not until I was 18 that I realized that I could go to college for art and photography. I didn’t have the encouragement to pursue art and was very naive of my options. It was almost an impulsive decision to pick a major to apply to college. From there, I fell in love with photography and the creative arts, and there was nothing else piquing my interest so, it was almost a given that my career would reflect my creative talents. Read more>>

Abigail Brosh | Actor & Screenwriter

Honestly, it was the only thing I could see myself doing. When I was younger my tendency to put an artistic spin on things like basic geometry assignments got me into trouble. I’d be so into my pretend adventures at recess that the teachers would have to come find me to bring me back to class. And most of them weren’t too pleased with the doodles at the edge of my notes, even if they were on topic to the greek mythology we were learning. One of them recognized that I wasn’t well suited to traditional learning and suggested art school, and from then on I never looked back. Creating worlds, characters and stories has always been second nature to me. At times when I’m on set watching people speak the words I wrote, I think, I never really stopped playing pretend. I never outgrew daydreaming. Read more>>

Jason Barabba | Composer, Artistic Director, Non-Profit Arts Professional

I don’t believe I ever made a conscious choice to be in the arts. It came down to me realizing that composing music is the thing I get the most excited about doing, while also having enough self-confidence to believe that what I write is of value. This was a lengthy process that I’m constantly re-evaluating, as I imagine most artists do. I do not have a head for business or finance. I have little patience for lengthy meetings. I’m happiest when I can pursue an idea at my own pace, and find the right people to work with to make something happen. I’m a huge believer in collaboration, and I absolutely love when I get to work with talented people in any field. As a composer and presenter, I get the chance to work with just about any kind of artist that you can think of, and that’s been wonderful for my own creative output. I’m always influenced by the world around me. Read more>>

Kim Buckingham | Artist of Hand Embroidery, Painting, Tiling, Singing & Voice over

I pursued an artistic career because I was inspired by the color around me, I couldn’t help myself. From a box of cereal to a piece of broken glass when the sunlight hits it in a certain way, Its imbedded in me. I create my art because it brings me joy, It stirs my soul and leads me to wonderful new adventures and friendships. Read more>>

Kyle Derosiers | Actor/Writer/Creator

I think the reason why I chose to be and artist/creator is because my mind is constantly thinking and I can’t sit still very long at all. My brain never turns off and I’m thankful for that because if it did I would die… All jokes aside, I’m continually involving my real life with my creative life and when I see or hear funny or crazy things, I feel like I need to show the world how cool or out there that thing is. We all can get trapped in a boring day to day, I’ve even tried it myself. I lasted three months working for a home improvement company. It’s not for me. Ever since I was a kid I was telling stories and video taping my antics with my brothers. I just seem to enjoy life more when things aren’t the same over and over again. Living in Los Angeles, I see and hear funny, crazy, amazing, things all the time. I feel that I need to share these stories with the world. It’s way more fun to share with others instead of keeping these things in my head. Read more>>

Holland de Klerk | Activist, Dancer, Poet, Writer, Director, Musician, Actor.

I spent a lot of my childhood being told that work was never supposed to be fun. Whether it was from teachers, or family, or the media I consumed, it became my understanding that it was always going to be this awful, unfulfilling thing. And truthfully, that terrified me. Art is like an addiction for me. It’s all I am ever thinking about. I wake up, dance for a few hours, write for several more, capture as much film of the beautiful things I encounter, and fall asleep at the piano. I truthfully have a hard time falling asleep due to wishing it would be morning again on the nights when I don’t play. So for me, there never really has been another option. I think if you were to put me in a desk job I would combust. It just took the realization that work can be something you don’t absolutely hate, It just doesn’t come with that sense of security. But I’m okay with that, I’d rather struggle as an artist my whole life than succeed in a career I don’t enjoy. It’s everything to me, creating. That feeling it provides me with makes all the the other stuff seem so small. Read more>>

Ricky Sanchez | Wordsmith, Multi-Dimensional Creative

I just never saw another way for my life. well, that’s not entirely true. I did excel at the “9-5” life for a bit because I thought that’s “how you do it.” So when life handed me a different option, I felt so aligned in chasing this muse of mine wherever it wants to go, because I know it leads me to my restoration, joy and love. back to my roots…back to who i really am. t Literally, I’m of the mindset that my poetry is my life and vice-versa. If my art is flowing, it’s because I’m in alignment with myself, my higher self, my everything. The creative process is a microcosm for what we experience in everyday life. The inspiration, the crafting, the expressing, the performing, the sharing and the potential feeling of rejection, or even scarier, “success.” Short answer is that art is going to save us, so I wanted to dedicate my entire life to it. Read more>>

Gisselle Borress | Jewelry Designee

Brevn is my passion project. It was purely created as a way to express the one aspect of my life I was always missing, creativity and focus. Brevn became the vehicle for my creative escape with endless possibilities to continually create and repeat. I wasn’t looking for a “job” as I have that taking care of my family and running our household. I never expected that jewelry design would become a “career” but I am enjoying every moment of my days when I am making something beautiful, knowing that will pass along other people wearing BrevN Designs. Eight years ago, I moved to a town where people are creating. Malibu is filled with hat and bathing suit designers, writers, photographers, healers, artists, etc. For me, being surrounded by creative people and powerful elements like the ocean and mountains, was the perfect place to get inspired and motivated. Jewelry was an easy choice for me. Read more>>

Lennon Hobson | Actor & Producer

Simply put, I wanted to be a magic creator. I fell in love with dance when I saw the Sugar Plum Fairy at 3 years old. It was the first time I recognized that a real life fairy existed and could make me believe in magic. My parents caught on and they introduced me to the world of musical theater where I immediately related to the characters within. Everything from Hello Dolly to Singin’ in the Rain to Chicago, I latched on to those women and the dancing, and the magical spectacle of it all. My parents met in the film industry. My father is a composer and my mother was a film editor. They encouraged my older sister’s love of film and post production and she wanted to be a director and editor of film. Growing up in that household, it felt beautifully inevitable that I would turn into an artist. In a macro sense, I love how art is the mirror for society. Read more>>

Gloria Fanchiang | Singer/Songwriter & Worship Leader

Deep down I always had a desire to be a musician but growing up I never believed it was possible. As the daughter of an avid classical music lover and amateur French horn player, I took music lessons and played and sang in numerous ensembles and choirs all through my childhood. I even considered applying to music school for college but my immigrant parents would not support me in pursuing such a financially risky path. As a college student my relationship with music changed. Previously it was all about achievement and vanity, but when I found faith in God, music became a medium for prayer and deep communion with God, as well as a medium for healing. Struggling through depression and anxiety, I found solace singing and playing hymns and worship songs. After I graduated college I found a job in marketing research and joined a local church, whose music ministry blessed me immensely and aided me in my journey of inner healing. Read more>>

Candice Waltrip | Content Creator

I kinda fell into the creative world through my work when I was in college. While I was pursuing my degree in International Studies, I landed a full-time job at a local video production company. This was back in the early 2000s, so having access to Adobe products like Photoshop, After Effect, and Illustrator was rare unlike today where it’s more affordable and not just for business owners. When I got a taste of it, I couldn’t get enough and just kept learning more at work and attended a few Adobe workshops. I initially started working as a receptionist, but I fell in love with the production side so much that I eventually worked my way up to a video editor. There was no YouTube or Adobe Max during those times, so I learned a lot from my amazing co-workers. My sister was one of them and she taught me a ton and to this day guides me when it comes to creative work. Fast forward to today, I am no longer in video production; however, everything I learned many years ago is what I apply to my creative work for my travel blog. Read more>>

Xela Black | Singer-Songwriter

I’m pursuing this career because it’s what I was put here to do. I believe that with every fiber of my being. I didn’t one day decide “oh music looks cool, I should do that!”; It’s been part of the way I’ve conducted my life since I was a child and how I will until I’m too old to care anymore.. if that day ever comes. Read more>>

Ruby Woo | Recording Artist

I pursued a creative career because music has always been my first love. The ability to be creative and expressive through music is a feeling unlike any other. It’s what I am passionate about and what I look forward too everyday!. Read more>>

Tess Vockler | DJ

A love of storytelling and passion for music encouraged me to explore a create career. I was a violinist and could read music as well as singing in choirs and being the ultimate show pony from a very early age. It was all very musical from the get go and I loved putting on shows for people, performing in garish outfits for family friends when I was just a child haha. When I finished school it made sense for me to continue with my music. My mum also recognised a musical love within me and inspired me to continue studying music. She was so supportive and still is. I love empowering and entertaining people. Making them feel inspired with my sound!. Read more>>

Dorian Tocker | Filmmaker/Music Video Director

I skipped a lot of school when I was a teenager. I would stay up late into the night obsessively scrounging around production company websites over dodgy broadband internet on my blueberry iMac, watching the latest music videos and commercials from the likes of Hype Williams, Mark Romanek, Melina, Malik Sayeed, Chris Cunningham, Jonathan Glazer, and on and on. (Either that or I was making beats, tweaking bass levels in tattered earmuff headphones.) I’d then be too tired in the morning to go to school, and I slept through class frequently. When I did finally make it to school, instead of going to class, I would most likely be found in the basement where the editing equipment was, literally cutting and splicing physical film or, later, on a primitive version of Final Cut Pro. It was either luck or serendipity that my school — an artistically focused and alternative environment without traditional grades — offered filmmaking classes. Read more>>

Brittney Marie | Freelance Makeup Artist & CEO

I pursued the career of being a Freelance Makeup Artist because doing makeup is a true passion of mine. I’ve had many different jobs in search of what would make me content in life, and nothing makes me feel “happy at work” like when I’m doing makeup! I love being able to express my creativity, and the bonding experience with each of my clients is unmatched!. Read more>>

Daniel Scherl | Writer, Photographer, Musician, Podcast Host

I know there are semantics you could delve into, but speaking in the grand scheme of things, I don’t know that I had a real choice. Since I can remember, I’ve felt passionately about the creative arts. Whether it’s writing, music, photography, or a slue of artistic hobbies, I don’t remember a time when I haven’t felt driven to create. Being creative fulfills me in a way that nothing else does. Read more>>

Ian Aguilar | Sculptor & Ceramic Artist

Freedom. I feel absolutely free when I create. Figuring out how to make a living doing it is the tricky part. Read more>>

Lauryn Bellafiore | Owner of Sole Ayurveda/ Entrepreneur/Artist/Practitioner

Life is a creative foundation to me. It’s innate for me, + I feel all of us to make each move, navigations, + delegations an art form. From doing the dishes, to stocking your fridge/ turning it into an altar, navigating your personal finances, to parenting. It’s all a medium of formulating, stacking functions, planning, and then completely letting go and seeing what reveals itself. The creativity comes in; in how we transmute/formulate what has revealed itself. So for me to be able to create a product line while choosing Ayurveda as a path, it’s what I’m already doing in my world internally; what a treat to then extend that outward to the world + share my process. The why; is because it was innate. I try to follow what feels natural to my contribution + purpose. Read more>>

TILLI | Singer Songwriter Artiste

In the pursuit of happiness… I understood for myself that it was probably the best way for me to use everything I’ve got … or have been given . My voice and artistry are what have pulled me through all kinds of life events … it’s not boring . It suits my temperament as it is a loose enough framework for me to grow within . The more I grow … the more I can give and share . The entire cosmos is a Symphony. I’ve heard it play. Read more>>

Amiracle | Standup Comedian, Songwriter, & Guitarist

I chose to pursue a creative career because a creative lifestyle goes right along with it. What I mean by that is I can be creative about my day to day schedule, my activities, and my work flow. My creative career revolves around performing standup comedy, travel, writing jokes, songs, and creating content for social media. I use to work a 9 to 5 and perform in bands at night and weekends. My schedule was strict and ruled by time clocks and quotas. I never enjoyed the 40 hour work week, working for someone else’s company. It was just to pay the bills and maintain my musician dreams. The jobs I worked brought me lots of frustration, stress, and completely unsatisfied. When I decided to commit my life to pursuing standup comedy, I chose to work a part time job that would allow me to work at my own pace and be my own boss. Uber and Lyft. If you ever caught a ride in a silver Jetta in LA, then we probably had an interesting conversation. Read more>>

Connie Lail- Cortez | Anthropomorphic Taxidermist & Crafting Obsessed Mom

Have you ever had a dream, or nightmare rather, that you were falling? That sinking, drowning desperation that you can’t stop yourself no matter how much you’re reaching for a stray branch, a kind hand, or a damn trampoline to break your fall?? Well, that’s how my life has felt whenever I’ve attempted to hold a “regular” job. My anthropomorphic taxidermy combines all the things I love the most- Taxidermy, sewing, miniatures, and the macabre. It’s truly the only thing that helps keep my sanity. Crafting is a fun stress reliever, and you get a great sense of pride when you’ve completed something with your hands. As long as I can remember I’ve always been a little bananas for crafting, a real “handmade is better than store bought,” kind of gal. When I was a kid, my grandmother had the most amazing craft room. Read more>>