We asked some of the city’s rising stars about why they think they have been so successful and we’ve shared their responses below.

Jess Meuse | Singer/Songwriter, Streamer, Pre-Med Student, and NASM Certified Personal Trainer

Focus is a huge habit that has contributed to my success. I’m a big multitasker — I do about 15 different things simultaneously – from designing new merchandise to creating content, streaming on Twitch and promoting my gaming brand, fitness and health, and my music brand. At the end of the day, being able to focus on the task and actually complete it is what has gotten me where I am now. I am also a full-time student, and my grades are important to me, so having “tunnel-vision” focus is imperative. Secondly, time management skills are absolutely imperative. As a business person, brand, and artist, I have to schedule literally everything in my life – whether that’s homework or going out afterward and grabbing a beer with a friend. Read more>>

Sonya Sklaroff | Artist

I did not wait for the inspiration to strike. It was always important for me to be in my studio working even if I did not feel inspired. I was constantly creating and that motivation to make my art would fuel my vision. The inspiration would ultimately emerge as I worked. Read more>>

Aleksei (Alex) Koren | Graphic Designer & Illustrator

Staying positive, honest, staying true to myself and my beliefs, being curious, not giving up, encourage others, and desire to learn and to improve. Read more>>

Janis Fowler | Artist

Making time for simply playing and experimenting is so important for me! I think as a lot of people “grow up” they forget how important it is to try new things and not take themselves too seriously. I try and make a point to try any artistic idea or medium that really gives me a feeling of excitement at least once. For example, if the idea for a piece is something off the wall, unconventional, or even gross I don’t let that stop me from making it. I have made some really fun pieces that ended up being really successful even though I was skeptical in the beginning. The big bonus to this approach is that even the failed attempts are interesting, and you ALWAYS learn something that can be used later! Read more>>

Mitchell Hawley: Illustrator and Visual Artist

When I was a teenager I came across this Dutch artist who kept sketchbooks and uploaded them to a personal site he made. It was an instant, gut attraction for me to want to do that too. I remember daydreaming about when I’m an old man and having a room full of bookcases full of sketchbooks. There is a story by the late Hippie surrealist Richard Brautigan about a library that is entirely composed of just regular folks who write and make their own books. I always loved this imagery. I’ve always appreciated and romanized folks who are creatures of habit. I love the idea of committing to a craft and growing alongside it. I think keeping habits is a way to help make life less confusing and chaotic. You feel in control, and for me I find habits help with my mood and feeling anxious. It definitely contributes to a good self-image. Read more>>

Arty Whittenberg | Vocal Recording Artist, Musician and Music Teacher

The habits that have helped me succeed are the simple building blocks to success. Prayer, Hard Work, Perseverance, Integrity and Passion for life. Having the opportunities to make a difference in my student’s lives has given me hope that life can be wonderful if we give of ourselves unselfishly. Respecting one’s craft gives a stability of hope and loyalty to the cause of life! Read more>>

Stef Garcia | Illustrator

First and foremost, keeping a calendar and a visible to-do list where I can write down ideas that randomly pop into mind have been super helpful. Second, I’m not sure if this is a habit, but “showing up” has been very important to me in my practice. When I was starting out as an art student in college I had my bouts of anxiety and self-doubt in my abilities. I was worried about what the future held and was really overthinking everything, to the point where I was scared to move forward into any direction. However scared I was though, I knew that I had to put myself out there and make something happen. I had always heard that an important aspect of art and life is simply “showing up”, so I started showing up for myself and entered group art shows at local galleries like the Insomnia Gallery and Hardy & Nance. Read more>>

Sisavanh Phouthavong Houghton | Professor of Painting and Social Advocate for the Arts

Applying for shows gave me a deadline to keep creating new work, and it allowed me to continue exploring materials that supported my concepts. Read more>>