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.

Caiya Velasco Teters | Dancer & Circus Artist

Choosing my artistic career was an easy decision for me. I was lucky enough to be raised in the industry (since age 3) and have always had a passion for the arts; even as a child. So my answer wouldn’t necessarily be I “chose” to pursue this career, art is who I am, and I know if I pursued anything other than that I would be going back on who I knew my true self to be. Read more>>

Bowen Thi | Musician

I decided to pursue this artistic career for a lot of reasons. There is no definite answer to this question, but everything just made sense and my mind. I say that because this artistic career/path is something that I’ve wanted to pursue for a long time, music was just one path that I found to be the clearest. When I was a child, I wanted to be a movie director because I love films and the production behind most of the movies I watched. I idolized directors such as Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese, and to this day, I still do. The shift from film directing to producing music came about in middle school, where I decided to pick up specific programs after listening to a couple of tracks on SoundCloud and scrolling through YouTube. Long story short, my curiousness eventually turned into what you see now. Music is life, and you don’t get to experience anything else like how you experience music. Read more>>

Honeymoon Aljabri | Filmmaker

I do enjoy learning about history, and storytelling. If we do not tell our own story, someone will tell, and when they do, most time they will shape and change how we know about us. I am Africa female filmmaker, I chose this career because I want to re write about African stories, I want to ask question about women and the power we have to change the world.. Is not easy to a female African filmmaker, but lots of tears and running around, step by step I believe one day I will be able to change mind of many who think less about Africa, especial African women. Read more>>

Kasey Willis | Hair Designer

I always had a creative side to me when I was younger but struggled to find the medium. I kind of “fell into” doing hair. But I feel like God really led me to this career path to challenge me in different areas of my life and refine me of some character flaws so I could be better and live a more full life and hep others. Specifically, I am an introvert at heart and it used to be really crippling but, I had to learn to work around that and adapt to people in my chair. Read more>>

Kim-Ling Sun | Writer, Activist, & Award Winning Educator

The arts have always been an integral part of my life; as a child, I first explored the arts as a pianist, a singer, and as an actress, but as I matured, I discovered I love the timbre of my voice most when ink etches itself upon a page. As more thoughts spilled and tumbled into sheets and sheets, I decided to abandon the limelight of the stage. The pen allowed me to fully express myself without the artifice of performing, without the need to don a persona. I do not believe one ever chooses to be a writer; writers by nature live and breathe in metaphor. It is an innate and intimate part of your being. What you do choose is whether to share your vision of the world with others through publication. Read more>>

Zakiya Lateefah | Podcaster, Freelance Social Media Manager

I chose a creative career because it allows me to have freedom. Freedom is one of the values I prioritize the most because it gives options. Options are important with a creative career because you aren’t obligated to stay in a box. I knew at a young age that I wanted to take a creative path in life. I had no desire to be at 9-5 for the rest of my life and a creative career was so much more fitting for me and my personality. Read more>>

Will Robinson | Fashion & Portrait Photographer

I decided to start a creative career in photography because art is literally what fuels me and it comes so natural to me. I come from an artistic family and I’ve always had the “eye” for creative style so it was only right for me to finally start a career in what I love. Since I was 16, I worked a regular 9-5 job but I never felt satisfied with what I was doing. I started doing photography at the age of 22 as a side hustle because I liked how it brought in extra money but I began to really fall in love with photography especially when I learned how to incorporate my own style to it. It also allowed me to meet and interact with people. I was able to learn their stories and backgrounds and I liked how they trusted me with telling their story through photography. Read more>>

Ruby Gomez Kayla Salazar | Balloon Stylist

Growing up, I have always been drawn to the way people celebrate others. Whether it would be from a simple cake to a full-blown celebration, there was something about seeing people be seen and known that made me want to be part of that moment. Last year when the pandemic hit, I soon realized that I had an opportunity to bring people joy and tap into my creative side, a side that was only reserve for my family. This combination made me step out of my comfort zone and bring people both joy and creativity. I am appreciative that I had family members who encouraged me to pursue this path. Their constant reminder and showing of pictures online gave me the courage to start this path—a path where I can turn a simple balloon into a river of happy tears. Read more>>