Artistic and creative careers are among the most rewarding, but they also come with unique challenges. We asked some of the city’s best creatives to tell us why they choose to pursue a creative career.

Ian Webb | Communications Director & Brand Designer

Growing up, my grandfather was an artist, but most importantly, he was my idol. Everything he did in his professional world always turned to gold, and he was respected and admired by his peers, his community, and also his students (he was also an art teacher). For the longest time, I didn’t think I had any artistic ability in my body (I can’t even draw a stick figure!), but it wasn’t until late high school/early college that I discovered that I do have a creative bone in my body, but it doesn’t materialize through a traditional ink/paint on paper format. Read more>>

Giovanni Aramendiz | Creative Director & Writer.

I’ve worked several types of jobs. From customer service, shoes salesman, to food industry. I’ve been an associate producer and I’ve been a quality control editor for Univision. I’ve answered phones and I’ve even been a telemarketer. But in each job I found myself beginning to suffocate always around the year mark. The more my personal creativity got put on hold or on the back burner, the more I found myself suffocating and feeling claustrophobic in my own head. I create because I feel like that is what I was designed to do. Read more>>

Diko Pekdemir-Lewis | Fashion Designer & Business Owner

Growing up with creative parents paved my path into working in a creative field. My mom was a singer and a poem writer and my dad is a bespoke tailor. Both enjoyed and loved their career and shared their joy with me. In a young age I knew that I wanted to follow my dad’s path and pursue a career in fashion.
My dad always amazed me by how he was able to create a men’s suit out of a piece of fabric. Read more>>

MELISSA WHITE | Craft Artisan & Enthusiasts

I didn’t pursue it…it chose me! I am gifted in a multitude of creative skills. So much so that it feels to be apart of my DNA. If one day I woke up and all my creative abilities were gone and I wasn’t able to create anything…I might as well be dead! Creativity is my 9-5, my safe space, my way of living…. grateful to be chosen. Read more>>

Willie D. Davis, IV | Actor/Artist/Author

I chose music after seeing an album that my mother appeared on as a gospel singer. Along the way it became a way to not only entertain but to educate. It also allowed me and allows me to express my thoughts and feeling in a creative and constructive way. Music eases the tension and the stress in my life. It has allowed me to touch and to inspire so many. It’s opened so many doors and allowed me to meet and learn from other artists. Read more>>

Amber Williams | Producer, Writer, & Social Media Manager

I started my “As-I-Amber” blog in college because I wanted an outlet to express myself and write about things I didn’t see people that looked like me in mainstream pop culture or media talk or write about. I have a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and after graduating and starting to work in the corporate world, I still desired to have a creative outlet, but realized with the rise of social media, quick posts, and texting, most people’s attention spans were becoming shorter. People aren’t always in the mood to sit and read an article or post, so I decided to shift my website from just being blog posts to adding podcast episodes and music playlists where people can listen anytime, anywhere and that has been successful for me. Read more>>

Robert Jones | accent wall artist

I chose to pursue an artist career for many reasons. The main reason is I love working with my hands designing and creating things from scratch. I love finding inspiration to solve problems creatively. When I’m designing the feature walls I just love making my clients thoughts, ideas and dreams a reality Read more>>

Janik Alexander | Freelance Photographer & Graduate Student

I tore my ACL, MCL and meniscus going into my junior year playing basketball. I knew that I had to come up with a backup plan. Basketball wasn’t going to be my end goal anymore. I’ve always liked taking pictures of my family during the holidays, so I started to take it more seriously. I joined yearbook in high school then joined in college. When others started to see my work they told me that I should start charging people. They felt as though I would make money for my hard work, but I just liked to see their reactions when they see the pictures I took of them. What’s a better way than making money for something that you love to do. Read more>>

Maxim Isban | Photographer

Going into senior year of high school I was honestly lost. I was planning on majoring in computer science but I had no actual interest in it. At this time photography was a hobby of mine, but I never thought of taking it seriously until late senior year where I started getting more serious with it and expanding my knowledge. Photography turned from being a little side hobby to something I want to build my life around. Read more>>

Kimberly Dodge | Paper Artist, Stationery Designer, and Art Journaler

I decided to pursue an artistic or creative career both out of passion, and out of necessity. I am someone that has dealt with life long health problems. Endometriosis, multiple rounds of tumors, multiple surgeries, as well as complications that arose both from health issues and surgeries, such as extreme fatigue, breathing issues, and high levels of pain. I also deal with allergies and asthma, as well as severe anxiety and PTSD. In other words, I’ve been fighting a battle my whole life, both on the physical and emotional fronts. Read more>>

Delvia Wilder | Visual Artist

I am a self-taught visual artist born in Washington, D.C. I started creating in 2004, which was an emotionally difficult period in my life. When I started creating, my images I never added facial features because on the inside I was hurt, suicidal and just an emotional wreck. But my artwork was vibrant, colorful, bold and always made people smile. Although I had always been creative in drawing and sketching, being an artist was not in my life’s plan. Developing and creating my artwork became an outlet and stress-reliever. It changed my way of life.  So, I opened up my eyes and poured out my soul to create what I have today. Read more>>

STK SIDD | Visual Artist (Photographer, Videographer & Creative Director)

I was born a creative and I would like to think that this lifestyle/career chose me. As cliche as it sounds, who wouldn’t want to make money doing what they love? Whether it was music, photography or videography, I have been dabbling in the creative realm since I was about 10 years old. As I got older, my love for the arts grew and I realized how important it was to be able to not only express myself but to help others do the same. There is a level of confidence that you see rise within clients when you show them that you got the perfect shot. Or when playing back a music video you watch your clients face light up because you captured their vision perfectly. It really does make it all worth it in the end. I get to capture some of the most precious moments that people will hold on to for the rest of their lives. Read more>>

Alexandria Gray | Resin Artist & Writer

I pursued my creative career because as a kid, I’ve always been creative especially with writing & creative projects. I actually had to do kindergarten twice because I didn’t speak, I just wrote. All through school from then to highschool I’ve always created, & wanted more knowledge of other creative endeavors. Fast forward to my resin art business that’s been established for a year & a half now; I started that to reflect myself & other creatives, from healing pieces to home decor. I love what I do. I mostly started it for my siblings though, they inspire me & I want to inspire & motivate them, so every creative endeavor is a legacy that’ll be left for them. Read more>>

Tremaine Riddick | Rapper

Since I was 10 or 11 writing in my school pads, I knew had a gift with putting word together. Read more>>

Isaac Lashawn Ricks, MBA | Chef, Author and Business Owner

When I think about my career I’d honestly have to say it chose me. I’ve always been a creative, naturally. At a young age I fell in love with the arts, music, theater, performance, poetry and culinary. There is such a freedom and blessing in being able to express your most vulnerable yet truest self through creativity. The human soul immediately relates to creativity and falls in love with the authenticity of such. Read more>>

Broly Su | Illustrator & Graphic Designer

I was three when I first picked up a pencil and started to doodle, and little did I know how important it was for me to continue creating in my life back then. I only remember the feeling of drawing lines and turning them into an object, soothing and comforting, like magic. As I grew older, I noticed I was never interested in anything taught from school. Defined as a problem student, I would get bored in class and sketch random cartoon characters in my textbooks and school uniforms. Read more>>

Kat Coffee | Esthetician & Makeup Artist

I pursued a creative career because creativity has always been where I succeeded. I have always felt more at ease when in positions that allow for creativity. It creates a better mental state for me when I am not confined to thinking in a specific way. While working in my degree field (Business Administration with an emphasis in Hospitality Management), I was not given. As much creative liberty as I would have liked. There was a standard process for how to do mostly everything. I quickly began to feel stifled. Read more>>

kxngcardo | Dancehall artist

I started singing from a young age while in school the encouragement from my peers and relatives help to drive me. singing take me to new level of consciousness. Read more>>

Tabitha Rice | Lash Artist & Medical Professional

As a biracial woman I was always confused growing up. I couldn’t relate to anyone. I was bullied nonstop. I had ADD, Anxiety, Depression bad growing up and I feel they become worse as an adult. I couldn’t find anything to focus on. I had coloring books, reading books, meditation and even turned to physicians for help on how to handle my mental because I couldn’t get a hold of it I felt. It wasn’t until I completed lash training that everything made sense. I finally found a craft that I truly enjoy doing and I can focus on. Read more>>

Jessica Hill | Web and Graphic Designer

I don’t think I ever thought I would have a career other than a creative one. It just never even seemed like an option for me. Since I can remember, I’ve always made art, and I’ve always loved the struggles and the excitement of creating something from nothing. I love all the challenges it brings as well. Being a graphic designer, you have to not only be creative but logical as well. You have to solve problems and digest information then present in a way that makes sense and looks good. Read more>>

Joe Colton Cosplay | Cosplayer

I have always been mesmerized by movies, fashion, prosthetics, science fiction or fantasy. I loved seeing what people had created and just wanted to make those things. My mom was a seamstress by trade, and later on a housewife and then worked cleaning offices and as a demo lady at Costco. She never stopped sewing though. My 9-5 is for a consulting firm and so I am constantly problem solving all the time. The cosplayer side of me is my creative side. It’s a way to express myself and challenge myself to make things that even my mom as a seamstress is surprised by. She’s even joined in and helps me with some of my costumes. Read more>>

Liz Brent | Teaching Artist & Creative Entrepreneur

Between my mom, dad, and five siblings, I actually come from a family full of creative people, whether they all admit it or not lol. My dad and oldest brother are artists and create under BrentArt with me, so creativity was just the norm in my household. However, I did not have an art program in school until my freshman year of high school. I remember arts and crafts with my classroom teachers when I was really young, and I remember a lady coming in during seventh grade to teach art for maybe 2 weeks, but there was never a formal art education for me until I was 14. Read more>>

Michael Hollingsworth | Artreprenuer, Dancer/Choreographer/Instructor/Artist Developer

My family has been in a variety of fields in the entertainment industry for generations. My cousin is in a DJ/Producer Duo called “Garden State” that is signed with Anjunabeats, my first cousin removed has been a record producer for artists such as Biggie Smalls and best friends with Sean Lennon, most of my family can sing or dance, my biological father Vince Duque is a film producer who has worked on shows and movies such as: Dr. Dolittle, Party of Five, House, Zoey 101, The Astronauts Wife and more. So in a cheesy answer, I guess it’s always been in my blood on both side of the fence, but my real answer is I’ve enjoyed dancing, but it became a career out of necessity because I lost everything one day and all I had was the emergency exit. Read more>>