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.

El Tayepac | Artist & Rapper

I’ve always had a fascination with how words are constructed. As well as the feeling of tones as they register in my mind. I instinctively understood at an early age how present and impactful music is/can be. Just wanted to do some teaching of my own. Read more>>

Hillary Ramos | Writer, Digital Creator, Illustrator

I’m honestly going to have to be that girl for a second and say that it chose me. I have loved writing and drawing since I was a child. One of my favorite gifts as a kid was a “Make Your Own Story Book” Kit. I could write stories and illustrate them, and then my mom would send them off to get bound in a little book. So art and writing have truthfully always been a passion of mine, and they’re a huge part of my life. Life took me down quite a different road career wise, though, for a while. I was a very high achiever in school. I found myself rooting my self worth in my academic achievement and what other people thought of me. I was so dependent on external validation and with that came a lot of insecurities. I had this constant anxiety and need to fill my cup with that validation surrounding my achievements. Anxiety is a bear, and it truthfully grew into this monster within my spirit – I was constantly battling negative self talk and the exhausting cycle of emotions that come with anxiety and poor self worth. Read more>>

Trent Denson | Creative Creator (Videographer, Photographer, Filmmaker)

I chose the creative path because it was the only path that clicked and peaked my interest. This clear as day for me once I started volunteering/working at the TV station and got into my film classes at the illustrious University of West Georgia when I said to myself “You know what? I’m pretty good at this. Let’s see where this can take me.” Read more>>

Kristen Hendricks | Interior Design Strategist, Creator & Artist

I pursued an artistic and creative career, because I believe was made to create. We all are in some way. The majority of my family are creative. but the one family member I refer to the most, is my mom. She was a music teacher, florist, creative and artist. She created the most beautiful floral arrangements. She is one of the reasons, why I do this and named my decor business after her. “Lillie DeLaine” I spent a lot of days in her shop, and even though I did not give much interest to flowers back then (which I love them now), the experience of just being in the room I think sort of, indirectly ignited my own creativity. At home, I would often rearrange the furniture in my bed room and was told by my dad, that when I was about 5 or so I would say, I couldn’t wait to get my own place, so I could decorate it how I wanted it. But, it wasn’t until my senior of high school, that I actually really recognized and discovered my own creativity after taking an art class. Read more>>

Lakil Mason | Model & Actress

For as long as I can remember, I have always had a passion for art. My father and aunt were really great artist so I found myself often drawing, painting and partaking in arts and crafts when I was younger. In addition to art, I discovered I was creative in other ways such as writing, both critical and strategic thinking and communicating. Art is a form of storytelling. Art is admirable. Art appreciates in value. Even the most simplest form of art is appreciated. I pursued an artistic/creative career because my sole purpose in life is to inspire. I will to use my creativity to be an inspiration to all. Read more>>

Jameson Tank | Musician, Band Leader and Podcaster

Even from a young age, It seemed like an obvious decision for me. I was the kid who was drawing up plans for a lemonade stand during class in elementary school. In high school, I had several jobs but could not stand the idea of working for someone else. This lead to my eventual revelation that the only way I was going to be happy was working for myself. I knew music was what I was supposed to be doing, and now I am full-steam ahead on making it a career. Read more>>

Derrick Henderson | Photographer/Videographer/Artist

I pursue a creative/artistic career because I came to a point in my life where I wanted to do something I love instead of something to get me by that I didn’t love doing. I’ve been involved with art since I was a child, I always had art in my curriculum during my time in school because I loved it. So naturally as I got older I thought about making an impact on the world and I think being a creative is the way. When I’m finished I hope to leave a legacy behind for my children to expand on their own dreams. Read more>>

Angela Beasley (aka Angie B) | Multifaceted Creative | Visual Media Director, Videographer, Show Host and Producer, and More

My answer is quite interesting because I feel as if I didn’t pick it, it picked me. Everything I’ve ever aspired to do in life was with other people in mind. I’ve always had a heart to want to help people. A lot of the opportunites that I’ve have encountered and experienced have been divinely appointed to me. It’s like the blueprint has already been created for my life, and I am simply walking it out. I was made for what I am doing. It’s a part of my purpose. Read more>>

Marissa Berger | Actor & Theatre Performer

I knew I’d be involved in the arts before I decided to pursue acting. I naturally felt pulled to everything creative and artistic because of my musical family. My mom preached to my siblings and me that the arts were fulfilling and crucial to society. My strong suits in school pointed towards subjects that required creativity as well. So I continued to spend all my free time in dance classes or in musicals. Packing up what I knew to be home, I moved to Atlanta to pursue acting in a new market, and that marked my biggest leap of faith. More than anything I wanted to be auditioning for real jobs and proving myself in the industry. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I had more drive than I knew what to do with. More recently, I’ve asked myself why I am pursuing Film/TV and Theatre more often than I ever imagined. Read more>>

Matt Borlenghi | Actor, Acting Coach, Life & Health Agent

I didn’t choose art/creativity, it chose me. As a young child my folks had a friend who was an Italian film director and he told me he was going to make a western and I would be his young cowboy. Sadly, he died before that happened and I was left with a dream that I’ve spent decades chasing. Another thing was that I didn’t consider myself smart enough to do other types of business. It turns out that I was always plenty smart, I just needed to read the right books and study smarter, not harder. Read more>>

BrandonR | Recording Artist

I always had a love for creativity and being on my own wave as I continued to find myself. Music has always been apart me as a child. From church choir , to watching many family members associated with music, it was only a matter of time until I found my way to express myself by being a recording artist. There’s nothing like being able to express yourself on wax. The feeling of knowing others relate to my music is a beautiful thing. I want to be able to change people’s moods, feelings, attitudes, and etc because music has done that for me in a positive way. Read more>>

Dia Adams | Professional Ballroom Dancer/Instructor

I pursed a career that allowed me to be free and authentically me. I think so many people live there lives based on what society tells you instead of taking the time to feel what it is you’re here to do for the greater good; being a creative in the arts allows you the space and opportunity to legit be in your feelings, it’s kind of mandatory. Read more>>

Danessa Elreya | CEO and Artist

I wanted to find a career path that would allow me to have the freedom to create my art. I am incredibly passionate about Magical Intentions, and am grateful that I’m able to connect to others, and craft a unique piece that represents a special meaning to each client or customer. Read more>>

Courtney Berry | Custom Glass Cutting and Candle Maker

I didn’t pursue the creative career the creative career chose me! I have done just about ever job I thought I loved. Until, I started Bar Toppers GA!! I became filled with creative ideas and new things to make constantly., My eyes started seeing everything with new life and a new purpose. My brain started creating things I never thought I could. Truly the best career path for me to take. Read more>>

Alexis Blue | Photographer & Creative

I decided to pick a creative career simply because it was the only career that made sense for me. I always got asked the same cliche question of, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” As I grew older, I didn’t have a clue. I always did photography on the side, but I never imagined it to take off the way it has now. I have always been so hesitant on fully engaging in a creative career until now. I think that photography chose me, I didn’t choose it. This career has helped me make so many connections and help me express myself and how I look at things freely. I think the best part of pursuing a creative career is that it I’m doing what I love. The money is a plus. It never feels like a job I HAVE to do, but something I WANT to do all of the time. Read more>>

Jacob Jones | Artist/ Actor/ Voice Talent @jjdoesarts

Growing up, the things I loved were always in artistic and creative fields. I think it started with comics and cartoons. Some of my earliest memories were of me watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on a Saturday morning with a stack of paper and a handful of crayons. Eventually, I fell in love with musicals (I personally blame Disney for that one) and found my way into acting with my hometown’s local community theatres. It wasn’t long before I was carrying a sketchbook with me into rehearsals on those same Saturday mornings, and my love for both art forms has stuck with me to this day. Since I’ve known I had to make a living, I’ve always wanted to make it by doing what I love, and there are few things I love more than creating unique worlds, stories, and characters through art and acting. The short answer is, I suppose, that I couldn’t see myself doing much else happily. Read more>>

Bryan Fandrey | Photographer, Visual Artist

I’ve found that creating stuff is an outlet I haven’t always known I needed. I used to think I wasn’t creative at all because I couldn’t draw or paint, but I’ve found over time that when I find tools that bridge the technical interests with the creative visions I have I really am able to create and capture great moments. A lot of the encouragement I got along the way as I learned about and started to understand these things about myself has pushed me to try and make it a career. I just really enjoy creating and the specific mediums I’ve chosen, and so a career seems like a great opportunity to enable even more of that and surround myself with the best people to push my visions forward. Read more>>

Isabel A. & Moriah Curley-Clay | Theatrical Designers

Even though we come from an artistic family, it wasn’t actually the plan for either of us. We were both studying Anthropology and in pre-professional programs at NYU. We took a Design class with our actor roommates and kind of fell into it. We both discovered we had a lot more passion for the storytelling aspect of theatre then we did for studying cases or spending full days in a lab. There is something about the universal nature of humanity that is appealing and theatre design gave us a greater opportunity to dig in to that and fufil our creative impulses. Read more>>

DoubleCupJohnny | Producer

Making beats is fun. Art is fun. It’s not something that is “traditional” like how society wants us all to go to college and get a degree so we can work for whoever and waste our life away while we could’ve been doing something that we love and enjoy. Producing is something that gives me creative freedom. I can make whatever beat I feel like making and just get lost in the sound of the music. Read more>>

Mari Green | Gift Designer + Director of Joy

I never expected to pursue my creative side as a career path. In fact, I always knew that my place was in the medical field because I knew I wanted to help people and I was fascinated by the human body. I guess God had a different path for me but looking back I can see how life lead me to this moment. I started by accident. I’ve always been crafty and loved making gifts for others. Before I knew it, people were asking how to purchase. Over the years there have been many, many (I could add a few more but let me not bore you) iterations from colors and names that got me to where I am now. Some of them were absolutely hideous looking back!! Lol. As I have been on this life journey there were a few things that become really clear to me. I had been blessed with the gifts of creating nothing out of something, beautification, and making people feel good. I’ve always seen it as just treating people well but it’s so much more than that to me now. Read more>>

Emily Cown | Fluid Artist, Painter & Jewelry Maker

While I never envisioned myself as a visual artist of any kind, I’ve always wanted some kind of creative career—and I’m still working towards that, honestly. When I was about 11, I decided that I wanted to be a middle school band director. I was a band kid from 6th grade through high school, where that changed to wanting to be a high school band director. I went to college with plans of studying music education, but that didn’t work out. I’d gotten involved in drama while I was in high school and really loved it, so I decided to switch over to theatre for my major. My time in the theatre department at my university was not a great one for me, and I graduated feeling like I had so much more that I could have learned, but I mean, I got the degree. I didn’t really expect to have a whole career only in theatre, but I was hoping to make performing and comedy a big part of my life. Read more>>

Shikha Arya | Makeup Artist

I chose a creative career because I loved sketching and painting as a child. Growing up, I also developed a fetish for makeup. It made me feel more confident. I worked an IT job for few years and decided to start over and give my creativity skills a chance. I went to school to learn makeup and now I have 6 certificates. All I had to do is pick a brush and let the creative juices flow. My art makes my clients feel beautiful and confident, and that is very fulfilling for me. For me, this is success. I make people happy. Read more>>

Madisyn Epps-Johnson | Photographer

Because when I was growing up I was under the notion that success was only found through careers that required an exceptional amount of schooling. It’s something I went into college believing as well, and interestingly enough I wasted a number of years coming to the realization that your success is equal to your overall happiness. Once I started choosing things that made and continue to make me happy a lot of things in my life started to change. Every goal I reach within my career, no matter big or small, I find a reason to be happy with the success I’ve achieved and continue to set more goals for myself. Read more>>

Jayy Maadniss | Hip-Hop Artist

I’ve always wanted this type of life. Had I known I’d be going through so many hurdles I would have started earlier. I’ve been an artist/creative in some way shape or form since I could remember. When I was a kid you could always catch me drawing, watching music videos & movies then subtly pretending I was the main character afterwards, writing poetry, etc. Basketball was my first love, then I fell in love with hip-hop. Once I realized I had talent and music was what i wanted to do, it was on from there. 10+ years later and I’m still pursuing my dream. Read more>>

Ryan Slaughter | Master Makeup Artist &Entrepreneur

Being as though I am a creative person, I wanted to do something that came easy to me. I’ve had a lot different jobs, some I enjoyed, some I did not. None of them I enjoyed as much as me being a Makeup Artist. I always found myself spending an hour or so doing my makeup for those jobs, and it was simply because I liked doing makeup. Choosing this path made me feel complete. I was able to appeal to my creative size and also earn a living. A win win. Read more>>

Onny Mbagwu | Singer/Songwriter/Artist

Ever since I could remember a young age, I always had dreams of performing on the stage in front of a lot of people. Til’ this day, I am still having the same dream. I spent my whole life writing songs, producing music, lyrics, recording and all. I cannot stop here. As I am working on my music career, I am also pursing a Masters of Orthotics and Prosthetics. This was something I enjoyed doing other than music (because of course music was my first love). A lot of people are wondering what I will choose between both careers. Me, I didn’t even know I had to choose. I just cannot let go of music. I want to make music and I want to do it for the rest of my life if I can. I love the way the creative process fills me up and when it all comes together in the studio, my ears do a lil dancy dance and my heart pumps rapidly. Music is something a lot of people cannot live without. I cannot live without music and I also cannot live without making music. I think it something that will be a part of me forever, you know? So why not turn it into a career?. Read more>>

Morgan Worsham | Photographer and Art Gallery Coordinator

For my entire life I have always had the urge to create. As a child and into my teenage years I had the need to create, whether that be baking, coloring, taking photos, doodling, etc. Having an outlet and being able to make something where there was nothing before was very therapeutic for me. After going to college for photography and getting my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree I learned so many skills and artistic processes that I knew I needed a career in creativity to utilize all of the skills I learned. I also work for the art department where I got my degree and am in charge of their art galleries, so I get to be surrounded by art, inspiration, and creativity daily. Having a creative career that also brings joy to other people is beyond a dream for me. Read more>>

Yasmin Josiah | Filmmaker, Political Artist & Activist

I have always wanted to be a storyteller in one way or another. I want to be a truth-teller, to explore and examine the aspects and complexities of this world that are needed in order for us to evolve. Societies across the world are continually oppressed and submerged with deception, bias & misinformation. It can be extremely disconcerting and upsetting to exist in times like these. However there is a beauty in art and creativity that seemingly bring about human connect, understanding, unity, hope and evolution. Whether it be viral videos, media or art. Art is everywhere from marketing and advertising, to architecture to entertainment to medicine to technology. Read more>>

Michelle Lanzilatti | Stay At Home Mom/Interior Lover/Creator

When I moved to Atlanta from Pittsburgh, I had left everything behind. Friends, family, and my career in the medical field. Being pregnant on the move led my husband and I to the decision that I would be a stay at home mom. In a way, I had lost myself. I needed an outlet of some sort. I have always been creative, and decided to invest my energy and creativeness into our home. I began to slowly make our house a home. I didn’t realize that I had a passion for interiors until moving here!. Read more>>

Kalamity Carter | Content creator / Actor / Host & Commentator

I pursued an artistic or creative career because I feel it’s something I was born to do. Growing up I used to doodle and draw so much, I loved being able to express myself through it. As I started creating content online my artistic abilities carried over from pen & paper to creating video thumbnails to designing my Twitch and Youtube channel. Read more>>

Jose Pagãn | Fine Art Photographer

Pursuing an artistic career to me has been second nature. I’ve always viewed life with a skewed lens, meaning what I view in everyday life doesn’t necessarily seem the same as what everyday folk see. I can see a random piece of plastic and my mind will build on it giving me a new creation in my mind. I believe being artistic lets me translate what I visualize in my head into something in real life. I believe it is more emotion based. The emotions drive the creativity in my art. I literally had a career in law enforcement but for the whole time I was there I always felt like something was missing. Before I ended that career I started to tap back into my artistic nature and that led me to where I am today. Pursuing my creative career has led to a more satisfying life for me. It has let me experiment in pushing the boundaries of my mind to bring viewers a look into my inner emotions through my art. Read more>>

Emily Rodriguez | 2D Animator and Designer

I felt it was something I had to pursue from a very young age, an innate gift that I knew deep down I had to figure out what to do with. Like many of us, I grew up watching animated shows and movies, and I can’t exactly pinpoint the moment, I know I had a realization like, “Oh, you can make money doing art? Sign me up!” And I didn’t really stop pursuing all forms of art, and specifically studying animation in college and getting to know absolutely everything about the medium was a real turning point for me as a growing artist. I became 100x more passionate about storytelling through animation and wanted to be a part of it as a professional artist as soon as I could. Read more>>

Howard Ross | Creative Director

I really don’t think I had choice on whether not I could pursue a creative career, lol. Art has always been a major part of my life, so it was inevitable. Read more>>

Nakiya Gorham | Editor in Chief

I genuinely have had a passion for art ever since I could imagine. So me creating a digital magazine only made sense! I love a good aesthetic, but art is not only limited to paintings and photography. Fashion, modeling, music, etc. are all forms of art and I try my hardest to showcase that in my magazine. Read more>>

E.A LaFlaire | Artist

I chose to pursue being an artist because I felt that was the best way I could express myself without feeling judged. I was able to utilize my deepest sentiments & create something that people could feel connected to. I always enjoyed using my ways with words, as I wrote poems as a kid, then that kind’ve morphed into writing & recording music. In all, it’s a emotional outlet for me, almost therapeutic. Read more>>

Jon Evans | Graphic Designer & Illustrator

Literally the only thing I had growing up was my imagination. I always looked at things in a way most people would not even think about. I think part of that came from the time I spent alone as a child. Growing up and being a only child I was forced to use my imagination a lot. I began drawing like most kids when they were coming up but for me it kind of stuck. Drawing became a outlet for me. It has always been a peaceful moment in my life. Drawing for me is like one of my favorite things. As I got older and I was nearing college I found out there are ways to actually do this as a career. The most beautiful thing about having a career in a creative field is that you’re getting paid to create and you’re also having fun while doing it. Read more>>

Amber Schreiner | Digital Strategist & Entrepreneur

I really fought against having a creative career. Growing up in pretty extreme poverty, I knew I wanted to rise out of those circumstances. The most successful people I knew were lawyers so I started college as political science/pre-law with every intention of becoming an attorney. It wasn’t until my last semester that I took a step back and questioned my career trajectory. Sitting in a grad-level game theory class, I could barely wrap my head around the assignments. I was terrified that I’d spend 3 years in law school with $100,000+ more in student loans to ultimately find out I wasn’t any good at law. I reevaluated my resume and realized all my internships and volunteering experience was centered around marketing and PR. I hadn’t even noticed that before! I ended up applying to Turner Broadcasting over ten times and started my career at Cartoon Network Digital. Read more>>

Timisha Thirkield | Graphic Designer & Branding Specialist

I pursued an creative career because I was always fascinated with movies such as Lion King, Frozen such as the details and graphics of the movie. Graphic design was always my second passion after I lost passion in teaching. Read more>>