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.

J Marie | Host – Actorvist – Comedian

I pursued this career because of the reaction I see in others as they see my gifts in actions. There is so much joy in that alone. It also gives me so much peace. The release you get when you use your creative gifts is not comparable to other releases. Read more>>

Baby Bishop | Artist

I started doing music as therapy for the things I was and is going through in life. It’s How I vent and and it helps my creativity. Read more>>

Jalen Harris | Sports Podcaster & Sports Creative

I feel that I chose this career because it fits me in all aspects. I wanted my voice to be heard on current or unique topics in professional, high school, or collegiate sport. I felt my creative career would give me the voice I needed to create my own show and become a major name in sports media or sports creatives. Read more>>

Imani Vaughn-Jones | Actress & Writer

Because I can’t do anything else. I wish I could leave the arts, and believe me, I’ve tried! This is an industry filled with rejection, filled with heartbreak and superficial judgments. It’s rife with nepotism and colorism and all the other -isms, not to mention that it’s expensive! I’m an actress and a writer, so between headshots, submission fees, trying to attend industry events — this stuff adds up. I wish I could pick a less tumultuous career path, but for all the aches and pains that come with the arts, nothing has ever made me feel this fulfilled. There is something magical about gathering a group of strangers and everyone agrees to put the project first. Everyone checks their ego at the door and we all agree to be servants to this higher purpose, this grand undertaking that is larger than all of us because it requires each of us. It’s beautiful. And then when you bring that project in front of an audience, and you see the ways in which your words or your performance have profoundly impacted other people — I’m yet to experience anything else like it. It really feels like maybe you can change the world. Read more>>

Slick Whiteline | Instagram Comedian

Being creative was something that was always natural to me growing up in Jamaica whether at work or when I kept events. Coming to America pushed me to be more independent, I didn’t want to work for others any more. Last year 2020 God to took me out of a situation an comedy was just a natural progression. Read more>>

Paris Hall | Media producer

Because it doesn’t make sense to have a career in something I don’t like. Read more>>

D’varia Hurst | Artist & Erykah Badu Historian

I chose to pursue an artistic career because it was painful not doing so. I consider myself an oddity because I LOVE science and constantly learning about the world. I love art and creating just an equally… It has taken years to finally realize that I require a balance of both to feel fulfilled. Read more>>

Robert Harris | Designer

I pursued a creative career, because it was in my nature to do so. The art of creativity has been apart of me since I was a child. I always had a broad imagination, which allowed me to truly express myself and bring my ideas into fruition. When I got older I discovered that there were multiple career paths that I could pursue that compliment my creativity. The creative career path that I chose to pursue perfectly aligns with my nature and my life purpose. Read more>>

Tenille Johnson | Songwriter | Photographer | Mom Blogger

Since I can remember, I’ve always had a great love and passion for creating. Whether it was writing stories, drawing, writing poetry, singing/writing songs……the fact that I could pull something out from my mind, to live in reality, always fascinated me and gave me an incredible sense of accomplishment. In pursuing my career, I wanted to put my time and effort into something that would allow me to use the most authentic part of myself, my creativity. Read more>>

Sofia Sonera | Photographer

Ever since I was a little kid I’ve always shown interest in all forms of art. It wasn’t until I was a teenager though when I realized that creating and collaborating with people to make art was my absolute passion and want I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I felt as though being a creative individual was my calling and my life would be boring without creating! It’s who I am! Read more>>

Guillermina “Guille” Teixeira | Artist & Retail Store Designer

Art was an escape mechanism for me as a child. It was something that could neither be controlled, taken away, or otherwise tainted by the realities that surrounded me. It became the hypnotic outlet that allowed me to erase or record what I was feeling and experiencing at any given moment. I could create something from nothing, repair what was broken, and feel such great relief, even if only on paper. It gave me a secret sense of pride and satisfaction.
As an adult, I leaned into it because it became more than just a little girl’s survival tool. I view my creative self as a character of sorts. I filter everything I see and experience thru my Artist lenses, constantly gauging the potential, the beauty, and the spiritual mystery of it all. It even allows me to see past situations, people, and ideas. Read more>>

Esohe Omoruyi | Singer/Songwriter

I pursued an artistic career because I felt like sometimes you have so much artistry, ideas, and the talent to execute such, it shouldn’t go to waste. As soon as I realized that I had something special, I really decided to hone in on that. It is very necessary for black people to go after everything our hearts desire. We deserve that, and so much more. Read more>>

Angel Roze | Recording Artist

For the longest I knew that I was a creative being I’ve been writing & recording all my life. It gives me a sense of peace and helps me balance my thoughts so I can get through what I’m going through at the time. As I get older I use my craft to help and speak on things that people may be going through or may need to hear to help them in their life. Read more>>

Mighty Sanchez | Entrepreneur & Positive Christian Rapper

Because it’s something that gives me purpose. My older brother told me that if I ever find something that can give me purpose then I should go for it. I also learned that over the years that it something that makes me help knowing that I can be myself while spreading through my songs and brand. Read more>>

Sky Colette

I’ve been singing since I was 2. Music has always been my first love. I knew how to sing before I could really comprehend the world. I decided to pursue a music career because it’s a part of my purpose in life. I was born to sing! I’m not doing it for the fame or the money. Ultimately I want to use my platform for good and hopefully I can help change the world for the better! Read more>>

Jasmine Goodwin | Director of Marketing

Pursuing a creative career was always my destiny. From the time that I was in grade school, I’ve used creative outlets as a coping mechanism to life’s challenges. Singing, acting, fashion, and writing were the first creative formats that I latched on to as they were storytelling agents. Whenever I was down, I’d write a poem or sing a song. Acting became a form of escapism for me to be who and where ever I wanted to be. When it came down to choosing my major at Hampton University, there was no question as to what I wanted to study. I loved the camera and being on stage, and thought that would be the way I’d tell my story. By the time I graduated, I realized that I wanted to be in full control of my story and contribute to telling the stories of others. I began to become partial to being behind the camera, taking a deep dive into learning my audiences and producing work that was tailored to them. Instead of only telling my story, I began to find the beauty in uplifting my community through my art. From this understanding, I landed in Marketing and have vowed to only work for Black-owned businesses to propel our story forward. Read more>>

Lisa Maeda | 2D Animator & Designer

I would love to have an epic anecdote about how art was my passion from a young age and how I’ve always wanted to work as a 2D animator – but truthfully, it started as just a passive escape for an introverted kid. When peers started letting me know that I was actually good at it, I started thinking “Oh, I guess this is my niche. May as well invest in art school.” I lumbered my way through college thinking I’d try out an animation degree, but I’d ultimately be an illustrator. The passion for an actual animation career only sparked after I was 3 years into my BFA in animation! The collaborative buzz between writing, storyboarding, and bringing a character to life on-screen is something you can only experience by working in animation. It excites me like no other career prospect could. Read more>>