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.

Brianna Flores | Illustrator, Writer, Filmmaker, Musician

I was encouraged to embrace my creativity since I was a kid. Creating has always made me happy, and my family was instrumental in that. Everywhere I went I had a pencil and paper in my hand, always drawing, singing, or dreaming up a fantastical story with superpowers or magic. Read more>>

Reyna Noriega | Visual Artist & Author

It fills me. My whole life, anytime I was doing something creative or around that environment, it filled me with so much joy and peace and fueled my dreams all at once. Naturally I gravitated towards it. Read more>>

Dustin Williams | Freelance bass player, guitarist, producer, and music teacher

For me, there was never really any alternative. Music was always a part of my life in some form or another and when I decided to pick up the bass at 13, I pretty much made the decision then and there that I wanted to do this for the rest of my days. Nothing had quite the same draw. Read more>>

Kenneth Forrester | Filmmaker / actor / dad / husband

Growing up in a family full of musicians, writers, historians and painters is definitely a major contributing factor. My grandmother was key in cultivating my imagination the most. Playing “pretend” with me at the drop of a hat. Teaching me about how to tell stories. Read more>>

WAVERLY COLEMAN | Creative Director and Founder at Waverly Coleman Events

I’ve always been creative. As a child, I helped my mom set the dinner table but it never felt like a chore. I enjoyed folding napkins and stacking the salad plate on top of the dinner plate. Read more>>

Shannon Gilford and Sherence Bonds | Owners of Urban Christian apparel

We pursued a creative career because we knew that we wanted a business that embraced positivity in today’s society. we wanted to embark on a journey that was different from “the norm”, but also aligned with our personal beliefs. Our goal is for the world to openly represent your love for Christ at any age! Then we realized fashion would help us reach those that relate! Our apparel is worn by youth, teens and adults! Read more>>

La’Tisa Ward | Actor & Writer

Art fuels me. Acting is absolutely my passion and I would say my favorite art form, however, any form of art is empowering to me. Most people know me as an actor, but one of my favorite things to also do is write! It’s truly calming and I believe there’s something about being able to express myself (even if it’s just to myself), that just gets me going. It keeps me alive inside and happy. Read more>>

Danshelle Jones | Stylist, Model & Graphic Designer

I’ve always been a highly creative individual. I would draw, dance, collage, write short stories and even style people from a very young age. Read more>>

Samantha Fernandes | Aesthetician

Since I was a toddler I always loved to partake in creative activities. Whether it be drawing, painting and even fashion and beauty. I use to always go into my mothers makeup (as I’m sure almost all children did) and play around with it. But as I got older I never stopped. Read more>>

Corey Carrington | Creative Director

I think I pursued an artistic career because I felt like I always wanted to have a certain kind of freedom over my life. I’ve always been an outside-of-the-box thinker and I think that the freedom being an artist fit the lifestyle that I knew I wanted to live more than being a regular behind the desk 9 to 5 person. Read more>>

Natalie O. | Fashion Designer/Creative

My name is Natalie O. the creator and owner of Fashioná. A luxury wear brand curated for the culture that highlights/celebrates blackness in all forms throughout the diaspora. I pursued a creative career because it has always been in me to create. Since I can remember I have always been creative, and everyone around me could see that through the multiple ways I express myself. Read more>>

De’Aris Jinks | Editorial Portrait Photographer

I wanted to pursue an artistic career in photography because I wanted to share to the world the things I see. Photography is an artform that expresses one’s self. It isnt my main career(yet), but hopefully one day this will be my only job! Read more>>

Ashlee Keeney | Photographer

I have always had an artistic side to my personality. When I was younger, I would draw and paint as an outlet for my creativity but as I grew older, I looked for new ways to express myself. When I first picked up a camera, it was more for experimenting with new mediums, but I immediately fell in love with the freedom it offered me. Read more>>

Victoria Miles | Wood Flower Florist

I have always been a creative person and I have dabbled in many different types of crafts over the years. I found that being artistic & creative was a terrific form of therapy! I became even more passionate about it when I developed some medical issues that took me out of the work force. Read more>>

Shaquaveya Brooks | Videographer & Editor

Imagine it’s 4 p.m. on a Friday, and your parents take you to rent some movies from Blockbuster (the nostalgia, right). Most of us had that early 2000s television set with the hump in the back. I’d turn off my room lights to get that theater vibe going and watch the movies all night long on that TV set and VHS player. Read more>>

Audrey Hardeman | Artist

My grandkids! I was a young mother and I remember not being able to give my kids nice birthday parties but I did the best I could. One day I was on social media and saw where someone was charging $750 to decorate a kid party. I said to myself, “I know how the mom’s feel who can’t afford that.” Read more>>

Charmaine French | Artist

Art has always pursued me. Anytime I think back to me not being in art, I think of me resting or searching. And when I was searching or overthinking, I found myself constantly in the midst of art. Read more>>

Ashton Baez | Social Media Influencer

I wouldn’t even say that I pursued this creative path for my life, I would say God placed it in my hands. I am beyond thankful for my success on social media and the beautiful aspects that have come from it. I have gained so many wonderful, deep relationships and so much wisdom through my time on these different platforms and would not change any of it. Read more>>