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.

Aaliyah Nicole | CEO & Multidisciplinary Artist

Often times I’m asked why did I choose the music and entertainment business as a whole, and I simply respond to it like this, “I didn’t choose it, it chose me.” Growing up I was always surrounded by music, heavily by my mom’s immaculate musical taste, also my dad’s vocal ability and musicianship, oh and of course the good ole baptist church. Hell, even my older brother had picked up the pen for fun before I did. It’s always been a part of me, but before I ran with this thing, I actually had hoop dreams. Typical [laughs] I grew up playing with my big brother and the older boys on the block. I really love the sport of basketball, and I wanted to go the WNBA. After moving and changing schools a few times, I finally got the chance to play a little organized ball in middle school, but by that time my focus had shifted; there were also some early injuries from playing street-ball and just being tomboy that ultimately limited me as well. I realized at 10 that the ink from my pen bled a little differently, but it was just a hobby. Read more>>

Viviana Torres | Nail artist

I pursued an artistic career because it’s what describes me as a person. I’m artistic and creative with my craft. It started as a hobby that I enjoyed growing up and soon became something I wanted to take seriously as a career. If it’s something you love, it won’t feel like work and has been making me happy since. Plus, I am my own boss and work within a flexible schedule, working with my time or business hours. Read more>>

Jasmine Lorraine | Illustrator & Designer

I chose to pursue an artistic, creative career mainly because it was my passion when I was younger and something that I used to create my own happiness in my daily activities. I was always into drawing characters that I loved on television and trying to imitate the style of animation that I saw. It helped me attract like-minded people and gave me my community. Both my parents were doctors so it wasn’t a common route in my household and no one else had artistic talent like I did. I had other interests too like reading and writing, but I was always driven to color and linework that was present in the popular art culture at the time. Art and design became my own personal language that I developed and grew along with. Read more>>

Alisya Lott | Crafter

I chose to pursue a creative career because in this career I’m able to express myself and showcase my creativity. Read more>>

Alexander Jackson | Public Figure, Artist, Creative, Influencer

For me being an artist and a creative wasn’t a choice but more of a realization and acceptance. I have always felt different and see the world in ways that can’t be explained in words or expressed with limitations. Being present and letting my artistry and creativity come through me is one of the best and most fulfilling feelings I experience. It is the only way to be that allows the full potential of my energy to flow into the world and helps me accomplish wonderful things and inspire and uplift countless beings. This “career” choice I didn’t choose but rather it chose me. Read more>>

Joseph Osei-Bonsu | Writer & Filmmaker

I didn’t have a choice hahaha! I was in fourth grade when I started writing short stories; making comic books; selling them. I guess from the time I sold my first comic book to one of my classmates for 50 Ghanaian pesewas (which is equivalent to 31 cents in today’s market), I kind of knew this would be my lot in life. So, from writing 10-page stories to 30-page comic books, to writing a novella, to writing short films, better short stories, a TV pilot, and currently, a feature-length film, there has been this sort of natural progression in the expression of my talents, in the media in which I work, and in my own work ethic. Storytelling is what I do best! Read more>>

Tiffany “MsDevotedTiff” Wright | Writer, Choreographer & Entrepreneur

I pursued a creative career, because I believed in my level of creativity and the style in which I deliver my stories. I have seen and experienced the fact that women, especially black women are misunderstood and sometimes even frowned upon for being more than one thing. If you’re a career woman, you can’t be a performing artist. If you attend church, you can’t wear bikinis. If you’re nerdy, you can’t possibly know any City Girl lyrics. It was important to me to create for, and represent the woman that, surprises people just by being in her own skin; the woman that, people haven’t taken time to get to know, because they saw her in one element and don’t think there’s much to her and don’t think she can have layers. This woman has many stories and experiences and I enjoy using humor, sarcasm, dance and film, to tell them. My hope is that it will give permission to show all their layers unpologatically, and to make all those that are underestimated, feel seen. Read more>>

Eugene Bear Gibbs | Dancer, B-boy, Yoga Instructor, Arm Balancer, Handstand Coach, Workshop Creator, Elementary Art & Crafts Teacher and Educator

Pursuing an artistic career was something I’ve stumbled upon by accident. I’ve convinced myself I wouldn’t pursue this until peace in my reality presented itself to me. I fell in love with creating conversations through movement, dance, handstands and yoga. I’ve never liked dancing or anything involving movement growing up! I wanted to pursue a regular lifestyle, with dreams of going to college, pursuing a master’s degree, getting a 9 to 5 office job, getting married and having two kids. I grew up in a stabled Christian family full of career driven and God fearing people that I’ve admired and still admired to this very day. Read more>>

Jaden Nye | Visual Development Artist

Being able to create art for the rest of my life seemed like a dream come true so pursuing a creative career was the perfect fit for me. Ever since I was little, I’ve always found a way to express myself through different mediums of art. From playing with sidewalk chalk to doodling in a smudge of shaving cream on the bathtub walls, there were endless ways for me to draw. It wasn’t until I was in high school that I truly began to focus a lot of my time on art. I had always loved going to art class in my younger years of school, but when I was able to choose my electives, I was able to explore so much more and find what I really loved to do. My high school offered classes in pottery, photography,drawing, painting and 3D design, all of which I found myself taking. Read more>>

Amelie Dickerson | Painter & Owner of By Amelie Art LLC

I was drawing colorful portraits of African women holding their babies in their backs, before 4 years old. Memories of my roots in Congo Brazzaville always haunt my palette. I was raised by a mother who is in love with all the kind of Arts. No matter what, she made sure to provide me with the best education she could. I learnt how to play traverse flute during 11 years, same for dancing and painting. She kept me busy and arty! As an adult I started to work as a visual merchandiser then as a district manager. However one day I woke up and said to myself is it really the life that I wanted? (This career life without the mission?) Read more>>