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.

Avery Gillham | Professional Dancer & Performer

For me, the reason I chose to dance was because of how influential music was. Every time I heard it I would start moving or tapping along to the beat. Once Youtube came out and we had the ability to watch music videos repetitively, opened a whole new world to me. I watched videos of Usher, Chris Brown, Ne-Yo, Justin Timberlake, Michael Jackson, and more to learn choreography. I thought they were the best and wanted to be just like them. Read more>>

Adrian Bond | Actor, Director & Writer

I honestly don’t believe I ever had a choice; any other life I could’ve lived regardless of the benefits or payment would’ve been settling. I remember the first scene in a movie as a child that made me cry in preschool, the first song I heard on the radio that made me feel something in my moms car, the first show that I got emotionally invested in: I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to tell stories. Make stories. Be stories. That’s why we’re all here isn’t it? The power of a story well-told. Also I was horrible at sports so make-believe was a big part of my day growing up. Daydreaming. Read more>>

Cortéz Flagg | Artist

Everything happened naturally. At 21 I suddenly got the urge to create visual works with photography. Since then I’ve been trying to find my vision and message which is how I ended up painting. Read more>>

Nick D’Andria | Photographer

It’s hard for me to say that I pursued an artistic or creative career seeing as It was never my intention when growing up… But when I realized what I could do with a camera, everything had changed. Being able to express my thoughts and ideas using photographs has opened up so many avenues in my life. What started as a simple hobby eventually blossomed into a full time love and appreciation for photography and art alike. I am more than appreciative that I’m able to make a living using art and technology. I believe that if you pursue a career in whatever field you have a passion for, you won’t “work” a day in your life. Read more>>

Haley Mewborn | Photographer, Videographer & Content Creator

I pursued art because it’s who I am. Art to me doesn’t compromise, it doesn’t change based on the opinions of others, it doesn’t compromise its existence and it often shows things for what they truly are. For me, choosing to pursue art was choosing to pursue myself, to never deny who I am or how I see the world despite the opinions of those around me. I’ve always known I would never want to work in corporate America and I’ve always known that I’m capable of expressing myself in better ways than just a 9-5. For as long as I can remember, photography has always held a place in my heart and as I’ve gotten older that connection has only become stronger. Pursuing art is pursing myself in all of its forms, both past, present and future. Read more>>

DebraGaye Body | Artist

I have other talents. I’m smart. Any job I’ve ever had I did well at. But I always ended up hating every job after while. The only thing I loved doing was being creative. I realized that I had no choice but to be a creative. God saw fit to share his creativity with me and I realized that I HAD to try. I couldn’t keep the gift to myself. Read more>>

Dallas Vella | Multimedia Artist

When I forced my efforts into other careers something inside of me was yearning for something more. I am very diligent, doing well in school and my previous careers, but I just wasn’t reaching that self actualized happiness without creative expression. Read more>>