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.

Curtis Newkirk | Entrepreneur

I wanted to create generational wealth not just for me, but also my family. Read more>>

Ingra D’Abram | Artist and Beauty Specialist

I pursued an artistic career because I desired to create an unspoken universal language with no limits of expression. Art is the purest form of creativity and expression. I love that Art mimics melody by attracting through senses. Just like melody, Art is felt and interpreted by the individual. An expression of Art can speak a thousand words with many definitions, whereas a word in any context has only one definition. I share a love of Art with my Elders, who also loved to create Art as an expression of freedom. Read more>>

Sirena Harris | Graphic Designer

Since I was a kid, I’ve been interested in art and creating things. I loved to draw cool pictures I saw in books and magazines. I pursued an artistic career because it’s my passion and I’ve continued to grown and learn more about. Those around me saw the talent I had as a kid and really encouraged me to continue on that path. Read more>>

Gabriel Rockett | Content Creator MochaCurlss

I pursued a creative career because I can have my own freedom of range to be myself. During my younger years, I would express my creative thoughts through writing poems and short stories. I also joined theatre class in high school where we were allowed to control our own narrative. Although I had these passions of creativity, I could never figure out what career that would best suit me. Due to the constant reminder that I had to pursue a career that was not risky. So, I attended college to pursue a nursing career only to satisfy others. Read more>>

ZayQuan Graham | Entrepreneur

• I’ve always enjoyed creating things, my mind have always been filled with creative thoughts and exploring the unknown. It’s comes to me naturally. My mind has always been my canvas and i use it everyday. Read more>>

Kadeem Isaiah | Actor/Director

The arts chose me. I’ve always been passionate about the arts since I could remember. Music was my first love. I wrote my first 16 bars at the age of 6 with my older cousin over the “Money Ain’t a Thing” beat with Jay Z and Jermaine Dupri. It’s crazy because I can still remember the verse and chorus I wrote. When I moved to Atlanta at the age of 7 I played around with drawing and painting. I still have paintings from high school in my room and at my parents house. You can sometimes find me at splatter studios here in Atlanta. Read more>>

Matt Tamburrino | Comedian & Comedy Show Producer

For me, laughter and comedy have always been an extremely important part of my life. When I was in Elementary School, my family was forced to move around a lot, which had me trying to make new friends almost every school year. I was never the most athletic kid, even though I loved sports, but I was smart and I knew how to make the other kids laugh. Read more>>

Riley Lynch | Recording Artist & Songwriter

I’ve been creative for as long as I can remember. When I was young I was bit by the music bug, and now at 24 I am still just as invested in this world as I was then! I started writing my own music at 13, but have been musical since the day I was born. For me, I always have wanted more for myself. Working the typical 9 to 5 has never worked for me and always seemed to derail my mental health, no matter what avenue I went down. Read more>>

Janay Famous | Professional Makeup Artist

I pursued an artistic and creative career because it is what fits my personality the best. I’ve worked for corporate for many years and I always felt like I was in a box, doing the same thing every day and not able to be my true self or express myself in the way that I truly wanted to. I am naturally a social butterfly and an extrovert so I love people I love doing different things I love being spontaneous and I can do that and be all those things through my artistry.. Read more>>

Ayana AAMP’d” Gordon | Film Photographer & Artist”

I have always had a long relationship with creativity for as long as I can remember. Creativity was always welcomed in my household, as my parents are creatives themselves. My mom was once a fashion design student, she made and modeled beautiful garments. My pops created a business where he would collect unique assortment of instrument pieces and fix musical instruments in our basement for families and artists throughout the DMV. Read more>>

James Harrison Jr | Podcast Host

I would always look at other content creators whether it was youtube, Vine, World Star videos, etc publishing material that I was already doing w/ friends but too hesitant put online because of fear of displaying a different side of myself that I don’t usually project. With podcasting, I had been a big fan of podcasts like The Read, Brilliant Idiots, Joe Budden Podcast because while these were known personalities; when they’re recording their guards were down and you got to really hear from the person not the characters that they usually were in front of a camera. Read more>>

Andre Soares | Author. Stage & Film Actor. Activist.

I think it’s been ingrained in my DNA (we are a family of creatives) but I’ve ALWAYS wanted to connect with people and make them FEEL things. It probably stems from my own sensibility with Art, as a whole. There are books, movies, songs, paintings out there that moved me, challenged my views, and I wanted to replicate that sharing my own experiences. There’s definitely a desire to connect here. Read more>>

Rahim PrinceHanson | Music Producer

Why I chose a artistic/ creative career is because I get to be myself and express my thoughts through my work and being able to have control and freedom. Also me choosing to become a music producer was something out of the love and the passion I have for music since young I always been fascinated with music I used to sing as a child and play the euphonium in elementary school so musics been something I fell in love with for young so I also decided why not pursue something I love rather than being depressed in a field just because the salary pays well . Read more>>

Ziina Vasquez | Indie artist & First Responder

I went through a traumatic experience which cause me to completely fall out of love with music. At some point I got tired to emotionally sinking & decided to pull myself out through what I know best! My faith in god & the gift given to me through music. Read more>>

Mazirati | Artist

I’ve always been a creator since a child. With my mother being a painter I was bound to do something creative, which I did from physical to literary to musical, you name it, I’ve had some experience with it. For some reason I just felt that was my calling in life. Even as kid when they would ask what I wanted to be when I got older, of course I would say the generic answer but truly, I wanted to be a ballerina, but I kept things like that to myself to dodge any judgment. I’ve just always had a thing for creative things and watching my ideas come to life. I feel like other fields are so restricting or predictable and I usually feel out of place in those situations so being a creative is just like my natural habitat in a way. Read more>>