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.

Zaquaisha Nix | aka. KAAT model, brand ambassador, and promoter

Since a Child I’ve always been creative, being able to view things & then go create them brings me joy yet a thrilling challenge. Read more>>

Lauren Lacy | Denim Artist, Illustrator & Designer

I honestly have been drawing since I was 2 years old, so being an artist is as natural as breathing to me. For as long as I can remember, I knew whatever I did in my career it was going to be in the art world. The fulfillment I receive when I am able to immerse myself in my creativity is like no other. I also love the reactions I get once my clients see the finished product. To bring smiles to others faces and make them genuinely happy with my art is another reason why I have pursued a career in the Arts. Read more>>

Keosha Lane-Faust | Singer/Rapper/Songwriter and Entrepreneur

I have a Masters degree in Social Work, and I love my profession, but if I’m being honest, it isn’t always the best paying field financially. I decided to look into myself to see what skills I possessed that would be able to benefit me financially as well as grow me professionally. I initially began my business, Uniquee Treasures, as an independent contractor for Paparazzi Accessories. I worked very hard in that area for a few years with success, but I had a vision to grow the name Uniquee Treasures to encompass more than just jewelry. I now have a record company, Uniquee Treasures Records, where I am an artist, engineer and producer and Uniquee Treasures Counseling Center is in the works. Read more>>

Kristen Russell | Interior Designer & Photographer

My love for all things creative and design dates back to childhood. From the time I was 8 or so, I would find a way to re-arrange my bedroom every few weeks. It got to a point where my parents and brother would hear the sound of furniture being slid across the room and that they’d say “she’s at it again,” and would come in to lend a helping hand lol. When I wasn’t dragging furniture across my bedroom carpet, I would spend my time drawing floor plans in the paint program on my parents computer. In high school, I signed up for drafting class specifically to have access to AutoCAD. Read more>>

Monica Mercer | Artist & Owner of M&M Mercantile

When I was younger I never thought of myself as creative. However, I can look back now and see that I was always doing creative things and drawn to the creative process. I fell in love with painted furniture and decided to give it a try. My family and friends told me I had a gift for it and it began my creative career. I started as a furniture artist and retailing a chalk style paint line in a booth that I rented at a local consignment store. That led me to finding a whole creative community that I didn’t even know existed. Read more>>

Tierra Shelton | Owner of Mobb Beauty Studio

I have ALWAYS been an artistic person. I mean, I’m a Libra, so we’re creative by nature. I have always loved art, music, fashion. Anything that allows you to use self expression is a plus. Read more>>

Kyng Musik | Musical Artist

I pursued a creative career because being an artist is being an author! Whether we are physically drawing, writing lyrics, painting a picture, recording vocals or capturing photographic memories, we’re telling a story that speaks volume to whatever the topic is that will stand the test of time! To be able to help bring my own, or someone’s vision or words to life is the best feeling in the world. In a artistic musical sense, First, whatever I go through, I create the story with words most times, then I’ll take the words and add musical elements and finally portray the emotion into the song to make it relatable to others who may be listening! Being a creative is more than claps and money! Read more>>

Charron Monaye | Author & Celebrity Ghostwriter

Writing was never something I aspired to do; it just came naturally. As a child, I would write poetry to share my thoughts or emotions because I always felt that speaking to them would either cause me to be ridiculed or judged. I was a child that really cared what people thought about me. So, instead of fighting for my voice, I just spoke through my pen because I knew it would not speak back. After winning a poetry contest and having my poem, “Alone” published in the publication, Tears of Fire, I felt motivated to continue writing. Read more>>

Whitney Mitchell | DJ, Hairstylist, and Creative

I chose to pursue my career as DJ, mainly because it chose me. But honestly, I have been around music my entire life. Grew up playing piano, and later percussion. Music has taken me to many places, and around many unique , influential people. At the time I chose to officially pursue this new career, I had just finished healing from a broken arm. I could no longer work as a full time hairstylist. Read more>>

Dyesha Flanigan | Wardrobe Stylist & Content Creator

I chose a creative career because I’m a creative person. I’ve always enjoyed art & anything I can pretty much make my own. What made me push and take content creating seriously was TikTok. TikTok made it easy to show case my talent & monetize it. Read more>>

Kellie Kolen (KK Roxwel) | art2rtis (creative)

Being able to express myself in a colorful or poetic way brings me peace. I’ve been a creative all my life, I started out as a rap artist who paints as well. Years later, I turned all of the things I love into a platform called art2rtis. This platform was created so that other artist can showcase their talents. Read more>>

Janae Douglas | Graphic Designer & Brand Specialist

All of my life I’ve had an intense passion for the arts that lead me to be in different creative outlets. I’ve done dance, speech, and band to name a few. But as I grew older and graduated from school, a lot of my opportunities changed. I’ve been doing graphic design since I was 10 and found it to be something that I really love. I chose to pursue a creative career because it allows me the freedom I need to express myself and show off my passion for art. Read more>>

Dhat Boy Val | Artist

I’ve loved music since I was a baby I’m sure. When I was 6 years old, I started writing my own rhymes. My passion for music only grew over the years and I can’t see myself wanting to do anything else. Read more>>

Tenia Taylor | Garment Redesigner & Owner

I pursued an artistic career because it’s what I do naturally. I can do it with my eyes closed. It is a part of what makes me who I am. It just makes sense and I absolutely love it. It’s really like why not? Read more>>

Samuel Fleming Lewis | Artists

From an early age I was always drawing or making things. I would look at my mother’s interior decorating magazines and try to copy elements from the rooms that I liked. A new next door neighbor who was a decorator was always changing his home with fresh ideas that further influenced my interest in design. My high school art teacher (Alonzo Davis) and his brother (Dale Davis) owned Brockman Gallery the Los Angeles black owned gallery that exhibited black artists. Read more>>

Arlinda McIntosh | A Thread and Cloth Storyteller

After being married then unexpectedly becoming a single parent in my mid-twenties, I was faced with the challenge of finding the means to immediately finance my newly single-parent household, so, I can’t really say that I actually chose this as a particular career, I’d rather say that I tried something as a necessity that came naturally to me which was creating and sewing and I just continued on that road until I reached Sofistafunk 30+ years later. Read more>>

Donna Anderson | Hair Artist

Being a creative has planted my feet in rooms I never expected to walk in or meet other creatives with vision and purpose. In undergrad, I was involved in numerous projects and events that have helped mold me to where I am now. I’d like to think I stumbled in to this career because it came so naturally. From fashion shows, hair shows, and showcases; I’ve learned over the years that my place in life as a “healer would not only help others but would give me great satisfaction as well. Doing what I love is just a plus! Read more>>

Ashaya Nelson | Entrepreneur & Creative

My love for art was discovered early in life. Since I was younger I enjoyed creative writing, drawing, painting, and fashion. As I became an adult, digital art and creative directing began to spark my interest. In the past year especially, I realized that art is not just a hobby, but has become my passion and purpose. Read more>>

Snyder Derival | Cinematographer

I’ve always been a creative, just didn’t know how to express myself creatively. Growing up in a Haitian household where art is not considered a career, but I’ve always been the type if I see everyone going left, I’ll go right cause I enjoy the challenges with being different. Read more>>

Rita Stern | Artist

I’ve always been creative, from the time I could hold a crayon. I didn’t think I could make a living being an artist so I became a teacher and got my masters in Art Education. When I retired 8 years ago i began my fulltime art obsession. I came up with the idea of Wish Pillows, which I made and sold at stores and festivals. I did that until the covid lockdown in 2020. It paralyzed my creative spirit. It took me about 2 months to start doodling, which I did about 30 years ago. Now I post on Instagram and go to festivals, now that they’re happening again. Read more>>

Shivani Barot | Entrepreneur and Content creator

I have always been a creative person ever since I was a child. I loved art, I enjoyed painting, writing, and just all things colorful and creative. Now I’m here in my life, trying to be a successful content creator, an entrepreneur and a home maker. My idea of being a content creator is to make people laugh and spread fun and joy because let me tell you, the world needs it. It needs lots and lots of laughter and joy. Not just around Christmas but JOY all year long! Read more>>