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.

Siri Shareefa Carrion | Modest Wear Fashion Designer

I always knew I wanted to be a designer. Growing up I never knew there was a name for the thing I liked to do. Which was draping fabric over me or my dolls and creating dresses. I was probably 7 or 8 years old when I began doing this. When I turned 10 or 11 my mom taught me how to sew. She and my grandmother saw how I would take pieces of fabric and stitch them together with needle and thread. One day my mom took out her old singer sewing machine. Sat me down and taught me how to place my hand on the machine and sew pieces of fabric together. I made simple things, pillows, cloths for my dolls While I was sewing, I would have so many ideas swirling in my head and I had to get it out somehow. Read more>>

Elliott Folds | Freelance Actor, Dramaturg, Musician and Producer

It’s a cliché answer, but unfortunately, it’s all I can do. I’ve loved the arts as long as I can remember. I love the communal aspect of it all. It’s so easy to connect with somebody by sharing a piece of music or a story, and as a shy kid, that connection was a godsend. Even before I started working in theatre, I thought my calling was to be a high school band director, a job that is, at its core, all about sharing a lifetime dedication to music with young people. Even as my own artistic path has changed and between all of the different hats I wear in theatre, that love of connection is what keeps driving me forward. Read more>>

Taz Lake | Multi-platform Creator

Everything meaningful we do flows from passion. Finding it may be the most important journey in our lives. I did not choose to pursue a creative career. I was a pre-med chemistry major and art minor at Duke. Other than creating beautiful canvases, what I enjoyed most was the laboratory. Though processes were rigid, discovery kept my interest. And blowing stuff up. My transplant immunology research was fascinating, but a burgeoning web industry drew me away. It was everything… technology systems and creative arts rolled together. I built my first website in 1994, but back then the Internet was in its infancy. There was always something new as it matured. I got bit by the computer bug and never returned to science. That natural propensity for bits and bytes held me in a multi-decade career, but my primal thoughts turned to making money. Read more>>

Gabrielle Elise | Crochet & Knitwear Designer & Blogger

Since I was young I was always drawn to the creative side of things. Some people go into a store and look at things and put it straight into their cart. I look at things and say “Oh I can totally make that!” and leave it on the shelf. It’s a running joke between my family and I when they see a sweater or something they like and I tell them not to get it because “I can totally make that!”. I learned in school that if you’re left brained you’re more of a logical and methodical thinker, whereas right brained people are more creative. That always stuck with me because I’ve known that I wanted to work with my hands since I was little. Being able to think of something and then go about the process of making it come to life is so amazing to me and just super fun to do! Read more>>

SCR1B3 | Recording Artist, Producer, Mixing and Mastering Engineer

My main reason is the pursuit of freedom. Financial freedom, freedom to control the tempo and direction of my life. Creating is something that I truly have a passion for. I also chose this path because I feel that it is what I was meant for. I truly believe I was put on this Earth and given this life to be a creative. Read more>>

Irina Hall | Filmmaker

When I think of the time when I was a child, I feel like I was born with an abundance of creative energy which I didn’t always know what to do with. I wanted to do it all: paint, dance, sing, act, and play piano. When I was between the ages of one and six, I would learn the lyrics to my favorite songs, choreograph dances to them and insists on performing them in front of my relatives any chance I could find. I remember begging my mom to put me in all sorts of creative activities which she didn’t seem to be too thrilled about based on her personal experience when she was a young girl. When I was six, she brought me into a local dance studio for kids just to “try it”. She didn’t think I’d take it seriously. Read more>>

Laurel Farley Crowe | Education Director & Theatre for Young Audiences Director

I was raised in the theatre industry. My father (Robert Farley) was an artistic director for 50 years and my mother has been running Georgia Ensemble Theatre for the past 30 years. Being surrounded by theatre makers sculpted me. By the time I was preparing for high school, I knew that I wanted to do this for life. I attended Pebblebrook High School for Excellence in the Performing Arts where I was pushed and challenged, then I went to the University of West Georgia where I was given a very comprehensive education. I feel that my parents and the mentors that surrounded me inspired me to pave my own path. Now I get to be that for others. I suppose that the short answer is that the people inspired me to pursue it. Read more>>

R.E. Rochester | Master Chandler / Health and Wellness Enthusiast

I consider my career choice both artistic and creative. Me being a Chandler and Soaper allows me to control my designs, experiment with amazing ingredients and bring something that is consider ordinary to life in an artistic way. I earned an accounting degree and after years of working in Corporate America, I knew that I was not being fulfilled. I am a crafter by heart and it fills my spirit with joy to create. I am the person who loves to decorate for every holiday. By making candles and soaps, I get to pour me and my artistic capabilities in every item! Read more>>

Tim Phillips | Session Drummer

I think everyone’s experience is different, and each experiencer is unique. We don’t have definite rules on persistence, and giving up. When I decided to come back to music full time it was during a rough patch where working to improve my professional life was feeling stagnant. I remember waking up and just not being happy anymore. So I went out bought another drum set and started practicing again. I booked a small jazz gig not too long after and after playing in front of a crowd and feeling that vibe again I just knew this is where I need to stay. Read more>>

Letrevious Wright | Artist

It chose me. Creativity is a gift that I was blessed with at an early age, so it was only right for me to view art as more than just a hobby. Read more>>

Josh Carley | Mixed media artist/screen printer

Art is really the only thing I could do I feel like. I love that I get to get up every morning and practice my craft. Even after a long day of being on my feet I look forward to coming home and working on my own pieces. Read more>>

Julie Puckett | Designer and Artist

When posed the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” it was easy for me to answer right away. Both of my parents were graphic artists (who dabbled in their own creative work on the side), so art was a natural language for me to communicate in. I imagine everyone with artistic parents feels similarly compelled to also be creative, but for me, artistic endeavors have always felt like home. I studied theatre in high school and majored in it in college; after graduation I worked in several small and a few major theatres across the country (to no great acclaim). I quickly found I needed an alternate source of income if I didn’t want to resign myself to surviving off ramen noodles and Lucky Charms for the rest of my life. In my late twenties, I decided to take a stab at design work. I didn’t know a lot about design, except the principles I had learned in my fine arts classes and my own basic intuition as an artist. Read more>>

Reetika Khanna | Author, Columnist & Freelance Writer

I have always enjoyed playing with words. To me, words are like Lego pieces that must be assembled into instructed or imagined structures that tell singular stories. Numbers and neutrons never did hold my interest or ignite my imagination. While a career in writing does not guarantee a luxurious living, following my passion makes me want to wake up to create something new every day. Read more>>