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.

Atefeh Raouf | Computer Scientist, Owner and Founder Of Irisa Design, Lead Designer,

The biggest impact in my artistic life was winning first place in a calligraphy contest when I was nine years old. After I recognized my passion and talent in art, I continued to pursue other creative avenues including painting, photography, interior design, floral design, and musical instruments. I received a total of 24 art certificates. My friends and family members always asked me to design their homes and plan special occasions for them. I received a lot of positive feedback on my work and decided to form my own business after I moved to the United States. I founded Irisa Design because I wanted a full-time career in my lifelong passion for art. Read more>>

Crystal Pereyra | Ceramic & Fiber Artist

Two years ago I was pursuing a career in the medical field. I jumped from pursuing a pharmacy degree to becoming a PA and everything in-between. I didn’t believe I was creative. Then in Jan 2020, I was hospitalized and had to have a major surgery. Through all of 2020 and most of 2021, I had many complications and surgeries. This took a huge toll on my mental health. I decided to order one of those embroidery kits on Etsy to give myself something to do while I laid in bed. Read more>>

Taylor A. | National Brand consultant and strategist

I have always been a creative person but I’ve also always been pretty good with technology so to merge the two , just makes sense . I feel like every opportunity is an opportunity to learn whether it goes well or not so every employment or intern opportunity I had , I paid close attention to the things I liked and disliked . That ultimately helped me to create the structure for my business . Read more>>

Bob Tinn | Design and install contractor

Over the past several years, I’ve enjoyed creating home theater rooms and sports fan caves for myself and my family. I have a strong passion for and knowledge of sports and entertainment and enjoy designing rooms that provide deluxe comfort and showcase memorabilia that “talks to me” while watching sports or movies. Time spent with family or friends in these special rooms has given me great satisfaction, building memories and bonding with those whom I care about the most. Having an opportunity to create similar spaces for others is something I’m excited to offer in a profession that challenges creativity and artistic vision while capturing my customers’ vision and passion. Read more>>

Zach Wade | Artist

There was no other option for me, I’ve known since I was little that all I wanted to do with my life was make art. This desire I haven’t been able to shake, I love to create and I know I’m supposed to do it. Read more>>

Lakeisha Johnson | Mobile Makeup Artist

I pursued a creative career because it makes me the happiest and through that I found my passion! In high school I thought I wanted to go into a medical career only because it’s an essential business and it would have been “safe,’ but thankfully I didn’t get into any of the universities I randomly applied for. This made me realize I should go to school for fashion, it was risky, but it was the only thing I could actually see myself doing. Read more>>

Elias Cole | Artist & Content creator

I chose this path because it has always made me feel normal in a way. I have never been good at expressing myself to others but I feel comfort letting people know how I feel and where I’m at through my music. Also career wise it shows you do not have to fall into a broken pattern that has existed forever— you can break free you just have to want to break free. Read more>>

Alexis Shonte’ | Nail Technician & Influencer

I pursued a career in the beauty industry because I love women and being able to make them feel beautiful is an unexplainable feeling. Those moments during the process of doing nails when the girls start clicking their fingers together and moving their hands to show off the nails is so priceless and worth all the hard work and time that goes into the process itself. Read more>>