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.

Autumn Fedo | Photographer & Traveler

I had been in the military working at NSA sites and while I enjoyed the work, I also felt that it was so consequential working with security and intelligence concerns everyday. And of course, spending my days inside an office is not exactly where my heart wanted to be. I knew that my next step in life would be more free, more days outside and more time creating. Read more>>

Summer Mensah | Summer Mensah| Musician and Composer

I chose this for two reasons. I chose this career to show people what it really means to be creative. To show others that they don’t need to hold a paint brush or sing through a microphone to live life as they so choose. They have access to that now! And through recorded music and live shows, I like to share that message. Read more>>

Vicky Hoffman | Artist

There’s a short answer and a long answer. The short answer is I love art. I love the process. When I was in college, I considered other majors, e.g., philosophy and architecture, and at the end of the day, I majored in art. The long answer is it’s hard to make a living as an artist. It takes a resilient soul and a personality strong-as-steel as there will many rejections. Read more>>

Nick M | Artist & Developer

I’m not so sure that I chose art, so much as art chose me. I don’t know where it comes from or how it manifests itself. However, it’s only recently that I’ve started being more mindful of the creative process and welcoming whatever experiences it wants to bring me. Creating fulfilling work that also evokes emotions from a viewer is the ultimate goal with any piece or collection. I suppose that’s what I’m pursuing. Read more>>

Eli Ozaki | The Pour Hippy | Fluid Artist, Laser Machinist, Designer, & More

Short answer? I saw no other choice (that sounds dramatic but I mean it in the best way). It’s been quite a journey that brought me to where I am today. I graduated high school with no idea what I wanted to do for a career; I did well in STEM subjects and wanted to help people, but that was all I knew. At ASU, I started in biomedical engineering, switched to environmental engineering, and graduated in biochemistry. The whole time, Read more>>

Hands of Wild Earth Annetta Louise | Heart-Based Jewelry + Stone Artist

In many ways, this path chose me. I was collecting rocks since I could walk. Later, at 18 I met my biological father who, unbeknownst to me, was a 3rd generation stone worker and artist. I learned what I could from him, deciding in 2018 to fully commit. This was the catalyst that would change my world in so many ways. Catapulting me onto my path whether I wanted to or not. Read more>>

Jen Smith | Charcoal Artist

I feel like even from a very young age being a visual artist was just my core identity. It has felt like the most natural way to go as far as my professional career. I actually spent most of 20’s and 30’s in retail management and my art was always on the side. When I stepped into my 40’s I really started to lean in and give it the time it deserved and to allow myself to see where it would take me. Read more>>

Rachel Welch | Graphic Designer

I can remember as young as age 3 working side by side with my Mother on her artwork, so I feel like art crept in as a child before I ever realized it. I was raised by a single Mother basically and she was a huge influence on me. She pushed the natural talent she saw in me from the start and never let me give up even when others had doubt. Read more>>

Yohahn Ko | Filmmaker & Video Director

I grew up in a bleak apartment watching movies and making home videos with my friends. We would immerse ourselves in these fantasy worlds where my apartment complex transformed into a stage for wacky, epic adventures. What I loved most about filmmaking then (and still do now) is making people laugh through a narrative I made up or inspiring someone with a story I felt compelled to tell. Read more>>

Jewel Anna | content creator

You cant live half of your life working and not enjoying what you love to do, it just isnt possible to enjoy your time on this earth and do something you hate for a majority of it. I strive to create a safe space for people who come to enjoy my content and I want them to feel empowered. I want people to know they can do whatever they set their minds to, whether its moving across the entire country for a change, or simply getting a less stressful job. For me, I did both. There is creativity in most things, you just have to find it. Read more>>

Chris Thompson | Boot Purse Maker and Furniture Wrangler

I remember drawing in elementary school with my small pack of Crayola’s, always wishing I had the huge box with the sharpener in it. I felt limited by the choices I had in my own box, compared to the colors floating around in my imagination. In high school I entered a trade school and even though I never did much with my hair, thought Cosmetology would be fun. And oh boy, was it! Colors and designs just flowed so easily! Read more>>