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.

Zane Bolen | Creative Director

All my life I have loved making things. My dad has an inventor’s spirit, which he passed down to me. Through most of high school and college, I worked for my grandmother, repairing and renovating rental properties. It was a lot of hard work, but I always loved seeing the end result when the project was done. I wanted to find a way to get that satisfaction while also being a leader in business. Marketing and design work gives me this opportunity. Read more>>

Monique Reyes | Hair Artist/CEO

I pursued an artistic/creative career because I love the energy that comes from being around other artists. Read more>>

Janelle Montenegro | Art and Commercial Photographer

I’m not so sure that I chose an creative career as it chose me. I’ve had my fair share of odd jobs and it always seemed that I was never great at any of them. It was in college when I picked up a camera that I discovered I was really good at something. It still took some time having those side jobs to get me by but I still focused on photographing in my spare time because I finally found something my heart was into. Even when there were times I completely messed up on a photography job or didn’t do the best I could, which can feel like a punch in the stomach sometimes, I still kept going because I knew that at the end of the day I would still photograph regardless. Even if my business fails, or I’m going through something in my life, or even after I retire, or if I never sell a print again, I will still be photographing. I do this because I feel compelled to, and I’m not really great at anything else. Read more>>

J$TKZ | Producer/Engineer/Artist/Label Exec

When I was younger, I wasn’t allowed to partake in any sports ,(which was my dream), due to Asthma and my parents being afraid of something happening to me while playing. They essentially began to get me involved in anything music at a young age of 11 to get sports off my mind. It started with forcing me to join the school band and buying me DJ equipment at age 13. I did a few backyard parties and some weddings and actually really liked it. It turned into me mixing famous instrumentals with accapellas then eventually using my software to make my own beats for my gigs. In high school, I connected with Austin Simmon in band and it turned out he rapped, and I asked him to come with me to my first studio session at WM Studios and we partnered up after that. It also turned out that he was good friends with alumni band member from our high school going by the name “The Jokerr” , who had an amazing studio out in Tolleson. Read more>>

Kj Bennett | Owner/Creator of JoeeSpacey

I chose the artistic/creative route because from the inception Of my brand, JoeeSpacey, to now, I’ve been learning new ways to create and express myself. Ultimately, being creative enables me opportunities to meet other creatives, to travel, to network and build something that I actually care for and enjoy being apart of. I enjoy making visuals, graphics, designing clothes and partnering with other brands to get projects done or, at the very least, to help one another with growth and expansion. I believe that the fashion + design lane is perfect for me and I’ve been growing and spreading my wings with every bit of progression I’ve encountered along this journey. Being a creative/artist enables me to get out my head and to show people my ideas and/or maybe how I feel about some things. To simply show my love for characters and designs & patterns. At the base, I aim to get out my dreams and thoughts, but we DO make things to enable chances to be paid for our creations and intellectual property and to get by without having to conform to everyday jobs/gigs. Read more>>

Salvador Pino Vazquez | Photographer

Being artistic or creative have always been something that i’ve been since a young age, from painting to music I’ve always been attracted to it. I was always the guy taking the “cool” photos and the more and more I learned the more I started loving the craft of photography. Now a days with instagram and other social medias making it easier for people to view and enjoy my work I felt the push of wanting to create more, and show the beauty of Arizona. Read more>>

Virginia Carroll, CPSA, CPX | Artist, Primarily in The Media of Colored Pencil

I’m not sure I had a choice! My parents seemed to realize early on that I had somewhat of an artistic potential and encouraged that by finding art classes appropriate for my young age of 6. Those led to other classes and the development of my artistic skills to the point that anytime I had the opportunity to avail myself of instruction in those skills, I grabbed at it! It helped that I was really enamored of using those skills and creating what I considered beauty. I took art all though my high school years and majored in Fine Art in college. Even though I have taught workshops myself ,I still, to this day, take classes and workhops that I find of interest or that offer a new perspective on art. Apparently, not only do I love creating, I must love learning as well. Read more>>

Joe Dominguez | Photographer

You know you’re an artist when you feel this obsessive need to make your mark on the world each day in your own way, if you ignore this feeling, it grows in the back of your mind until sooner or later, it spills into other areas of your life . Ever since I was little I’ve always had that feeling. Before settling on a career as an artist, I considered working in other fields but none of them really energized me to put my everything into the job. I changed my major in college multiple times once I entered college as well. I was searching for a career where I could fuse all of my interests in one job: psychology, photojournalism, writing, directing and the visual arts. After learning I could work all of those subjects and more into one job, I was sold. At the end of the day, I know I have a point of view and story worth sharing with the world and being an artist allows me to do just that. Read more>>