Artistic and creative careers are among the most rewarding, but they also come with unique challenges.  We asked some of the city’s best creatives to tell us why they choose to  pursue a creative career.

Isabel Pichardo | Photographer & Mixed Media Artist

When I was a kid I had always dreamed of becoming an artist. I still have a poorly made shirt that I drew on in about 1st grade that said I have a dream to become an artist and I drew myself painting a picture. As I grew up different careers came and went from my brain but one that continued was pursing art. I had been told all my life that I should pursue a normal career but it never felt like the path for me. When I took my first darkroom photograph class at Mira Costa College that was the moment I knew I couldn’t turn back. It had given me what I was looking for all the years before. Since then I have finished my degree and now I’m beginning to figure things out but I will never regret choosing a creative career because for me it is who I am meant to be. Read more>>

Brenda Mak | Illustrator & Character Designer

For as long as I can remember, art has been something that I’ve always gravitated towards, whether it was in the form of after-school cartoons, a beautifully illustrated storybook, or a brand-new pack of markers to color in my latest childhood “masterpiece”. I had no concrete reason back then why I loved that world so much, but as I got older, I came to realize that it was a form of therapy for me, as it was always soothing to put pencil to paper and draw whatever came to mind. Pursuing an artistic career allowed me to come full circle and realize that it’s always been my dream to want to create immersive, infinite worlds and characters for a living that my childhood self would’ve been proud of and excited to see. Read more>>

Chase Petra | Pop Rock Band

It wasn’t much of a choice if you ask me! I think artists are innately compelled to do what they do and it can take a lot out of a person to deny that part of themselves. Though I will say, monetizing a passion is a big decision. The reason I think we made that choice was because we want to dedicate as much time and energy to music as we can at this point in our lives and working a 9 to 5 can really throw a wrench in that plan, so, two birds one stone: be professional musicians… Though we do all still have 9 to 5s still but, hey, we’re doing our best to move onto bigger, better things. Read more>>

Cecilia Bencomo | Power Carving Artist & Designer

I’ve always been creative growing up. I would imagine scenarios and stories and then I would love to draw them out in story form. As I got older and started college, my university offered a new program in graphic design and I instantly fell in love with it. My first career was advertising and marketing. I was a graphic design for 20 years before I fell love with woodworking and now power carving. Power carving is a new avenue to pursue my artistic abilities and designs. Using an angle grinder to shape a piece of wood into a sculpture or jewelry piece is so exciting. The possibilities are endless. I’ve only been power carving for a few years but I love the ability to imagine and reimagine things by telling a story through carving. I’m very fortunate to see a piece of wood and instantly know what it should become. I find the beauty in discarded and forgotten pieces of firewood and I challenge myself in creating something useful and beautiful with them. I’m fortunate enough to have such a rewarding second career in power carving and I’m very excited to see where it takes me. Read more>>

Liam Bononi | Street Artist

I’ve had contact with different types of art since I was a child, my family had a theatre group in Brazil so I grew up in the clowns, actors and musicians universe, I believe it has strongly influenced me and my art today. With 12 I had contact with graffiti through magazines and TV programs. At that time I was in a moment that I discovered a problem in my spine that put me to bed for a few months, in the beginning, art came as a form of healing, doesn`t let me lose my mind. I knew that would be with me for a good part of my life. After painting in the streets for a while, I realized the capacity of urban art in social transformation. The power it has to change the people lives and my own life as well. I have a very intimate relationship with the city, I feel part of that. I have always loved painting n the streets and I don’t think that will never change. Read more>>

Ricky Franklin | Graphic Designer & Illustrator

I pursued a creative career because I am a creative being. I have a compulsory desire to create new things, and my head is always swimming with ideas of new stories to tell. Whether it be helping a company communicate with a customer’s story through graphic design, or telling a story through comics and illustration, my work is about connecting people through visual storytelling. I love the way art can cross cultural boundaries to discover common experiences with people on the other side of the world. This passion keeps me creating. Read more>>

Sean Michael Robinson | Writer, Illustrator & Designer

If you ask someone about their personal satisfaction with their career, it’s a fairly common sentiment that the most satisfied are the ones currently being paid to do something that they’d gladly be engaged in even without pay. That is, that they’ve successfully turned their passion into something that supports them. And there are definitely people in creative fields for whom making art in that particular field is their true, deeper calling. But I firmly believe there are just as many of us out there who are simply driven to make. Whether that’s make something tangible, like a painting, a chair, or a loaf of bread; or something as intangible as an idea, or a solution to a long-standing problem. Ever since I was little I was driven to create, and for me, the medium, whether it be watercolor portraits or children’s books or novels, was almost immaterial, compared to the generative urge itself, that need to make something that didn’t exist before hand touched paper, or before thought touched ability. Read more>>

Tania Pryputniewicz | Poet, Tarot Muse, Teacher

I grew up in a house in upstate New York with a salvaged pink piano and a musician father. We kept an Underwood typewriter and jars of colored pencils on the kitchen table no matter where we lived. We used to play the dictionary game (back before it was a formal board game), inventing definitions and voting on which one seemed the truest, though we had a lot of fun one-upping one another with outlandish responses. We’d also play an art game, where you divide a page into four sections, draw the top of a face, fold it over, and hand it to the person next to you, passing three or four times to create a composite face. These word and art games brought joy and levity into our home which wasn’t without its challenges. Living for a number of years on an Illinois commune braided my love for words and art with spiritual teachings and literature. Ever since, I’ve built a life poised at the borders of poetry, art, and, since my early twenties, tarot. Read more>>