We asked some of the most creative folks we know to open up to us about why they chose a creative career path. Check out their responses below.

Kirsty O’Donnell | Writer, Director and Producer

Growing up I had an undiagnosed learning difficulty. It wasn’t until I was 17 years old that I was diagnosed with a processing problem and phonological issues. During school, I really struggled. In the subjects I wasn’t failing, I was scrapping a pass. In a school that was full of extremely smart people, I didn’t really fit in and was so embarrassed at my scores. During that time films and TV shows were my escape. They allowed me to go into a different world for a few hours and forget about my problems. Read more>>

Nancy Madok | cooking instructor & culinary tour guide

The kitchen has always been my happy place. Growing up my family was always entertaining. I felt very comfortable in the kitchen. I loved the creativity & freedom I could express with food. In high school my sister and I would throw elaborate parties for our friends. We would pick different themes, and plan out the decor, music and cuisine. Although we never left the backyard those parties taught me the magic of a creative menu and how you could make people feel. I was smitten. Read more>>

Keith Lord | Photographer/Multimedia Artist

I’m a Chef in San Diego. Which is quite creatively rewarding and the word rewarding isn’t something people often use when describing their profession. While I am very thankful to have this, my creative process doesn’t end here, at all. I began exploring multimedia art as a different creative outlet. It began as a simple collage design to give to an artist to draw out my first tattoo, and developed into much more image focused work. I worked with all types of mediums and paints, photo manipulations and really bad Kanji. as time has gone on, I found myself drawn more the the image and began doing more and more photography and less art surrounding an image. Read more>>

Mariam Choudry | Artist

From a young age, I’ve always loved being creative and making things by hand. However, I didn’t fully pursue painting until my thirties. I took time off from my IT profession to raise my children and it was during that time I began painting as a hobby. I rediscovered a joy that comes with the creative process and the stillness and peace it brings. It’s a very meditative experience, as it brings your awareness to the present moment. You’re alert but still and have time to become aware of your inner life and that’s exactly what I needed. Modern day life is very fast-paced, with many distractions and stresses and painting is a sanctuary. Read more>>

Jake Russell | Owner/operator RV/PILAR

For all the stock answers. I always had an artistic side. I couldn’t see myself wearing a suit and working inside an office, I wanted to use my hands, all of those. But I really wanted to build boats whether I was successful financially or not. I never thought I could make a 30 year career out of it. I remember after my friends graduated from college, they all had debt to pay and I had money in the bank. In fact I invested in some of their companies, and we all made more money. Thinking outside the box is by nature a creative process. Read more>>

Aastha Kannan | Creative Producer, Director, & Director of Photography

I think it was inevitable that someday I would embark on a path towards a creative career. My parents gave me the gift of learning music, dance, art, and anything else I was interested in starting from a very young age and I grew up as a child taught to express feelings in a multitude of mediums. Coming from a multicultural background as well, I often used movies and music to cross the barriers between language and experiences and gained immense cultural knowledge and comfort from being able to do so. Those experiences being grounded in art and often explained by it, made creating similar experiences for other people a very important part of my life. Read more>>

Marissa Fennell-Hardy | Actor & Stand Up Comic

Pursuing a creative career was inevitable for me. Creating art is when I’m happiest and the most fulfilled. I feel like each day I understand a new facet about my creativity that helps me identify my path even more. I have realized that the spotlight is less important to me as the impact my art makes on the people around me. I believe what I have always wanted for my art is to effect people, I want to help people feel seen and included and not alone in their world. Stand Up comedy has given me that satisfaction for sure. Watching people relate to what I’m saying and feel seen from my experiences fills me up with such light. At the end of the day that’s what I have always wanted in any career. To reflect society into inclusion. Read more>>

Ben Popowski | BenWoodCarving

As an engineer, I’ve always been working in an industrial environment where productivity and efficiency are among the most important skills to master. Even if I was an artistic kid, painting, drawing and playing music, I had left aside the artistic part of my personality to embrace my professional career. 2020 and the pandemic was definitely a wake up call! With a lot of time in my hands, I started carving my first piece of basswood and I quickly realized this was exactly what I had been missing out for all those years. All my childhood artistic side suddenly came back and since then, it has become my daily practice and my new creative outlet. Read more>>