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.

Ashlie Smith | Wedding Planner and Designer

Growing up my mom and dad were real estate agents and so we were always talking about different homes they were listing and what not. Often times my mom would take me to walk through homes she was going to sell and I would find it fascinating how each home was laid out and designed. I constantly was drawing floor plans and thinking of unique ideas like hidden play rooms for kids to have fun such as a ball pit room or an area with a slide to the downstairs level. I was very imaginative. Read more>>

Mitch Ridder | Photojournalist, Event & Fine Art Photographer.

That’s easy – I hated math. Okay, so that is a bit of an exaggeration, or maybe not. In school, I found math incredibly frustrating. I have a very logical, practical mind, which I thought was ideally suited for math. Yet, the harder I worked, the more I found geometry and trigonometry to be abstract foreign languages I would never speak or use. Read more>>

Chad Ricci | Tattoo Artist

I was always into art my whole life. As a child I loved to draw or do anything creative I could get my hands on. I was always inspired by nature and cartoons. Going through school I would always get in trouble for drawing all over my homework and tests. Later on in life I started noticing tattoos and was hooked once I saw my first one. I knew Tattooing would be the career for me. It took me 9 years to get an apprenticeship. Read more>>

Winsor Kinkade | (they/them) Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Artist

My day job is as a community mental health social worker. I offer mental health groups that are rooted in collective healing, community organizing, creative art forms, intimate connection with the land and animal kin, our body’s innate wisdom, and radical imagination. I use creating art as a form of therapeutic expression with my clients. I went into this field initially because of my own experience with mental health struggles throughout my life and in the lives of those closest to me. Read more>>

Jordan Whitlock | Artist, Songwriter, and Producer

In short, I chose to pursue music because there really is no other way for me. I grew up in a musical family in the church, my dad was a music director whether it was in college or church, and my mom also sang in the band. For as long as I can remember, we were singing. My parents swear I was singing before I could talk, so with that upbringing, I started writing music when I was about 10; performing in musicals and eventually recording and releasing my own work. Read more>>