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.

Chuck Pelly | Passionate About Design

From my first experience in a sandbox, probably 2 or 3 years old, I was infatuated by the ability to change and design all the stuff in the box. It never changed during my lifetime. The projects just got bigger and more complex along the way. I still thoroughly enjoy designing solutions to solve the business and social challenges of today. I will never forget as a teenager i decided to drive my VW bug to visit my aunt on a farm in Butler Illinois. She wanted to welcome me so she wrote a piece for the local newspaper that said my nephew was driving from California and he draws boats, planes and cars. That was a simple truth that has lasted my life time. It was soon apparent that to do that most enjoyable activity it would take a lot of study which travel, cultural exposure, education in US and Europe all lead to my desire for a deeper understanding of who we are as humans; both our physical and psychological needs. Read more>>

Ashleigh Mitchell | Southern California Wedding & Elopement Photographer

I always had an eye for photography and it started at a really young age. My father first introduced me to digital photography by always taking my picture growing up. And to my surprise today, being a photographer myself, that as a child I did not like having my photo taken, rather I wanted to be the one taking pictures. So I started with taking photos of my toys, family and pets and it grew into taking photos of my friends. No fancy camera or fancy training. I loved disposable cameras and getting the film developed at the drug store. I created several scrap books and my room was covered with so many 4×6 photos, you could hardly see the walls! My first job at 16, I worked for Kodak and snapped photos of people and their family or sold prints. I am proud to say, I am a self-taught photographer and absolutely love to create still-shots of real experiences for my couples and their families to enjoy for generations to come. Read more>>

Rita Spiegel | Artist 🎨 Pet Portraits & Muralist

I paint 🎨. I always have. My paintings have energy behind them. Coming from my love of animals and studies of yoga. I’m here to help people create memories. With my pet portraits, I help create special one-of-kind memories of their pets. I paint murals and windows to help businesses Attract clients and promote their brand. Read more>>

Christine Gutierrez | Illustrator & Designer

I have always been interested in all things creative. I participated in robotics for most of my life and I typically leaned towards designing the robots and branding. I’m also really big into reading comic books, and early on knew that was what I wanted to do. I picked up an internship with a local robotics company where I worked as a graphic designer and I knew instantly that that was where I wanted to focus. I went to school for a degree in art so I could learn the basics and use that in whichever creative field I wanted to pursue, and then spent 8 months in NY where I developed my focus for comic book-styled illustration. I enjoy being “a creative” because every day brings a new challenge and I also get to push myself every day to be better than the last and I can track that improvement over time. Read more>>

Tim Fagaly | Graphic Artist

My need to form through lines is a compulsory way to live. Even in childhood, I would often find myself much rather preferring time spent creating versions of my favorite cartoon and comic characters (and some of my own) than much else. By the time college came around, it was time that I was beginning to have more choice to where life could lead. During my academic years, I learned more than how to sharpen an artistic craft; I learned the necessity of the expression of self through any medium one finds most natural and compelling. I found inks and watercolor to be mine, and in them, I was able to recognize the story in my mind’s eye that needed to be brought into the world. It became so that I “have” to make what I do. I have to see figures and portraits and landscapes and colors represented by my mind and hands. Read more>>

Nancy Roux | Photographer and Digital Abstract Artist

It’s pretty much the other way around; my art career chose me. As the daughter of artist parents, it was pretty much a given that I’d pursue some sort of creative path. Over the years, I’ve been blessed to be aple to apply my design skills professionally in the advertising, presentation and training fields. However, my current creative pursuit – creating digital abstract artwork from my photography – comes the closes to expressing my spirit’s passion. Read more>>

Ben Hernandez | Husband, Father, Singer-Songwriter

I think it was inevitable. Even from a very young age, my personality seemed more disposed to creative things. I was always drawing, or writing, singing or even acting a little. My parents are also very creative and artistic, so there never seemed to be any other path for me. Read more>>

Kristine Baker | Founder/Owner

I have always been a creative so to speak, pretty much making things with my hands my whole life! Thankfully, I was raised with parents that encouraged my talents. So at some point in my beer hobby journey, it became natural to create items that would show off my love of craft beer. Nobody was really making anything for the female beer drinker just yet. Read more>>

Helen Jajo | Makeup Artist

I wanted to pursue my career as a makeup artist because of my love for art and creativity. When I was younger, my favorite thing to do was to draw and paint. As I grew older I found my passion for makeup, which allows me to express myself with the use of makeup products. Read more>>

Navi Artseini | Clothing Designer & Artist

I pursued an artistic/creative career because there are almost no limits to what I can create and do with my business. On one hand I’m designing clothes of all kinds from graphic t-shirts, hoodies with embroidered logos, different kinds of hats, etc. I’m not limited to just making clothes though, I can also go off and make huge paintings on canvas, sell original drawings, or sell prints of my artwork. I’m pretty sure there are plenty of other things I can do with my creativity and It’s great because my career allows me to do that. Heck I can even design lamp shades if I wanted too! The possibilities are endless. Skating is also a huge part of my life, and soon enough I’ll be making skate videos with my friends wearing my clothes. It’s all about having fun for me having a job dedicated to art can’t be stressful in a bad way. Read more>>

Dalia Janian | Photographer & Artist

I create to fill a void, I create to breathe, I create my own world in which I am worth it, I create to pass time, I create to heal, I create because all of our emotions are important to express, I create to escape, I create to be myself in a world full of comparison, I create to combat boredom, I create to express anything I want to express, I create to share information, I create to share realisations, I create to create, I create to bring me closer to the surface, I create because I have nothing to lose, I create because I have only one life, I create because it brings me joy to see such colors in the real world more vibrant on a computer screen, I create to know myself, I create to discover others, I create to understand the deeper meanings in life, I create to be cherished and to cherish, I create to be my own person, I create to be someone else, I create to add drama to the world, I create to add meaning to emotions, I create to add meaning to thoughts, I create to add meaning to locations, I create to add meaning to nature, I create to be closer to all elements. Read more>>

Alison Baughman | Floral Designer and Owner of New Creation Floral Design

I am a sensitive, creative and passionate person. I am also slightly quirky and in love with creating thoughtful designs that put a smile on my client’s faces. As a young college student, I pursued a teaching credential but never felt passionate about the classroom. Sure, I liked kids but the work felt monotonous and uninspired. I don’t think it was ever my calling, just a traditional vocation, as this is the direction our culture encourages us to take. Long story short, I was married young and had my first two beautiful children before I got into floristry. In 2012 New Creation Floral Design began when a friend finally agreed to let me arrange her wedding flowers. This experience opened my eyes to the challenging and beautiful world of floristry. We were a Motley Crew of friends and we literally pulled a wedding flower all nighter. It was about 3 a.m. and I kept saying, “I am having so much fun!” I obviously was not reading the room, because I had to finally be confronted that some people needed to go to bed! Well I guess, in this one evening I found my niche, because I have yet to quit floristry since that day. Read more>>

Nicola Di Liegro | Artista

It was easy to understand from an early age what fascinated me, painting, art, drawings, creativity in general and everything that revolves around the creative process of a work. When I was 13 and the time came to choose which type of high school to attend in the following years, I had no doubts, I wanted to attend art high school, unfortunately there was no family support and I had to settle for the commercial technical institute (accounting) . After 6 years I graduated (1998) and I had to choose once again how to continue my studies, my determination was strong and despite the job offers in the commercial economic field, I refused everything and went to study as a cartoonist / illustrator at the School International Comics of Rome, after earning my three-year diploma I moved to Milan to study at the European Institute of Design. During these years of study I have worked a lot to support the costs of tuition, train travel, lunches, dinners, etc…. it was not easy but it all served to strengthen my determination to make my dreams come true. Read more>>

Robert Andrade | Artist and Designer

When I was in my early 20’s it made the most sense to study what I was genuinely interested in, even if that meant a career that is typically not thought of as having many job prospects after school. I always thought I could find work with the skills I learned by studying art. At the beginning I used jobs as a way to learn as well. I worked as an art handler, carpenter and a fabricator for a little while. The skills I learned in these jobs were directly used for my practice. It hasn’t always been easy, but it has seemed to work out. Read more>>

Athena Mathews | Special Effects Makeup Artist and Teacher

I fell in love with makeup and special effects when i was young. It was fun and messy and the creativity was endless. Through my 20s and 30s i thought i never had what it took too pursue my passion. Then one day i remember i thought to myself, you know if i never try ill never succeed. I took that first step and never looked back. Ive always loved making things, building props, drawing painting anything i could just for the love of it. To me its more important to love your career and make your life how you want it. Be who you truly are and do things you really love. Read more>>