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.

David Mina | Type 1 Diabetes Lifestyle Graphic Designer, Speaker, Filmer, and Soon-To-Be Certified Diabetes Educator

Ever since I can remember, I have always been a creative person. You would always find me sitting at the kitchen table, drawing or painting something, or maybe even trying to create an object of some sorts out of construction paper, pipe cleaners, etc. That was the kid I was and it has stuck with me ever since. I am a visual learner, so I always gravitated towards effective and creative visuals to help me learn something or understand a concept. I found that art and design had a way of making me feel calm, lost in my work, and appreciate the design of life through good visuals. As a child, I always knew I wanted to pursue a creative career, I just didn’t know what yet. When I went to college, I still had no idea what I was doing in life, but eventually learned where I was supposed to be and what I was supposed to be doing, hence the career I am pursuing now. Read more>>

Abby Rocha Carlisle | Death Positive Artist & Illustrator

As far back as I remember I’ve always wanted to be an artist. I’d spend hours looking at any book with paintings in it. The most memorable for me as a small child of 5 was the Bible believe it or not. I come from a Mexican immigrant household so we had this time of an illustrated bible with these beautiful old master paintings depicting all the stories from heaven to jonas and the whale to the four horsemen of the apocalypse. They terrified me and fascinated me and when it was explained to me by my mother that these pages were made by an people and it was their job I was in awe. I wanted to be that person and learn to create images that made people feel. I don’t think I had that purpose crystalized until much later but that was the seed that grew in me and took root. To do anything else was never really an option. Nothing drew me like art did and despite the many jobs I’ve dipped my toes in, it is what makes me happiest and most fulfilled. Read more>>

Melissa Miller | Artist-Songwriter & Novelist

I continue pursuing a career as an artist-songwriter & novelist because art is what keeps color in the world!    I recently relocated to Chicago from Nashville, TN, where I spent seven years submerged in an artistic, musical atmosphere. I moved to TN in 2012, shortly after launching www.melissamillermusic.com and graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. I give Nashville credit to opening my mind and my heart, transforming me from an eager girl into an empowered woman who creates opportunities for herself. Music City taught me that every person and every place is planted into our lives with a purpose worth uncovering.   Now in Chicago, I have a full-time position as a business writer, while I continue writing songs for film and television placements. I also have written two and a half novels. My first two are titled Sky High and Off the Grid, respectively, and my third novel (which I am currently working on) is titled Dear Whoever You Are. They are all romantic comedy fiction.   The view from my living room is the city loop. I cannot tell you what a wonder it is to wake up and see skyscrapers outside every single day. Read more>>

Lindsay Chango | Colorist & Stylist

Early in life I always was creative, I loved anything with bright colors, anything I could do with my hands! I don’t think I really ever thought I’d make it in a creative lifestyle until living in San Diego, taking an apprenticeship for hairstyling. Seeing the action in the salon and how happy everyone was being in this environment thats meant to create beauty, it was happiness I haven’t felt before. Still to this day every time I am finishing a clients hair I feel this overwhelming joy that literally forces me to dance around my chair all excited to show my client her new do! There’s nothing like it I swear. Read more>>

Sophie Ruiz | Artist & Ceramicist

Pursuing a creative path is how I remain in alignment with my authenticity. Expression, connection, and passion are my key values in the realm of career. I have held jobs that I am immensely thankful for, but I will never forget the unsettling feeling of needing more: more creativity, more freedom, and most importantly, more meaning. Listening to my gentle and wise intuition has brought me immense joy and continuously leads me onto a creative path that resonates with who I am. Read more>>

Jessica Andersen | Jeweler & Artist

I have always known that the arts would be a big part of my life. I grew up in a tiny town in the Midwest, art was my safe space. I am the oldest of four girls and part of a large, extended family. Making art or reading books was where I went to find quiet, escape to other worlds or places, and daydream. Making is how I express myself, how I communicate. It’s my language. I always felt that I belonged in that space. Art has really ever been the only path for me. Read more>>

Brother | Music Artist

My mother used to tell me that a career in music (or any artistic field, I imagine) is only something you should take up because you can’t imagine the thought of not doing it. Her advice was pretty sober, I think. Both of my parents are professional musicians. I grew up with an example of what it really meant to do music for a living sans glamour, fame, whatever misconceptions people have. It’s not easy. My sisters both went on to do different things, but I spent most of my childhood playing instruments, writing music, recording and producing my own albums. I just never stopped doing that and I never wanted to. My career so far has essentially just been an effort to make it so that I can keep doing what I love. Read more>>

Nancy Fraser | Artist

Art and creativity has always been a huge draw for me. I knew from a very young age that I wanted to pursue an artistic and creative career. However, that creative career path took many twists and turns along the way. Read more>>