Last summer, I spoke with graphic designer and prolific artwork guru Elyn Kazarian. The Californian (L.A.-based) has worked with Italdred Records, SoulEtiquette, Team Supreme, Omar Rodriguez-Lopz, ROM, SiR, Lege Kale, and Blink-182 (whoa) and is now the creative director for Fête Records. When we first spoke, I asked about preferred mediums and ideal creative spaces, tapping into her self-proclaimed style as "an atmosphere of orchestrated pulse." While that phrase really struck with me, it wasn't until after the interview that I really started noticing her philosophies. Both her Instagram and Facebook accounts are full of positive statuses and uplifting messages that focus on doing what we love, escaping our mind-numbing routines, and showing support and care for those around us. For our second interview, I made sure to dig a bit deeper, while also allowing the artist of the hour to talk about new companies, focused directions, and disco.
Hey, how's it going? Where are you currently? Tell us a bit about your surroundings.
Hey Ben, things are pretty good on my end. I am currently living in Los Angeles in a quiet neighborhood just north of Glendale.
Since we last talked in the summer of 2015, what's changed? How have you grown?
Wow, I can't believe it has already been a year. A lot of things have happened since then. I was hired by Deckstar, a music management company, back in March of 2015, and worked there for over a year until my lay off this past May. Two days later, my father passed away, so you can say that this year has been a challenging one for me. Although, I think it has been the year that has allowed me to grow the most amidst all of the obstacles and the feeling of not knowing what will happen next.
Your social media presence is very motivational and inspiring. How do you stay positive? How do you combat hardships?
There's so much anxiety in our society nowadays around the idea of "followers" on social media. People can't seem to ever get enough. It took me until earlier this year to finally open an Instagram account, actually. It's not that I don't care about getting my work out there, but it's that I prefer to have supporters that truly believe in me and see something in me...it's not about the number of followers, that doesn't justify anything in my opinion. What's important for me is quality, and at the end of the day, my work gets across to those who understand where I'm coming from. I know that the right people have come my way and continue to do so. It's hard to stay positive sometimes because quite frankly I do become doubtful of myself, but I combat that by reminding myself that nothing happens overnight.
Have you always been optimistic or do you feel like your outlook on the world has grown over the years?
I've always considered myself a realist, and I truly believe that by maintaining a certain level of positivity, things begin to progress. People think by being positive or optimistic means that you're always happy, but that's not the case. It's about maintaining hope and putting into action what you dream of, even amidst hardship. My perspective on life changes over time, always growing and opening up to more possibilities.
Going back to music, what have you been listening to recently?
I can't say that I've been listening to anything in particular recently, because I find myself always listening to a lot of different genres in music. But I have been absorbed in Disco for some reason lately.
You seem to be the exclusive designer for Fête. How did you form that relationship with such a strong music outlet?
Yes! I'm their Creative Director, and have been working with them for over a year (since they started up, really). The guys that started Fête, Abhi and Robert, are two of the most dedicated and open guys I've worked with. We initially connected on Facebook I believe, and they had me create the cover art for the "1AM" EP and it all grew from there. Our relationship grew very organically, and continues to do so.
What can you tell me about this new endeavor of yours, Slug Agency?
Slug Agency was started by Fool's Gold Records artist, BOSCO this year. BOSCO and I have been following each other on Instagram for a while, and I saw her posting these teasers about how they were looking for designers in ATL. I was intrigued regardless of the fact that I'm in LA, and reached out to one of the other members she was working with to see what it was all about. They loved my work, and after a few email exchanges, BOSCO told me that I'm one of the other lead designers. There are four of us, and we're currently working on our launch for early next year.
What's the rest of the year looking like for you?
To be quite honest, I have no idea. I think that's the beauty of it for me right now. I'm allowing myself to see every angle, to be open to what's next. It's been a hard year, but I know great things are ahead.
Last year when I asked for advice, you said, "Be open to learning as much as possible. There’s so much out there. Don’t ever let failure upset you or stop you from growing. That’s the only way you’ll grow." Any advice updates/elaborations?
I can say that that piece of advice will always hold true for anyone. I will add by saying that there will be a lot of challenges and setbacks in your life/career/you name it, but all of the things that happen need to happen for whatever reason. What truly shapes you are those obstacles, and the reaction that you have towards those hardships will determine your future.
Any final words/thoughts/shout-outs?
I want to thank Elias and Eliot, the two that gave me my first ever album cover art job for their label Modern Filth back in 2012, and for whom I've worked with for over four years. I want to thank Abhi and Robert, the Fête Records boys for believing in me and giving me the creative freedom to express myself. Thank you truly to anyone that supports me, it doesn't go unnoticed. And thank you Ben for speaking with me!