Israeli-Californian artist Hadas Tal marries realism and abstraction with a designer’s eye

“Finding the emotional climate and capturing the feeling of a scene.”

That’s the name of the creative game for Hadas Tal, who approaches her paintings with a designer’s eye. Whether she’s painting a California coastline or an abstract representation of high-rise windows, she carefully considers the composition, color, shapes, form, and cropping of everything she creates. “I like clean design, white, contemporary—The Guggenheim in New York, for example—expansive white walls,” she says.

Tal is a full-time artist in Emeryville, California, located about 10 miles northeast of San Francisco, but was born in Rishon Letzion, Israel. In 1980, her dad received a lucrative opportunity to work as a computer programmer for IBM, so her family moved to New Jersey, where Tal grew up. A new Minted artist, Tal earned a top-voted win for Windows,” in the Minted + West Elm on the Big Stage Challenge. “Windows” was inspired by a gray, rainy day in Chinatown, San Francisco—more specifically, the haziness of the gray rainy day and how it affected the light surrounding the building. “Each window looked like an abstract painting,” Tal says.

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You can take the girl out of design, but you can’t take design out of Minted artist Karidy Walker

You can take the girl out of graphic design, but you can’t take the graphic design out of the girl. This was the case for Karidy Walker, the Minted artist who knew as early as middle school that she wanted to pursue a career in design in some shape or form. She went to college to study design, until she dropped out during the second-half of her freshman year. Several years later, she returned to Western Washington University and finished her degree in 2008, but she didn’t actually consider herself a full-time graphic designer until she started entering and winning Minted Challenges in 2013. Her success on Minted has led to freelance design opportunities for various clients, and now Karidy is a full-time, self-employed graphic designer who works from home in Anacortes, a seaside town in Washington state.

In the last four years, Karidy, who recently turned 40, has become known for her light-hearted, fun, and often illustrative design aesthetic. “I definitely swing more toward the whimsical side of design, but I still like clean lines and modern typography,” she says.

Minted: How did you know that you wanted to be a graphic designer so early in life?
Karidy Walker: When I was in seventh grade, we had a career day at school where people came to share their jobs and life experiences. I always knew I wanted to do something art or design-related, but I never had a “term” to describe it. A graphic designer was there that day, and I knew immediately that’s what I wanted to be.

Modern Angles” wedding invitation by Karidy Walker

Are you originally from the Pacific Northwest?
I was born in Texas, and we moved to Washington when I was almost 6, but lived in west Texas (where my dad was born and raised) and Hawaii (where my mom was born and raised) before that. I definitely have heart strings to both Texas and Hawaii, and my upbringing between them is a big part of who I am today. I’d describe myself as a Northwest girl mixed with a bit of Southern charm and aloha spirit.

Karidy and her husband, Matt, in a tulip field in Mount Vernon, Washington. Her daughters, Kaileia and Aneka, are 4 and 3.

Why did you drop out of college but return later to complete your BA in graphic design?
I always knew I wanted to be a graphic designer and enrolled in college right after high school. I realized early on, however, that I wasn’t ready for the work involved to finish my degree. I returned to school in my late 20s with a renewed focus. The WWU design program was really competitive at the time, so earning my degree not only gave me the skills I needed, but also the confidence I needed to become the graphic designer I always wanted to be.

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Minted artist Erin Hodges mixes graphic design with Texas politics

Some people say art and politics don’t mix, but for Erin Hodges, they do. Well, sort of. Under the moniker Fig + Cotton Paperie, the longtime Minted artist has established her niche for modern yet timeless stationery design. And as a senior advisor to the Governor of Texas, she tackles the Lone Star State’s politics head-on. How does she manage to do both with grace? As a full-time working parent, she says she’s “still in search of that unicorn they call ‘balance.’” “However, I am one of those people who needs—not wants—a creative outlet. Stationery design scratches that itch in the most rewarding way,” Erin says.

By day, the 38-year-old works on almost every major state policy issue, and focuses a lot of her time on issues related to public education and child welfare. And by night, she’s a self-taught graphic designer who’s figured out the complexities of Adobe Illustrator. If you asked Erin during her college days as a Communications major at Texas State University what she wanted to be when she grew up, she would have said Public Relations, but as she explains now, “the public policy/government bug bit me quickly.” Fast-forward to 2010, Erin entered her first Minted design challenge, the 2010 Holiday Card Spectacular and the rest is history.


One of Erin’s favorite Minted designs is her “Mod Palm” wedding invitation. “It just feels like ‘me,’ she says. “I feel like my style can be all over the place sometimes, but I am really feel like this wedding suite captures it.”

Minted: Have you worked in politics for a long time?
Erin Hodges: I’ve worked for the Abbott Administration for the majority of my career—from when he was running for Texas Attorney General in 2001 through a large portion of his tenure as Texas Attorney General, and now as he is in his second year as the Governor of Texas. I did take a four-year break to serve a Chief of Staff in the Texas House of Representatives…but I didn’t stay gone very long.

Erin Hodges at the Texas Capitol office in Austin. Photo by Molly Quirk

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Meet Jody Worthington, the hula-hooping, metal-DJing Minted artist

Metal DJ. Judy Blume podcast co-host. Expert hula-hooper. Proud lefty. Oh, and graphic designer. Minted artist Jody Worthington is all of these things wrapped into one. And maybe her open mind to trying new adventures has something to do with her childhood, which involved her family moving every three years, to support of her father’s career for ExxonMobil. The Worthingtons lived in London, The Netherlands, New Orleans, Virginia, Dallas, Houston, Connecticut, Australia, San Francisco, and now Jody calls Oakland, California, home. “Even though I was always the ‘new kid,’ I’m now really grateful for our nomadic lifestyle and the experiences it provided.”

By day, Jody is a self-employed graphic designer who works with a wide variety of clients, and in her “spare” time, she creates wedding invitations, holiday cards, foil-pressed art of bridges, and more for Minted. Her design style is fluid and ever-evolving, but always lively, refined, detail-oriented, balanced, and sometimes vintage-inspired.

Jody Worthington hula-hooping at her wedding. Portraits by Cathy Haebe and Danny Zevallos

Minted: As a self-employed designer and art director, what kind of projects do you work on?
Jody Worthington: I’ve been running my “one-woman studio” full time since January 2013. My main focus is brand identity, which usually paves the way for other projects like logo design, packaging, websites/apps, editorial design, print collateral, and illustration. I’m lucky enough to work from home with my husband—a fellow designer and Minted artist Tyler Tea—for a roster of different clients and industries. Tyler’s focus is videogame design and illustration, so for the most part we work independently, but when the job is right, we get to collaborate and it’s the best.

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Discover Kati Ramer, the artist who paints the ‘pure magic’ of West Texas landscapes

By day, Kati Ramer works in software sales, and by night and weekends, she is a self-taught artist who loves painting the vast beauty of the desert. “My day job is such a dramatic contrast to painting—it’s fast-paced, high-stress, and very cerebral,” the Austin, Texas, artist says. “I like to tell myself that I’m working all parts of my brain by doing both.”

Kati uses heavy acrylics to bring texture and depth to her work, and one of her favorite landscapes is the Chisos mountains in the Big Bend area of West Texas. She takes photographs and paints scenes later in her home studio, though she dreams of someday participating in Big Bend National Park’s artist residency program, a month-long, plein air program. “It sounds glorious,” she says.

Minted: What strikes you about The Chisos?
Kati Ramer: Big Bend is pure magic. It’s remote in the truest sense of the word. It’s the least visited National Park in the country due to the accessibility, but it contains such a rich diversity of scenery—mountains, rivers, canyons. I’m constantly begging people to visit. There is absolutely no place like the desert to find stillness and silence, which I think we’re all desperate to find. In contrast, the grandeur of the Chisos Mountains remind you how small you are in the very best sort of way. It’s easy to forget about the little hurts and worries and frustrations of life when you stand beside or atop the mountains.

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Discover Elliot Stokes, the Brooklyn artist who enjoys solving problems with illustration

Elliot Stokes’ illustration of a milk jug evokes Andy Warhol, but his simple black on white clothes pins or “Slinky on the Stairs”? That’s his own thing. The young artist who grew up in the Atlanta area moved to New York right after college seven years ago and hasn’t looked back. By day, he art directs food photography for the PeopleFood franchise and designs story pages, which he says is not so unlike illustrating. “Both are forms of a kind of visual storytelling and share other creative commonalities, so hopping between one and the other is pretty easy,” the Greenpoint, Brooklyn, artist says. “I’m super lucky to get to do both.”

Minted: What drives you, and where does your inspiration tend to come from?
Elliot Stokes: I love making interesting and pretty pictures, to put in plainly—images that delight me and other people. So much inspires me: the thrilling parts of life and the boring parts; all printed matter I get my hands on; my computer desktop, too. It’s very messy and covered in image thumbnails I’ve dragged onto it. Nothing snaps to grid. My desktop is better than Pinterest to me, since I don’t have to log in anywhere and I can see everything all at once. Sometimes I’ll click through random thumbnails on my desktop until something rubs off. Two Percent Milk” by Elliot Stokes

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Discover Alexandra Feo, the Venezuelan Dutch photographer who calls her style ‘busy minimalism’


Born in Caracas, Venezuela, and raised in a family of musicians and artists, Alexandra Feo grew up in opera and ballet theaters, and developed a passion for the aesthetic of stage arts. Now living in Amsterdam, she works as a photographer but is also a trained ballet dancer and studied music for more than a decade.

Minted: How did you learn photography?
Alexandra Feo: I started in 2009 while living in Tokyo, Japan. Photography is pretty much a national sport there, so I got a camera and started playing around with it. I took several online courses and classes to learn about the basics, including photography techniques, studio shootings, postproduction of images, makeup, and styling.

Fullness – I” by Alexandra Feo

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Karly Depew of Oscar & Emma gets real about work-life balance and the ‘buckets of life’


Portraits by Christa Kimble Photography 2017

Minted has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 2008, and Karly Depew of Oscar & Emma has been right there since nearly the very start. The Columbus, Ohio, graphic designer entered and won Minted’s first Holiday Photo Card Challenge, which at the time had a total of only 110 entries and a grand prize of $1,000. Fast-forward to 2015, and Karly won first place again in the annual Holiday Photo Card Challenge—by then, the submissions grew to 4,661, and the prize amount increased to $9,000.

As an active community member, Karly has become somewhat of a Minted celebrity over the years. Not the mysterious, intimidating kind of celebrity, but the well-liked, down-to-earth variety. Karly’s one of those genuine, kind people you immediately warm up to and respect. As a designer, “talented” is an understatement, and as a human, she’s Midwestern-friendly and very real; she’s open to saying, “I’m still figuring out this whole work-life balance thing—who isn’t?”

In this interview, the busy mom talks about how her life has changed since she’s transitioned her business as an independent graphic design company into a full-time Minted artist—with Karly defining “full time” on her own terms.

“Lovely Beginning” wedding invitation by Oscar & Emma

Minted: How many hours per week do you usually work work?
Karly Depew: I average about 20–25 hours per week right now, which is a drastic change from the 50–60 I used to work before my children were born. Before my children were born, I worked for myself, so I never stopped—weekends, evenings … all the time. Now that I focus on designing for Minted, “work” for me is a process of getting inspired and researching ideas for current challenges, creating many rough drafts, playing around with fonts and drawing or painting illustrations.

What’s a typical day in the life for you?
A typical day in my life starts at 6:30 a.m. when my children wake up. Once the morning routine is complete, my husband and I go our separate ways to Kindergarten and daycare drop-offs. By 9 a.m. I am usually off to a fitness class or run through my neighborhood. After a few errands and house chores, I am usually able to be at my desk by 10:30 or 11:00 a.m. I try to stay focused on work until 3 p.m. when I leave to pick up my daughter from school. Once all the kids are home by 5 o’clock, we have our family time, dinner, and bedtime routine. I am lucky if I get to work an extra hour in the evening after the kids have fallen asleep. Usually, by that time I just want to spend some time with my husband on the couch while we watch Netflix.

How do you balance personal life with work?
I honestly don’t know if it is possible to have a true work-life balance. It is something that I am constantly striving to accomplish. Once I became a mother, the “mommy guilt” came full force. If I spend time focusing on work, then I feel guilty about neglecting my family, and vice versa.

I saw an interview with volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings on the TODAY Show and she talked about her “three buckets” in life. If she ever feels off-kilter or grumpy, she knows she needs to re-evaluate and find the bucket that needs to be filled. When I heard that interview, it was an A-HA! moment for me. My buckets are 1.) Family 2.) Work 3.) Self. It is a constant balancing act, but when I am stressed I know it is because one of those buckets needs to be filled.

After my twin boys were born, I knew I had to shift the focus of my business. I’ve put the custom design portion of business “on hold” and focus on Minted at the moment. It has allowed me to have more time to invest in my family and myself.

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Minted greeting cards, children’s apparel, and nursery decor make shining debut at NSS 2017

Photos by Charlie Juliet Photography

Greeting cards, children’s apparel, and nursery decor were Minted’s headlining acts at our National Stationery Show (NSS) booth this year. All three product categories made a shining debut at the paper goods tradeshow and were well-received by both independent and large national retailers. The new products were right at home alongside our new home décor textile patterns and Minted’s longtime claim to fame: custom cards and invitations, including our wedding suite.

After introducing Minted Wholesale at NSS 2016, the program continues to grow. Last year, we showed NSS attendees our custom invitation offerings along with a handful of limited edition art prints, home decor products such as pillows and table linens, and packaged stationery products. Now Minted Wholesale is even better than ever. Our new line of wholesale greeting cards are sourced from The Better Together Greeting Card Challenge, our first competition that shines an extra-bright spotlight on excellence in writing and design. Since last year, we’ve made our wholesale pricing more competitive and also made improvements in our customer service,” says Dan Garblik, Minted’s Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships. “We’re excited to grow this new and exciting side of our business.”

We showcased some of our new greeting cards against a copper wall, spotlighting a rotation of Minted artists. Here we show Stacey Meacham of Atlanta, Georgia; Shonda Rhimes, the TV producer extraordinaire who contributed copywriting to the first part of the Better Together Minted Greeting Card Challenge; and Carrie O’Neal of Fairfield, Ohio.

As Minted Wholesale has expanded, we’ve been careful to select retail partners who agree to support our artist-friendly terms. “We seek partners who are excited about the Minted artist community and want to help us tell our crowdsourcing story,” says Brady Wood, VP External Relations. “We’ve seen wonderful examples – with West Elm and Pottery Barn Kids, for example – of our retail partners telling stories about the artist behind the product.”

Just as Minted has come a long way since Founder and CEO Mariam Naficy started the company in 2008, so too has our presence at NSS. In the early days, Minted products were exclusive to minted.com. Now with Minted Wholesale and the opening of Minted’s San Francisco retail store, Minted’s footprint extends to brick and mortar and beyond. “It’s truly exciting to see the progression — I think Minted is definitely steering to the right market that will generate more exposure and revenue,” says Nam Bourassa, a Canadian Minted artist who joined the community in December 2008. As one of the early designers to enter Minted’s Design Challenges, she represents a thriving community of independent artists who create the designs for the many products that Minted produces and sells.

Nam says she’s a fan of Minted Wholesale because the program allows artists to see their designs in additional commercial markets. “It certainly gives bragging rights to recognize a product that was designed by you,” she says. “The wholesale products are high-quality with fabulous design styles.”

As part of the tradition that’s developed over the years at NSS, we hosted a cocktail party for Minted artists who traveled from around the U.S. and beyond, in addition to a breakfast meeting for some of our top-performing artists in the CMYK program. Enjoy the gallery of photos.

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Natural disaster aside, Chasity Smith focuses on family + design

When we contacted Minted artist Chasity Smith nearly a year ago about featuring her for a “Meet a Minted Artist” story, she politely declined because she was in the midst of dealing with flooding in her hometown of Livingston, Louisiana, a rural area, between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. “It was a complete devastation and the worst natural disaster in my town,” she says of the Livingston Parish Flooding in August 2016. “Our normal flood stage is 13 feet, and it crested at 22.16 feet, a major record-breaker — 75% of our parish was underwater. So many people were stranded in homes and vehicles. No one was prepared for this flood. Schools were closed for over a month.”

As Chasity explains now in retrospect, her family was lucky and didn’t experience flooding as badly as many others in her town. “Thankfully, our whole community came together and helped each other as much as possible. It was scary and something I never want to experience again.”

When we asked her to share more details about the flooding, she steered the conversation away from doom and gloom, talking instead about the brighter side of life, her family, and the Minted community. As you’ll read in this interview, we discovered how the 34-year-old artist has taken an unconventional path to become a successful work-from-home designer and mom.

“Balloon” children’s birthday party invitation by Chasity Smith. She describes her design style as “mostly simple, but I love to try new things like bold, unique patterns and designs that are different.”

Minted: How and why did the flooding happen?
The flood happened because of a slow moving low-pressure weather system that dumped rain for 39 hours straight. We knew we had a lot of rain coming, but we were never warned what was about to happen. 

How long did it take to recover, and did you have to move into a new home?
So many people in my community are still recovering. It’s such a long process for everyone. I do still live in the same home. We had family that had to be rescued. Since we didn’t get it as bad as others, we had family come stay with us. At one time, we had 10 extra people staying in my house. After they came to my house, water started rising in my area. The hotels and shelters were full. My aunt just moved back home last month.

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