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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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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Greek-Mexican-L.A. artist Aspacia Kusulas finds creative bliss in letterforms

After quitting her day job as a graphic designer in May 2016 to enter an intensive type design program at Cooper Union in New York, Aspacia Kusulas traveled to Iceland, Russia, and Finland among other cities for several months with her brother. In September 2016, she returned to her home base in Los Angeles to make the leap into creative self-employment. At first, she was nervous about securing enough freelance gigs to stay afloat, but things turned out better than she expected. In fact, she’s constantly busy flexing her lettering and type design skills for branding projects, in addition to catalog work and teaching calligraphy workshops—not to mention her Minted designs. “I really enjoy the freedom,” she says. “Sometimes it feels a little bit like I’m not working, but I am.”

Abstracciones Vol. 3” wall art by Aspacia Kusulas

At 35, she’s accomplished a lot, but we have a feeling she’s just getting warmed up. Aspacia’s ultimate career goal is to establish herself as a letterer, calligrapher, and type designer. “I really want to focus more on type design—it’s a personal dream of mine,” she says. Having grown up in Mexico, with Greek heritage, she has a worldly view of how art and culture collide. As for her design style, Aspacia thinks it’s hard to define. “Sometimes I feel whimsy and playful, sometimes I feel edgy and bold, sometimes nostalgic and complex. I would say my work is the result of juxtaposition of my favorite things which translate to an eclectic style,” Aspacia says. “I strive to place the old in a modern context.”

Here Aspacia talks about what drives her, scares her, and the little things you wouldn’t know about her unless she tells you right now.

Photo by Alyssa Gonzalez

Minted: You have Greek roots but grew up in Mexico. Can you tell us more about your family’s heritage?
Aspacia Kusulas: I was born and raised in Zacatecas, Mexico, a colonial city known for its old, pink buildings, baroque churches, and silver mining. It is a small city, but full of culture and the arts. Growing up with Mexican and Greek customs was really enriching. I was exposed to a wide range of cuisines—something I still love very much—and attended many unique and vibrant art festivals. My dearest aunt took me to a lot of plays, concerts, and exhibits and those experiences imprinted on me deeply, so much that I knew I wanted to do something artistic when I grew up. I moved to Los Angeles in 2005, and I have been living there since, but nowadays I’m spending time in both Mexico City and L.A.

“Baby Bistro” baby shower invitation by Aspacia Kusulas

You received a B.A. in Graphic Design from Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico. Do you think there are any differences between studying graphic design in Mexico and the U.S. or other countries?
One of the major differences in studying graphic design in Mexico is the strong cultural foundation you receive that informs your practice. Mexico has a unique cultural identity, and there is a long-standing design heritage that reflects that. What I learned in my alma mater was that instead of this hindering the creative process or boxing you in aesthetically, it can actually teach you to understand the implicit parameters of visual culture more formally and thus help you to use those principles to adapt to any design situation while still asserting myself as a Mexican designer when it makes sense.

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After Building Her Style on Minted, Roxy Cervantes Tries Her Hand at Illustration

When Roxy Cervantes joined the Minted artist community in 2010, she was fresh out of college and hadn’t developed her own design style. Eager to learn and gain real-world experience, she entered her first Minted Design Challenge for business cards. Seven years on, she credits Minted Challenges with helping her develop her aesthetic, which has evolved into what it is today: clean, simple, typography-driven cards and stationery with a dollop of white space.

Now 29, Roxy works by day as a graphic designer, and by night, she’s steering herself in a new direction with her Minted design work. “I am not an illustrator by any means; in fact, I am very intimidated by illustration, but recently I’ve been trying to push myself to develop my own illustrative style,” she says. “Illustration is definitely challenging and outside of my comfort zone, but that’s one of the things I love about the Minted Challenges—you can put anything out there and the community is always supportive and incredibly helpful.”

In this Meet a Minted Artist interview, Roxy talks about how fellow Minted artists’ talent inspires her to grow.

“Big News” foil-pressed save the date card by Roxy Cervantes

Minted: How are you trying to push your illustrative style?
Roxy Cervantes: Illustration was never one of my strengths. I don’t draw or illustrate, but seeing amazing designs by other artists inspires me to try. There’s not just one way to do illustration; I’m trying watercolor, painting, and drawing. I’m working on figuring out how I can take my style in a more illustrative direction and grow myself as a designer to get outside my comfort zone. I signed up for a Skillshare and take classes online, and I’m also learning how to do hand-lettering, which is very challenging. I’m practicing on my own to see how I can incorporate my own illustrative style into Minted Challenges. Even if I think my work is terrible, you can get great feedback, and it’s encouraging. I feel comfortable putting myself out there on Minted, and I know I will improve.

“Stable” wedding invitation by Roxy Cervantes

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Lena Barakat balances Minted, freelance design + family with grace

When we asked Lena Barakat how to strike work-life balance (if there is such a thing) for this blog post in February 2016, she said “Learn to say no.” Forty weeks pregnant with her third child at the time, Lena was (and still is) a longtime Minted community member and super mom who also works as a freelance graphic designer. Life is as balanced as it can be now, but when Lena first began freelancing, things were different. During a down economy, she felt the need to take on every opportunity to help grow her business, build experience and her portfolio. As she describes it, her hours were all over the place, from late evenings to weekends. “Over the years, I’ve learned many lessons, one of which is setting boundaries,” the Indiana designer says. “I do my best to not overwhelm myself by taking on more than I can handle, as well as shutting down all aspects of work when I am with my family.”

With experience and success under her belt, Lena says she’s still disciplined when it comes to work, but her children will always come first. In this “Meet a Minted Artist” interview, Lena talks about how she makes quality time for the things that matter most to her, including creative development, finding inspiration, and trusting her gut.

Minted: Would you give the same advice now as you did more than a year ago?
Lena Barakat: My sentiments are definitely the same. In a sense, having children changes your identity, so finding a balance, without losing yourself, is key. My children are still very young, and I think it’s imperative to focus on nurturing my family, while fulfilling and preserving my creative pursuit.

What kind of freelance work do you do?
Logo work, annual reports, branding, advertising. As a freelance designer, you wear multiple hats and need to be able to quickly jump from one project to the next. Every week my schedule changes, but on average I’d say roughly five hours a day on design work and a few hours a day maintaining and managing life at home—errands, doctor appointments, laundry, tons of laundry, groceries, did I mention laundry? All three of my boys love to dig in the dirt. I strive to have everything taken care of, so when my husband, a physician, comes home from a really long day, we can relax and enjoy our time with the kids.

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Nikkol Christiansen simplifies the complicated in design + life

Nikkol Christiansen eagerly awaits the completion of the home she designed in Utah.

Nikkol Christiansen’s minimalist design aesthetic works hand in hand with her approach to life, which centers around the beauty of simplicity. Which isn’t to imply that her life is simple. Nikkol has accomplished a lot during her short time on earth: She’s developed a career as an editorial designer and stylist, while moving around the country several times with her musician husband and raising four children. In addition to her Minted work, she creates backdrops for editorial and brand photo shoots, and designed the home she’s soon to move into. I think the most important thing to remember is that there are many seasons in life and that you can do lots of things, but you can’t do them all at once,” says the Minted artist who lives in Logan, Utah, about 20 minutes south of the Idaho border.

“Metallic Branches” wedding invitation by Nikkol Christiansen

Nikkol describes her artistic style as rooted in the masculine with graceful and feminine details. Both Nikkol’s and her husbands’ ancestors are from Denmark, and she’s always loved the minimal, textural aesthetic of Scandinavian design. She craves clean lines and natural textures, and white space is a must. “Someone once asked me why I leave all the white space in my designs, because it made them feel like something was missing. To me, it’s the exact opposite. I need it,” Nikkol says. “I told them to just breathe it in because it feels amazing.”

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