Interview with Elyn Kazarian
Creative Director & Designer

Whether its as an on-air host and producer for shesaidsoLA Radio or as a freelance graphic designer conceptualizing design work for the music industry, Kazarian's passion for music and exploration is pushing this designer down new exciting paths. Kazarian talks about how to discover new things once comfortably in a career and what they hope will come of the start-up LA Radio.
Hi Elyn! Creatives, especially designers, must continuously learn new techniques and trends throughout their career. What are some of the ways that you ensure that you never stop learning new skills?
A lot of the ways that I make sure that I stay on top of learning new things and new techniques is, one is just drive: I have a passion for learning constantly. Doesn't matter if it's going to directly impact my career, or if it's something that I purely have an interest in and I want to learn. So I'll go on sites - like for instance, which is free with a library card - or I'll go to the library, I'll walk down an aisle and I'll pick up a random book that isn't necessarily even related to my field of work. So making sure that you're always seeing open to different possibilities is just another way to learn something new.
What are some of the main reasons you believe that professionals tend to think they can stop learning once they receive long-term work?
I think one of the reasons why professionals tend to think that there isn't really any room for learning new things once they start getting long term work, is because they become comfortable. They become comfortable in the situation that they're in, and they don't even really think about the fact that they can continue to learn new things - it's almost like you you just become lazy. So I think it takes a certain drive, and passion, and appetite to continue to learn new things and apply it to your own field. And again, it really doesn't have to do with the field of work that you're in, it has more to do with just an appetite for learning new things. And then, you never know: maybe five years down the line, maybe 10 years down the line, you realize that something you learned all those years ago that had nothing to do with your own work, now suddenly is beneficial to what you're doing. So I think one of the main reasons is just because people become comfortable in the situation that they're in.
What are some of the main ways you've grown your skillset in the last year? Where do you recommend designers start if they want to build up new skills?
I mentioned this in a previous video, but one of the main ways I've been able to develop the skill sets that I currently have but then also developing new skills is going on is something that I had access to when I was a student years ago at Art Center. It was a free account for all students. I used it somewhat here and there, but due to the amount of work that we had as students, I don't think a lot of people really got around to utilizing it. And then, just a few months ago - well not even a few months ago, it was sometime late last year - a friend of mine had said that there is this, it was like a rumor that was going around, and apparently was free with a public library card. And I looked into it, and sure enough it was. And I started going on there, saving videos, watching hours upon hours of videos - like I can't even tell you how many thousands of hours of videos I've watched - but I have learned so many things that I did not even know while I was at Art Center. Like, didn't I didn't learn, I realized I didn't learn all that much while I was at Art Center in terms of technique and skill sets. But once I had an adequate amount of time to spend to going on as of recently, and acquiring these new skills it's been hugely beneficial for me, and for saving time, just working more efficiently. It's been fantastic, so that's been one of the main ways and I highly recommend other designers look into it and see how they feel about it. Like you know, certain people just don't really like watching videos, learning from videos but it's been hugely beneficial for me, and I'm sure that other people would find it beneficial as well.
As a co-host and producer of shesaidso, how has being on the radio given you a chance to get your voice and perspective out to the world? What benefits has this brought?
Being on L.A. radio has been a huge learning experience, not only because I never had radio experience prior to helping start this show for, but also because working with a group of other women has just been incredibly fulfilling - challenging, for sure, it's had its challenges - but it's been so fulfilling. The challenges don't even really correlate with how fulfilling it has been to do this show. And it's been an incredible experience, to be able to connect with other people in the industry and outside of the industry, to be able to have conversations - in-depth conversations - with people that are really paving the way for equality and diversity within the entertainment industry at large. And that's also really been the benefit of doing this show, and I'm hoping that as we continue that it just keeps flourishing as time goes on.
How would you like your work with shesaidso and your design career to intersect? How are you navigating the two career paths?
Ever since I got involved with helping start L.A. radio, I've realized that outside of my career as a designer and creative director, that radio is this other avenue that I found I'm just as passionate about and that brings me just as much joy. So ideally, moving forward, as time goes on and we continue to develop the show, I really hope that it becomes more and more a part of my life. Or if I find something on a full time basis within radio, that would be amazing, and then be able to maintain my freelance work as a designer - so that really would be the most ideal situation. I love radio, and navigating the two career paths has been interesting, because I never really thought that I would have anything else to look to, as like another source of creativity and income and stability. But since doing this show it's become a definite "yes", in terms of it being a part of my career moving forward.