Design Matters


One of my favorite podcasts to listen to is Design Matters by Debbie Millman.

I started to listen to podcasts while at work. I think the first one I ever heard was Radiolab after a friend suggested it to me. It was so addicting. I went through all their episodes pretty quickly. The use of sound/music coupled with the amazing stories would transport me to a cool space in my head where I could do my work, which wasn’t very creative, while also feeling like I was in a creative place.

Later on, another friend recommended Tim Ferriss’ show to me. Tim interviews people from athletes to authors who are super achievers and asks them questions which helps to shed some light on how they ended up where they are now. I wanted to be just as successful and efficient as those people but after a year or so, I was burnt out. I felt stuck in my own life and listening to their achievements made me feel bad about myself. I wasn’t happy designing apartment buildings and I didn’t want to admit it to myself. I felt a lot of shame for being unhappy.

One day I wanted to switch it up a bit, so I searched for design related podcasts on Itunes. Design Matters popped up and I began listening. Debbie Millman, the show’s host, speaks in such a calm and caring way that that alone made me feel good. I listened to a lot of episodes in a short time. I got introduced many people that I’d never heard of before like Steven Heller, Maira Kalman, Jessica Hische, and Lisa Congdon to name a few. And then I excitedly run into people I did recognize like Massimo Vignelli, Alain de Botton, and Tim Ferriss! I felt like I’d fallen into the perfect mix of people. Super achievers and super creatives. I didn’t feel like a super achiever (I don’t think of myself as one still) but I felt like I finally found the right people to look up to. They were doing the same things I wanted to do and that was an amazing discovery for me.

I had started drawing again here and there shortly after listening to Tim’s podcast, playing with the idea that maybe I could eventually do something with my art. Listening to Debbie’s interviews with artists inspired me to create more consistently after coming home from work and it was one of the main motivators that helped me decide to pursue graphic design in New York! I’m new in this artistic/design world and I’m still finding my path, but I’m happy to be here. I’m grateful for Debbie and her wonderful show ♡


Poet's Muse

A visually stunning film that I love dearly is Sergei Parajanov's The Color of Pomegranates. It is an abstract, almost non-verbal film about the famous Armenian troubadour and poet, Sayat- Nova. Even if someone isn't familiar with Sayat-Nova or Armenia and its culture, at the very least, this film is a visual treat.

Parajanov's film inspired me to paint this watercolor piece of the Poet's Muse. I am going to have prints available of this and some other of my paintings soon <3

Check out this link for the movie.


Recently I picked up jump roping again because it's a great way for me to get my cardio in. I was a bit rusty but I began to see improvements within a week. I started adding more complicated jumps into my routine and now I'm able to do them effortlessly.

Sometimes when I'm in the backyard jumping, my mom will watch me from a window. The whole twenty minutes that I'm jumping, she'll be there. When I'm done, she'll try to to compliment me with a broken sentence and I'll quickly nod and say, "Thanks Mom but it's not a big deal." 

And then last night I realized how big of a deal it really is.

I was painting in my room and she'd come into my room and interrupt me. Without looking back I said, "Mom, not right now. I'm busy." She's kept insisting. I was becoming impatient so I turned around to deal with her. I saw that she was holding my jump rope. I asked her what she wanted and she said, "I want to do this. I want to jump." 

My mom has Parkinson's. She is usually immobile with a lot of muscular pain. She is able to walk only when she takes her pills. Jump roping was the last thing I thought she'd want to do but she was being very urgent about it so I said, "Okay, let's go."

I explained to her that she should first practice jumping without the rope. Once she got that down, she'd be able to add the rope. She agreed and put them down. I asked her to do a jump for me but she couldn't. She stood there frozen. I started jumping up and down to demonstrate and she stared at my legs in wonder. She has very little control over her limbs. I know that she wants to jump but no matter how much she commands her legs, they won't move.

Whenever I help her get up from the couch, I count down with her and that motivates her to move. I thought that might help. "3.....2.......1!" There was no jump but she moved a tiny bit. I felt like I was on the right track. I kept repeating, "3.....2.......1!" and she'd move a little more. Eventually we got a small jump in. "Let's try with the rope now!" she said. I asked her to jump a few more times so I could see that she had gotten it down. She was practicing but kept getting stuck.

I went inside and found my dad. "It breaks my heart that she wants to do this so desperately but her body is failing her," I said. We looked outside the window she usually stands by when she watches me jump. She stood there frozen. We were determined to make her jump so we went outside.

I got the rope and gave one end to my dad. I had my mom stand in the middle and we tried to teach her how to time her jumps. We were counting down together now, "3......2........1!" and we'd swing the rope over her. She wasn't able to get off the ground so the rope would hit her feet. She kept saying, "Again! Again!" After about fifteen minutes she got a jump in! She was so excited that she forgot to continue her jumps. My dad exclaimed, "You were able to complete one full jump! Let's see if we can do two in a row!" She happily answered, "Okay!"

I positioned her and told her to focus on timing it right. We failed a bunch of times but then she did it! She got two jumps in and on the third one the rope hit her feet. She was beaming. She started to laugh uncontrollably and rushed to hug me. She kissed me on the cheek and said "Thank you!" I didn't know what to say. All I could do was laugh with her in amazement. She rushed to my dad and hugged him. My dad and I were stunned. We had just witnessed something incredible.

My mom has accomplished so much in her life but I've never seen her this happy. When she passed her licensing exams after moving to the United States, she was relieved. I know she was happy to a certain degree, but she had been under a tremendous amount of stress. She was mostly glad to be done with it. This was something different. She was overjoyed. 

Don't take jumping for granted! 

Too many options isn't always a good thing ✌

A video posted by @lolokhod on

I started working on a new piece that I've had in mind for quite a while but I finally thought it was time to get it going. I'm using my new Wacom Intuous Pro tablet and it's so cool. For the last 12 years, I've used my super old Wacom tablet (the Graphire 3 - which I still love! We've been through so much together) but the Intuous Pro is just amazing. 

The idea of what I want this painting to be is so fun and awesome in my head. I get a little nervous about not being able to execute it the way I imagine it. But I'm still gonna try. The point here is to get better~