This is a reprint of my interview for VoyageLA in July, 2019.
Today we’d like to introduce you to Alexey Staroselets.
— Thanks for sharing your story with us Alexey. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My life journey had started in Saint-Petersburg, Russia, where I was born in the late 80s. My father was an electronic engineer and a music lover – I remember myself at the age of 4 sitting on the floor, listening to my dad’s vinyl records of The Beatles, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, gazing at these beautiful album covers and studying every inch of them. I was also publishing my own scrapbook magazine, writing and recording audio plays, printing business cards on a typewriter, and playing with other things. When I was in the first grade, dad has built up a computer from parts and taught me how to code simple games, animations and other fun things. There was no such word as design in our late-Soviet era, so only years after I realized that it was exactly what I loved to do in my early childhood.
Before I realized that I want to be a designer, I’ve had an exciting path of education, thanks to my mother. I’ve played piano, studied English, learned Internet technologies, Higher Mathematics and ended up getting a Masters Degree in Management. An interest in advertising and PR led me to my first job at a joint US-Russian software company, where I started as sort of a marketing manager assistant. I used to work in marketing and advertising agencies, also had my first entrepreneurship experience. After years of self-education I went fully into Graphic & Web Design freelancing to work for all the clients that I’ve had so far. Some of them were US companies with Russian overseas offices and I gradually started to think about a bigger step in my life.
Years later, I got married and my wonderful spouse became my partner on our mutual journey to the New World. Recently I’ve graduated from UCLA Extension Design Communication Arts Certificate Program and here I am.
— Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It’s obvious now that my path was never straight, but I could always get into a new fields pretty fast. From the time perspective I must say that everything that I was doing led me to where I am now. That was not a smooth ride, but it was fun and worth following it.
The main struggle is always to get out of your previous state of mind and keep going forward, evolving and changing the perspective. I’ve always believed that the self-improvement is the hardest labor. This includes both cultural and professional education indeed.
— We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I do branding for musicians, new businesses, and start-ups mostly. The most exciting part of designer’s profession is the ability to learn new things and work with clients of all sorts.
I guess what makes me stand out is my passion to experiment and mix things together. I also have a deep interest in Typography and Calligraphy. Through studying the Medieval hand scripts I develop new fonts and enrich my graphic design experience. I used to volunteer for the Getty Museum, which is famous for it’s great collections of manuscripts, and even was lucky to run a Gothic calligraphy workshop for the design studio, which was a pleasant experience.
Besides that, I’m a member of TypeThursday LA, a community of typography enthusiasts, which is important to me not only because it’s a great place to show your works and get critiques, but also because it helps to build new connections between passionate professionals and give birth to exciting projects.
To me it is important to take a deeper look into a problem, get to the very essence of it. I enjoy breaking the status quo and questioning dogmas. What if it’s wrong? Why not doing it in a different way? Who said that it’s not possible? Questions like that help me to move on, stay awake and curious.
— Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Los Angeles is a colorful microcosm of friendly, talented, and open-minded people. Unless you’re on the intersection of Sunset and Highland at rush hour. It’s a perfect place for artists, designers, truth-seekers, groundbreakers, and visionaries. A place where your dreams will come true if you have a realistic plan and ready to put your best effort into it. One should stay focused and have a set of achievable goals to get through the entity of Los Angeles which sometimes can be very delusive, but I believe that’s how it works: there’s no magic without hard labor.
Of course, LA has its problems, like every other big city. But there’s nothing that this community can’t overcome – we just need to learn how to collaborate more efficiently. I think it’s an exciting and challenging daily task for every designer – to look for ways on how the world around you can be improved, how it can become a better place for everyone. It’s all about communication, which every form of art actually is.