Tuesday 23 February 2010

show & tell - kristina sostarko

Welcome everyone to the first Australian Blogger feature! I'm so very happy today to introduce the first of my interviewees - the talented Kristina Sostarko of Inaluxe! I came across Kristina's work very recently and loved her designs. But I'll leave it to Kristina to tell us more about herself and show us some work. You'll love her mix of favourite artists and what her mother called her working style! Please make her very welcome!

Kristina Sostarko

Short description of your blog/style/work

My work would best be described as traditional painting or illustration. I use brushes and gouache mostly. I love that technology allows me to scan and reproduce my work, and turn them into prints, cards, posters, etc. I seem to have several styles, which used to bother me, as everyone tells you to find your 'one' style. Apparently as an illustrator you need a 'style' which I'm still trying to understand - with no real success.

Lately, I seem to remember a conversation I had with my painting teacher telling me how he and my graphics teacher said I would have a quandary on my hands as I showed an aptitude for both graphics and painting. I didn't really understand what they meant all those years ago, but I do now. I have now made a decision that it's OK to not have one style, and there is room for all my multiple (art) personalities.

1. Why blog? How did you start?

I started blogging about three years ago, and I can't for the life of me recall what exactly motivated me, but I think it would easily have been looking at other people's blogs, and thinking 'Wow, that looks like so much fun!'

Initially my blog was a way for me to share what I was doing with my Etsy shop customers, and people who were interested in my work, but pretty quickly I realised there is a whole amazing blog community out there. Now I love to look, read, chat, and have a laugh with other people. I also find (on a personal note) documenting my work does help me greatly in stepping away from it, or looking at it through a different light. If that makes sense. It really is an online journal of sorts. It helps me stay focused, and connected too - especially if I'm tired, and can't be bothered. I just think "No, get on with it, and keep things going..." It's a wonderful motivator. I love all the people out there in blogland too. They are what really makes it all worthwhile.

2. Family taught/Self-taught/Trained?

I have formal art training to thank for my manic approach and madness to creating. I really loved art school. It was like coming home, and that life before the age of sixteen was really meaningless. Maybe a little melodramatic there! Seriously, it provided me the opportunity to learn different techinques, and approaches very fast.

3. Workspace - studio or kitchen table?
I have a studio. It's lovely, but it's usually an absolute mess. I also use the dining room table, and the kitchen table. I have art work in the study too, next to the scanner. My mother came round recently and she said I'm like a chicken - scattering things all over the place. I don't think anyone has ever described me so perfectly before. Ha ha!

Ironically, I am very aesthetically motivated, and I do need order in my home, and I'm fussy about what lives here. Our home, and my studio are an eclectic mix of old and new, there isn't one look, or one decade, it's all over the shop, and sometimes I just look at it all, and I desperatley feel the need for a giant vacuum to come and suck it all out into the backyard so I can start again. Deep down I'm a minimalist. Approaching each corner as if it were a canvas, looking at every room through my invisible/built in viewfinder. I think the house, like my art work, and my studio will always be a 'work in progress' and that's OK.

4. Blog/Shop name, where does it come from?
My partner thought of it years ago. "ina" - are the last three letters from my name, and the "luxe" is from my love of The Cramps, and in this instance 'Lux Interior' (who sadly passed away more recently).

5. Favourite medium to work in?
At the moment I would say paint. Gouache mostly. Although I love oil more and more , and acrylic is fun, and highly practical. I love a good paper, and have found super smooth papers work best for scanning my art work, and there's nothing quite as satisfying as a stretched canvas. I am also really getting back into fabric, with a particular love of linen, and embroidery.
Another thing, I'm now addicted to Giclee prints. I get mine professionally printed in Melbourne, and I love the way they come out - so beautiful - the tactile aspect of the paper and colours is definitely addictive!

6. Ambitions/future directions/future projects/medium you'd like to try?
I really need to do some embroidery work soon. I'm already having fantasies about it - daily! In terms of other ambitions, I guess growing the inaluxe card and postcard range and moving into more wholesale is definately something I'm working on now. I'd love to have my cards, and some of my art work printed in letterpress, and am working on getting this happening in the next six months.

I sometimes think about textiles, but I'm trying to keep it simple and do at least one thing right, rather than ten things kind of maybe not quite right, or even horribly. :)

7. Are you neat and organised or, ahem, creatively messy?
Messy. But organised. I get very fixated in the moment, and I also get very excited. I am thankful we have floorboards, as I don't know the meaning of 'newspaper' or preparation when it comes to painting. Why prepare when you could actually just be doing?! that's my philosophy, and I stand by it!

8. Favourite handmade item you own?
I have so many. But I think one of my all time favourites is this vase I bought in an op-shop about 7 years ago. It makes me think of abstract expressionism - makes me think of the 1950's. I like the tactile, and textured aspect of it, the shape, how heavy it is, and the minimal black and cream. It's awesome, and I don't know who made it. If anyone sees this, and knows who made it, I'd love to know.

Favourite handmade items and Kibikibi, Kristina and partner's two year old Chihuahua x. "She's a goof-ball, and cracks us up constantly."

9. Favourite food/recipe?
I love fresh yummy things from the garden. Salads, organic fresh bread, and I love home made vegetarian lasagne. I make a pretty mean baked ricotta cheesecake with blueberries, and my partner makes this crazy Jamie Oliver foccacia bread with little cherry tomatoes, oilives, and feta cheese squished in before baking. It's heaven. All of that said - coffee is by far my favourite food. Made properly, it's very ooohhh ahhhh worthy.

10. Favourite colour?
At the moment it is shades of aqua, turquoise, and mint.

11. Star sign?

12. Favourite place, landscape (not necessarily Australian)?
The rural beach anywhere, and I just love Europe. I spent six months living there when I was 14, and I'll never forget it. It is where I sometimes think I'd like to move to, but what country, and where exactly, I don't know. Either Europe, or some lovely Australian rural beach property. Complete with huge old gumtrees.

13. Any tricks for juggling life/work/family with creative pursuits?
I haven't sorted this one out yet. It's tricky. I do find it easier if I stop going off into tangents and wanting to create 10 different new things at once. But it's easier said than done.

14. Favourite artists?
There are so many, literally hundreds, but going back from the early days - Paul Klee, Emil Nolde, Jasper Johns, Davida Allen, Alberto Giacometti, Henry Moore, Grace Cossington Smith, Mark Rothko, Sean Scully, Joan Miro, Amedeo Modigliani, and I must say Frank Lloyd Wright hit the nail on the head with architecture.

15. Three words to describe you?
passionate, idealistic, manic

16. What do you like to do besides creating?
Interior design - moving furniture around, changing rooms, gardening, and growing organic vegetables and herbs. I love going to the beach, and getting away. But I only like quiet beaches - winter time is the best. Watching great films, sleeping in, trying new things, making plans, op-shopping, moving, changing, etc.


  1. oh, what a lovely person inaluxe is! he he he. Thanks so much Susie - you're a real treasure, and I could not be any more flattered than I feel right now. It's lovely, and I'm chuffed and smiling. xo

    P.s Reading that I realised I invented a new word - 'oilives' (he he) makes more sense than olives, seeing as they are kind of on the oily side! LOL.

  2. Wow thanks for this Susie. What an inspiring interview - I might now be Kristina's newest follower. Her work and style are very appealing. I especially liked the bit, "why prepare when you could be doing"! Think I might need this on a post it note above my sewing table ;)

  3. Really enjoyed this interview - thanks so much! Looking forward to the next one. Nic

  4. Great interview. I think Kristina's a fabulous groover and this was just so interesting to learn more about the way she works and her influences :) Lovely idea Susie! Kx

    p.s. Leo hmm? ;)

  5. Great to get to know another creative! All the best with your lovely new series!

  6. Kristina is a very cool artist + a sweet person! her studio looks like heaven.
    {just noticed: panties and had to laugh!}
    you have a lovely blog too :)

  7. really great interview- encore!

  8. Kristina rocks! She's so talented, funny and quite an humble artist!her foxes are simply amazing! Congratulations:)

  9. haha.. the panties pic is actually my birthday prezzie from K. and inspired by a t-shirt we banned ourselves from making.. so funny to see it online, outside of our home!

    I love this blogworld, so many people interconnecting.


  10. Great interview! Thanks for featuring such an amazing artist; I'm inspired!

  11. Lovely interview! Thanks for introducing me to Kristina and her work. (This feature is a great idea, I'm looking forward to the next one already.)

  12. Hey these interview thingies are fab! And gorgeous, gorgeous (did you hear me?) GORGEOUS work.

  13. Fantastic ! Love the artist, love this blog.

    Big hurray from the Netherlands!


  14. Your work is very cool and the whole blog is very intersting thanks for share this.
    Its to be fun.
    Elles Studio Wholesale Australia


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