Tell us a bit about yourself?
My name's Kristina Sostarko, and I live in Melbourne, Australia with my partner Jason, and our three year old furry child: a chihuahua x called Kibikibi. I love the bush and beach, and not so much the city. Which is odd because I live smack bang in the middle of it - almost. I love the smell of rain in the country, the gum leaves, wet earth, the beach in winter, music, alternative, and avant garde cinema, interior design, collecting vintage goodies, and making things!
Can you explain your craft/art and the material you like to use? I'm currently focusing on three areas of work - illustration, design, and painting. I mostly work in gouache on paper, but love canvas and linen for it's texture, and softness. The process of creating is usually started with a small idea, and as I work in a more or less intuitive style, I never know what the end result will be until it's finished.
Where do you get your inspiration and what is your creative process? Inspiration comes from a need to make better, fix, see something realised, explore, challenge, and learn. I don't conciously draw on any one particular era, medium or place, but in general terms I have a fondness for design, architecture, interior, pattern, wallpaper, vintage book covers, films, etc. I remember the first time I saw Blue Velvet by David Lynch. I was 16 years old, and it blew me away. I realised at that moment that the world was wider, and bigger than I'd been led to believe, and that interesting things do come from the day to day mundane we are at times overwhelmed with. Rules are meant to be broken, or pushed. It was like coming home, and realising that I didn't have to settle with being just OK at something, I could push myself, and perhaps, I'd be pleasantly surprised with what I could achieve.
How long have you been creating and how did you get into craft/art? I started painting and drawing when I was about two feet tall. Ha ha ha. I was addicted to I Dream Of Jeannie, at the age of eight, and just drew her over and over. I drew everyday. It's always been part of my life. I went to art school as soon as I was legally allowed (at the age of sixteen) and I've never looked back. I wanted to be a fashion designer in my teens, but discovered painting and graphic design, and well, now I'm just a bit of a mix of all these things. Not one thing in particular, but a lovely chaos of all three instead. :) I love working with textiles as much as paper and canvas, but Rome was not built in a day.
How did you come up with your business name? My partner helped me with it. It's a combination of my name, and my love for the word 'lux' which I think sounds and looks beautiful. The letter 'x' is such a sweet thing!
What resources 'have or do you' use to help your creative pursuits (i.e. groups, classes, shops, websites etc)?
Art school really set me up in terms of learning how to work with different materials, and that training has been exceptionally helpful. It also gave me a certain confidence to just pick things up and run with an idea. If I want to try something new, like getting my art printed onto fabric, I generally use websites, look things up in yellow pages (how old fashioned) speak with other artists who work with that particular medium etc. I did a bronze casting sculpture course at a local foundry a few years ago, and absolutely loved it.
What's your best advice for someone starting up? I believe that passion is paramount. Make what you want to see, want to wear, sit on, be surrounded by. Look to your own voice, push your ideas, explore, expand, and if it's all going pear shaped, don't give up, mistakes will happen, That's the nature of life. If your one and only attempt at painting is a catastrophe, that's no reason to throw your brushes out - that's part of learning. Have fun. I know all of this must sound silly, but it is the single most important thing I could share.
Do you have any advertising/promotion tips for sellers to be successful?
I think in a world where hand made is becoming a little more commonplace, and there are so many incredible things out there to see and buy, look at how unique your product is. The more unique your product, the less you will have to work at promoting it. It will in essence promote itself. I've only just taken out a paid advert on craftcult.com. First one since 2006 which is when I started inaluxe. I'm curious to see how it goes. I can't really share much in terms of advertising and promoting as I sort of suck at it, but I did find that my blog has been really wonderful for meeting lots of people (you can read my blog here). It wasn't intended as a promotional tool, but the more people know about you, the better.
Can you share any lessons that you have learned the hard way? I think the hardest lesson I learnt was making sure I had enough money to live on while I worked on inaluxe. I tried inaluxe full time back in 2007 and it was a catastrophe. We were so poor, it was crunch time, so I went to work on a casual basis. I'm now doing this full time again (three years later) but so much happier, and I've covered myself this time around! Biggest lesson for me.
What do you like to do besides creating? Garden design, textile design, painting on silk, planting vegetables, and herbs. Interior decoration, window shopping for extravagent books, op shopping, travel, movies, walks, and well, sometimes I will sit down and read, but that's rare. We are going to buy bikes this year and go on long rides (together with a basket for the kibikibi to sit in) in the country. And I'm also looking forward to some re-decorating.
What is your favourite music, television show, film, book, website? Music - Jazz, krautrock, 1960's - 1970's psychaedelic, yacht rock, sunshine pop. Television - 30 Rock, Grand Designs, Around the World in 80 Gardens, The IT Crowd, Costa's Garden. Film - Lost In Translation, To Kill A Mockingbird, Tie Me Up Tie Me Down, Blue Velvet, and about 100 more. Book - design, architecture, and art books. Website - I don't have a favourite website. I have lots of websites I like, but not a favourite as such.
What would be your perfect day?
Sitting in the garden under a giant gum tree in hysterical fits of laughter with my partner about something silly. It's the little things that are big things! There are of course, lots of scenarios, but it's joy, laughter and being with the one you love that makes everyday special. Of course, I could say a day in Paris, or Amsterdam, or Berlin, or the Croatian coast, and that would be true too.
Who is one of your favourite madeit seller, explain why in less than 10 words? Gretchenmist – fresh, warm, zesty, unique