A few weeks ago me and Spencer Harrison (aka Spenceroni) - my studio buddy of over 3 years -moved out of our shared artist warehouse in Clifton Hill into a beautiful light-filled new studio on the top floor of an old zip factory in Brunswick East. It feels so good to be slowly settling in to this awesome space, unpacking all my colourful junk, and getting back to work. We're planning on filling the entire space to the brim with plants, which is already coming along pretty well if I do say so myself! My favourite parts about the new studio are the parquetry floors, huge windows that let in heaps of warming light (excellent and highly necessary for our cold Melbourne winters!), and the large walk-in storage cupboard where I can hide all the ugly things like my hideous industrial shelving and the many "random bags" of stuff I've been intending to sort out forever but realistically never will. Here's some glimpses at the space so far!
Last weekend I hosted a paper flower workshop at Pottery Barn, Chadstone. Part of a series of similar workshops at Pottery Barn stores around the country for Mother's Day, I took participants through a few simple steps to create colourful paper petals and leaves, and together we used them to construct a variety of vibrant posies. A few behind-the-scenes shots of the original flower designs below:
It was so great to meet the many creative ladies who came through on the day, some with their mums (my own mum made an appearance too)! All ticket proceeds were donated to the McGrath Foundation to fund the work of specialist breast cancer nurses. Thanks so much to Pottery Barn for having me!
If you're interested in booking me to host a workshop as part of your next project, you can find out more and get in touch here!
I've always been inspired by capturing neighbourhood nature (faux or otherwise!) on my travels. Here's some I've spotted recently and others from the archives.
Wow, I can't believe it's May already, like how did that even happen?! Some of you may not know this about me, but this time last year I was working part-time at a university, trying to juggle a full-time freelance career alongside a 'day job'. 2017 is actually the first year that I have been 100% devoted to my design practice, having only dabbled occasionally in the full-time freelance life prior to this.
In the spirit of full transparency, as I promised would be the way I wrote these Real Talk blog posts, I have to admit that the thought of leaving the comfort of a sensible uni job with great benefits and a regular pay check was super scary. But I knew that I would never be truly satisfied unless I was doing my creative thang full time. As a lot of artists who have experienced similar lifestyles can probably attest to, having a secure day job made me kind of complacent. It was just too cushy of a situation to want to try for anything else. But, as I knew would happen eventually, I reached a breaking point and knew I needed to ditch the day job in order to be truly satisfied in my career (and life!) so I took the plunge. It's now May and despite my initial worries, I haven't starved, haven't been evicted from my home, and am somehow making this work. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised by this, but mostly I just wonder why I didn't do it sooner! I know without a doubt that this was what I am meant to be doing with my life, which feels so good.
Anyway, the reason why I'm telling this long-winded story is because this time last year I was also invited to speak at The Design Conference (formerly Analogue Digital), an inspiring creative conference and accompanying series of workshops/exhibitions/events put on once a year up in Brisbane. The conference is coming up again in a few short weeks and I just watched the video of my talk from last year. Apart from wondering despairingly if my face truly looks like that when I talk, it made me reflect on the year it's been, and how far I've come since then. My presentation at TDC was not only the first time I'd spoken in front of a huge audience (I am talking terrifyingly huge), but also one of the first times I had spoken publicly about all aspects of being a creative person, in particular all those real talk things that a lot of us may feel nervous to admit to, but that every single one of us experiences at some point in our creative journeys.
My talk at TDC 2016 actually inspired and empowered me to be more open about discussing these sorts of things, which in turn led to these Real Talk blog posts!
If you're looking for some fresh inspiration, the wisest real talk from a bunch of talented and experienced creative legends, or just a huge a kick in the ass to get motivated to chase your passion, you should definitely consider attending The Design Conference this year. It's being held from May 24 - 27 at the Brisbane Powerhouse and registrations are closing soon! Head to https://thedesignconference.com.au to find out more and book your place.
In the meantime, here's my video from last year's conference. Apart from the gut-wrenching stage fright I definitely felt empowered by sharing this talk with last year's audience, so I hope that in watching it, it gives you a little inspiration boost and perhaps empowers you to keep doing your thing!
Late last year I was commissioned by Sydney-based agency One Green Bean to create a series of DIY videos for Australia's largest supermarket chain Woolworths, in collaboration with Melbourne-based video producer On Jackson Street. The series featured three unique Halloween costume ideas for kids. I wanted to try showcasing each project using stop-motion, a format I've loved for ages and thought would be a quirky, unique way to present DIY content, especially for social media, as these videos were intended. Tatanja from On Jackson Street brought my ideas to life with her charming animation skills and I love the result! Check 'em out and maybe even consider trying some out next time you need a party costume!
Setting intentions and goals for the new year has always been important to me, especially where my design practice is concerned. Sometimes I'll have set goals I definitely want to try and achieve, and other times it's more of a wish list of stuff I'd like to happen. Either way, writing this stuff out helps to set me on a good path for the year, and motivates me to get started, especially when I'm stuck in holiday mode and all I want to do is listen to Sean Paul - Temperature whilst drinking from a coconut. I thought I'd share some of my resolutions/intentions/goals, or whatever you want to call them, in the hopes that maybe they'll inspire you to write some for yourself, or at least think about how you want your 2017 to look. Here we go!
Keep it personal
Last year I spoke at a bunch of conferences where I was asked to share insights about what it's like to be a designer. I'd seen a few talks like these, but always felt a bit disconnected from the speakers, because I felt like they mostly spoke about the ups of being a designer, and not necessarily about the downs that I know from experience are a normal part of working in the creative industry. So when I was writing my speeches for these conferences I decided to take a different angle, and share some pretty personal things about the awesome moments I've had as a designer, but also about the struggles, steep learning curves, uncertainties, fears and other tough stuff I'd been through trying to forge my career, because you know we've all been there. I was worried that I'd sound like a bit of an emo speaking about it all, and that it might be an overshare, but was pleasantly surprised when I received a positive and encouraging response from my audiences. It empowered me to be more vocal about the realities of my creative life as a way to provide people with real life advice that they could actually use on their own career journeys.
This year I'd like to keep that personal theme going, despite it being scary to talk about stuff like failures, slip ups, and embarrassing moments in this world of perfectly curated content that can sometimes make you feel that everyone but you is kicking a series of endless goals. Okay admittedly that sentence did sound a bit emo, but you are reading the blog of a former goth that used to listen to AFI and paint tears and spiderwebs on my face with black eyeliner so what do you expect! Anyway, I want to be more open and honest about my experiences, in an empowering and inspiring way, without being a Debbie Downer, so expect to see more blog posts like these this year filled with my juicy thoughts about all the elephants in all the rooms.
Make real connections
There have been times in my career (and last year it seemed to happen a lot) where I have to admit, I got mega tunnel vision and got swept up in things like follower numbers, likes per post, algorithms changing the way my posts are seen, and all that noise that comes with using social media as your main promotional (and procrastination) tool. I still find it insane that there is a whole made-up and intangible world called The Internet that has the power to permeate and affect us in our actual 3D lives. Think about it for long enough and that concept will seriously trip you out.
Anyway, things got so insane inside my tunnel that I even started to link the rise and fall of my social media numbers to how successful I felt I was in my career and even how legit of a person I was! That sounds so ridiculous but was actually a thing that happened to me and maybe has happened to you before (can I please not be the only one?!). This year I want to focus on cultivating more meaningful relationships with the actual people behind the likes and comments. I want to try and forget about the numbers, because at the end of the day that's all they are. Instead I'd like to keep making real connections with the actual people that are making the effort to support me and are doing things like posting cute encouraging messages, a series of carefully curated emojis, or a Law & Order meme that is so totally on point that I cry laugh for hours. It shouldn't matter if there are 3 or 3000 of these amazing legends out there, it should be more about the quality of the connections you make with them, online and in real life.
Get out more!
Speaking of IRL, sometimes you get so frenzied and busy that you forget that there's real people out there doing amazing things in your community, or you see it on social media but you don't have time to actually show up so you just like the post. I love being part of the creative community in Melbourne, so I want to make it more of a priority this year to attend events, exhibition openings, markets (as a punter, not as a stallholder!) and all the other awesome things that people are creating every day for me to engage with and be inspired by. Doing more of this is also another way that you can make great personal connections.
Just do you
Above all, I want to keeping trying to be as me as I can this year, which sounds obvious but is actually something you can lose sight of sometimes! I want to speak in my voice, the way I would if you or I were sitting in a room chatting (even if you were kind of zoning out because I talk way too much.) I don't want to put on a weird Kitiya Palaskas business voice or tell you things I think you want to hear, or that make me look good. I'm just gonna do me.
As part of my website upgrade I wanted to create something that showcased my design services and gave you all a bit of a behind the scenes look at my studio and day-to-day activities. I'm super stoked by the end product, a mini film shot by the talented Tatanja of On Jackson Street, and featuring me being a weirdo in various locations around my hood. Enjoy!
I recently shot this splashy photo series with my babe friend Esther for my Summer range of laser-cut acrylic accessories and am so thrilled with how it came out. I'm hanging out so hard for Summer and can't wait to wear some of these babies with my favourite hot weather outfits. They're all available in my Gift Shop now, with more new stuff to come!