Friday, April 20, 2007

inaluxe ... Australia

Artist: Kristina Sostarko
Business: inaluxe
Web site: and
Location: Melbourne, Australia

What do you make?
I started inaluxe with dresses primarily, but I've recently incorporated pillows and art work into the range. This is a natural progression for me, as I found I could not seperate my painting and graphic design background from the production process. I wanted to explore working with paper, paint, screenprints and rare fabrics. I'm currently exploring cushion/pillow covers, small art works, and clothing.

Where and when do you do your creative work?
I work most days of the week in my studio. I love the history of the studio. It's an old shop front that used to be a ice cream soda shop for many years. It became abandoned and empty for a good ten years before it came up for lease again and I now share it with my mother, who lives in the lovely residence in the back of the studio. It's close to home and situated in a quiet residential street. Very pretty, and peacefully quiet.

Do you have another "day job" separate to your art?

I used to teach part time, and before that I was a recruitment consultant full time. I made a decision about eight months ago to dedicate my time solely to inaluxe, so at the moment this is my full-time job, although that may change with going back to study part time.

Where and what did you study?
I've had four years of full-time study in art and design. I'm multi-disciplined in terms of the subjects that were covered – including painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, graphic design, fashion design, ceramics, art history, life drawing, print making. My major study was in painting, which is my first love really, but I find all the knowledge acquired throughout the years has been invaulable to me – particularly today.

What inspires you and what motivates you?

What motivates me? That's a hard one. It isn't tangible, it's an inner maddening desire and need to create. When I'm making something, I feel like I'm at home, or I've come home. It's a deeply personal space to be in, and that's where I'm happiest. I guess you could say it's a need, rather than a want.

In terms of what inspires me… I see things every day that inspire me: small buttons, surface textures on graffiti, city streets and lanes, people, books, music, fabrics. Life in general. My partner Jason, who is a writer and artist, inspires me in all manner of ways and I'm constantly inspired by other artists and designers. I have a great respect for artists.

When did you start doing this?
I started inaluxe in October of 2006.

When and why did you decide to start your own business?
I've been wanting to do it for years, but everyone is always so quick to tell you why you won't make it as an artist that you finally get to the point where you're too afraid to. It took my a good ten years to finally start believing and thinking 'maybe' it could work. Maybe I could make a living doing this. It really started to take shape in 2006 when I was teaching a sewing class for two days a week. I started to (naturally) work with the students and create, and in so doing, started to believe in myself once again.

What do you love most about creating?
I love the excitement of an "idea". It's that early stage. It's the limitless potential that exists in the planning process. I also love seeing things come to life. Sometimes I am quite amazed at the final product because I get so wrapped up in the "making it" part that I seriously don't think about how it will turn out. I love that the final product surprises me – it's such a wonderful experience, and amazing really.

What's the most fascinating place you've been?
I think for me Croatia was the most amazing. I've been there three times – when I was six, twelve, and again when I was thirteen. My fondest memories are possibly of my first visit, and experiencing the contrast of the wide open fields, farms, animals and architecture. It was so different to living in the city. A fascinating place that I would love to see again is the Passau River, in Germany. Magical.

A book you love:
I've always been rather partial to anything written by Milan Kundera, and I adore Dorothy Hewitt's work. I love her poetry in particularly. They have a deeply sensual quality and sharpness to it that I find quite alluring and breath taking. I don't really have a favourite book as such, although I guess books like Alice In Wonderland and The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe did something for me as a child. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak affected me deeply – I fell in love with his monsters instantly, and wanted one of my own! Such gorgeous illustrations – truly a legend!

What is the most interesting thing about you?
A hard question to be sure. I could say my loud laugh, or the fact that I make more mess working than anyone else I know yet can do the most detailed intricate work while making this mess, but I think maybe the most interesting thing (for me) is growing up in a Croatian household in Australia, reconciling the two (vastly different) cultures and enjoying that mix of both worlds as an adult. There were some teething problems as an adolescent, but these things all add to an interesting life, and self-awareness as a grown up – not that I've necessarily grown up yet!

What achievement are you most proud of?

For me, it is having the guts to follow my dreams, no matter how silly or futile others may have thought them to be. I did exceptionally well in school and aced it all over the place, so there was always this pressure to 'succeed' or live up to that honestly freaked me out. what if I fail, what if this, what if that, etc. As a woman I was also confronted with the pressure to get married, have children, get a mortgage, grow up and be responsible. Cook well, seven days a week! Ha ha. I think the struggle to succeed as an artist can be too confronting for many. So I think for me, my greatest achievement is in being true to my nature, and finally going for it – after many years of denial. Life is too short for the "what ifs".

What advice would you give women starting their own business?
Just do it! If you have a burning desire or idea that just keeps niggling away at you, start doing it. Don't do what I did and place invisible obstacles in your path. There is no such thing as "can't do" and you will make good decisions and bad decisions along the way, but this is life, and why not just try something rather than thinking about it. Ultimately, believe in your ability to succeed and grow. Be kind to yourself, be proud of your achievements, no matter how small you think they might be – every achievement in the right direction is a GREAT one!

What's the biggest challenge you face in your work?

Ohhhh.... lots of things, but nothing too ominous. It is far more pleasing to work for myself than a boss, but with that comes learning to reconcile the business side, admin work, paper work, creative process, marketing, etc. I'm all things and it's just me. Time management has been a big learning curve, although not altogether an unpleasant one. Managing the inconsistent cash flow has been another. Each challenge is another opportunity to learn something – this has been a really big year for me, and I have learnt a lot – through the good, and more so, difficult times. so, even the challenges and bad days prove positive.

What do you love to do in your free time?
I love to paint. I love movies, lying around in bed reading magazines, going to the beach, dreaming of what sort of dog I'd like to buy, spending time with loved ones, and friends, going on holidays (for sure, anytime!) sitting in the backyard in the evening drinking wine with my partner, the little things make me happy.

What are you working on right now?

I'm buying some screen-printing materials, and starting work on a new range of fabric designs exclusive to inaluxe. I'm excited about the screen printing as it can be applied to art work, clothing, dress fabrics, silks, and pillow covers... so much to look forward to. I'm hoping to have the new range in my Etsy shop by mid May.

What do you hope to achieve next?
World domination! ha ha ha. No... well, maybe it wouldn't be so bad with an artist and woman, rather than the politicians we are stuck with? Slightly more realistic aspirations include the screen-printing range in the not too distant future. Beyond this.... who knows. I am sure this will open up a whole new series of work, which is a lot to look forward to. I'm also looking into wholesale. I currently only sell inaluxe online at Etsy, which is such a great site, but I need to get my range out there in a physical form so that people can walk into shops and touch it and see it in the flesh. There's a lot of work to do.


  1. What a great feature/interview/presentation of another artist. Awsome. Really awsome.

  2. What a great read! Thanks so much for sharing all this wonderful information about your life and dreams Kristina! Here's to the courageous!