Kitiya Palaskas is a craft-based designer with a love for colour and pattern, and creating playful and tactile objects and experiences. We chat to her about her favourite ways to escape; from hiding in the art room at lunch as an angsty teen, to staycations for much needed downtime.
We love all things colourful and bright that you create, what motivates you to do what you do?
Thank you! My style is inspired by all sorts of different things - colours, patterns, old signs, kitschy memorabilia, desserts, music, crazy amazing things found in nature.. I could go on. But in general I am motivated by a fierce desire to share my creative vision with the world and be able to make a living from it too! I feel like every creative person should be able to pursue their passion AND make a living from it if they want, and that we shouldn't have to settle for it being simply a hobby. It's definitely a harder path than some other careers but creativity is a gift and we are so lucky to have it, so we should embrace it in every way we can. I can't imagine doing anything else, and so why should I? It's this somewhat indignant sentiment that drives me and keeps me going through all the ups and downs that come with trying to forge my own career path.
Were you brought up in a creative environment growing up? Does this influence your work in any way?
My family is quite creative in their own different ways, but I think as a kid I just gravitated towards creative things because I was quite nerdy and could sometimes be shy. I felt intimidated by things like sports and outdoorsy activities, so felt much happier and comfortable reading or doing crafts. I went to an American international high school, which was very segregated socially - total jocks vs nerds type mentality. Creativity became a real outlet for me to express all my angsty teen goth feelings and so I totally embraced it! Our art teacher let us hang out in the art room whenever we wanted, so me and my friends formed this kind of misfit gang of art nerds and we would sit around at lunch time listening to sad metal songs and make stuff, most of which looked like something out of a Tim Burton movie. As you can imagine, teen goths have a LOT of feelings, and looking back on my high school art projects is so hilarious. It's all so dark and angsty, which is funny considering everything I make now is bright and colourful. I think the fact that I was a bit of an outcast in school made me fiercely independent, and that vibe has definitely carried over into my current life in terms of having ambition and a drive to succeed on this relatively niche career path that I have chosen.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
I have received so much valuable advice over the years from all sorts of places - clever friends, other designers, books and podcasts. If I was to give anyone advice it would probably be to work hard, don't be afraid to make mistakes, support your peers, stay true to your own style no matter what, and get off the internet!
Are you a morning or night person? Do you have any rituals to maximise this time of productivity and, in turn, make the most of your down time?
I would love to say I am a morning person - because when I do start the day early I absolutely love it and am always so productive. But lately I have been staying up way too late and then hitting that snooze button until the absolute last second in the morning. I guess it goes in waves! On an ideal day I'll wake up early, do some meditation, then make myself a coffee and breakfast and have a bit of quiet time reading or hanging with my cat. Then I'll get ready and start the day. I used to work non-stop and feel guilty if I didn't, but that leads to burn out which is never good. But now I am quite strict and schedule bits of down time throughout my week to see friends, cook a yummy feast, do my laundry, or just chill. This plan does tend to go out the window if I'm on a really hectic deadline but I always try to give myself a few days off after things like that to regroup.
How do you like to escape?
I love to go on road trips with my boyfriend and friends, whether it be a full weekend away, or just a day trip. I like getting out into nature in winter, but in summer I need to be in the ocean all the time, so we head to the Mornington Peninsula a lot. Staycations are also fun - picking a new place in your own city to explore is a great way to escape without having to leave town. When I don't have time to physically escape I like to set aside an evening where I'll have a long hot shower, wash my hair with some kind of fancy aromatherapy potion, light some essential oils, get into a freshly made bed and get stuck into a book for a few hours. I never seem to find enough time to just sit and read books anymore so this always feels really indulgent for me.
You always have lots of projects, workshops and collaborations on the go, what’s next?
I am working on a few client projects at the moment that I'm quite excited about, and am participating in a group exhibition called Spring Time at RVCA gallery in September. I am also speaking at 2 conferences coming up (MakeitMadeit in Newcastle and Craft & Design as a Career at Craft Victoria here in Melbourne) so have to somehow prepare for that which is nerve wracking because I'm scared of public speaking! There's a few other things on the go too, like developing some new products and making a new website - I don't like to be idle so there's always something going on!