Meet the Maker | Chrysa Koukoura
Just over six months ago we came across Chrysa Koukoura's Instagram page and we have been hooked ever since! Chrysa combines her life experiences together with her unique style of art to bring us a beautiful range of artwork, prints and gift cards. We're really excited to share her story with you, and feel particularly sentimental about it as Chrysa's products were the first to hit our shelves to become part of the P+P family.
Tell us about yourself and how you came to be the maker and owner of your creative business. What inspired you to be where you are now?
I left London just under four years ago now to move to Melbourne; I had been working on and off as a graphic designer there, alongside a lot of travel and having a good time, as you do in your early twenties! My aim in Melbourne was to turn my illustration work from part-time to my full-time career. I saved in Greece for a year living with my family to move here, and once I was here, I began, worked my arse off to get myself off the ground, get my work seen and recognised. Luckily things have gone pretty well and I'm still doing it today! Inspiration to get me where I am now, was to be happy enjoying my working routine. The thought of working in a job I hated, even if it provided me stability terrified me.
'Fish & Bones' artwork by Chrysa Koukoura - Photo by Peddle + Potter
How long have you been working in this role and what do you love about it?
I’ve been drawing and selling my work for around 5 years now, I’d say around 2 and a half years doing it full-time. I love the freedom working for myself gives me (I’m the best boss ever)! I also love completing commissions or drawings that have taken forever, it's super satisfying.
Tell us about your daily routine i.e. where is your business based, do you work within a team or individually, within an office or studio space?
Ha, routine is a hard one, it’s very here and there. I'll usually take Monday and Tuesday off, and work the rest of the week. Weekends usually being at a design market selling my work. I was working from a studio in Collingwood in Melbourne but have just very recently moved up to the Northern Rivers in NSW, and am still on the hunt for a new studio.
What I’ll be doing varies a lot! I could be working on drawings or commissions, preparing prints to sell at design markets, stores or online, sourcing displays for events and markets, driving 8 hours to get to them, doing the odd workshop, completing interviews like this, trying to keep on top of my Instagram account - The list goes on; as with most small creative businesses, I am a one man show so I get to do a bit of everything, which I do enjoy!
Chrysa at work on an art-deco inspired piece - Photo provided by Chrysa Koukoura
What is the inspiration for your product range and what would be your favourite item in the collection?
My inspiration comes from all over the place; my work varies a lot, having drawn anatomical drawings of animals, to detailed geometrical patterns, to art deco-esque drawings.
I am still loving black and gold foil so now that we are in the new year and the chaos of Christmas is over I am going to be getting my head down and drawing. I feel it's going to still be very art-deco inspired, but with elements of psychedelic 60’s band posters - but without the crazy colours. Keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram to see where it all ends up!
At P+P we feel very passionate about supporting other local designers and makers in all aspects of their business. What is one piece of advice you would give other creatives when considering their own start up?
Patience is key!
Passion is key!
Don’t make it look like everyone else's, keep it yours!
What was the biggest challenge that you came across when starting your creative business and how did you overcome this hurdle?Cash flow was and still is a problem. I’m still trying to overcome this! I think every year I learn from the previous as to how to manage my own money. It's far more difficult that I thought, probably because all I want to do is buy nice things instead of saving it. Also getting my work into independent stores is a challenge - either they have too many prints, don't have room to display or don't have budget left - but patience and subtle persistence go along way!
There are so many beautiful Australian made products being released at the moment. Are there any particular designers, product collections or bloggers that you love and why?
I love the work of artists Stephen Baker and Dane Lovett. Also loving work of designers, Fazeek Home-wares, especially her baskets, and my gorgeous new leather purse by Sarah Van Oosterom. While frequenting the market scene in Melbourne, I loved Mari Thamer, who makes semi precious stone necklaces better than the rest, and Cavarra Jewellery for all the gorgeous trinkets she uses. All based in Melbourne!
Are there any creatives that you would love to collaborate with and why?I’d love to collaborate with someone to turn my art-deco drawings into lush silk scarves. Something that's hopefully in the pipeline!
What exciting things are you working on at the moment and what are your aspirations for 2017?
2017 is the year of the pen - well for me anyway! I want to draw, draw some more, and then some. Produce lots of new work, maybe do my second art fair and see where this year goes! I'm looking forward to it!
Chrysa in her studio - Photo provided by Chrysa Koukoura