IN CONVERSATION WITH: KARINA JAMBRAK, FOR ADAIRS
Karina Jambrak draws inspiration from the natural environment, creating whimsical artwork in pastel tones. For her recent (and second) collaboration with Adairs, Karina’s artwork is featured in homewares pieces including organic cotton bedlinen, accessories, lighting, serving-ware and bone china, all inspired by the beauty of flora in wintertime in Australia. We chatted to Karina about the collaboration and more.
[TLSE] Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
[Karina] I grew up in Sydney’s east. After completing high school I sold paintings at Bondi markets and studied a Bachelor of Design at UNSW College of Fine Arts Campus in Paddington, majoring in textile and graphic design. I started my career in fashion graphics and then moved into branding, web and POS design, and eventually moved into digital marketing graphics. I also always made and sold things at local markets and owned my own furniture and homewares business for a few years.
How did you get into art and creating?
I can’t remember a time where I wasn’t painting or drawing. As a kid mum put me in every art class you could think of. I've always loved creating - I’m drawn to it. It's my therapy and something that I can’t live without doing.
What is the story behind starting your business?
In 2018 my life was quite literally turned upside down. My husband found out he had to undergo urgent open heart surgery to replace his aorta as it was at a very high risk of splitting, and a few months later, while he was still recovering, I was made redundant from my job that I loved and was completely committed to. My situation felt so hopeless. With no income coming in from either of us and two very young children to look after, I reached a very low point mentally and emotionally. I struggled to find a part-time job that met our needs as a family and fulfilled my creative aspirations. Out of desperation at the end of 2018, I wrote out a business plan and started drawing … I quite literally had nothing to lose and everything to gain. I implemented everything I’d learnt from my previous jobs and started my own illustration business.
What is your medium of choice?
I love working with Copic markers. As a mum I’m super time poor so even though I love painting, it takes up more time to get the colours right, and more time to set up and pack away! Markers are quick, effective, controlled and I can achieve detailing that's a lot harder to achieve with paints.
Besides creating art, what other activities/things do you like to spend your time doing?
I love travelling, going on road trips and exploring new places with my family. The beach is my happy place – there’s nothing better than sunshine and salt water. I could stare into rock pools all day every day. To me there’s nothing better.
Sustainability is very important to you, why is this and how do you ensure your art is sustainably produced?
All of my works are made to order in a small printing studio here in NSW. There is no waste and my artworks are printed using archival inks so they will last for 100 years if taken care of. I'm also very conscious of the packaging my work is displayed in. At the moment I'm working on new packaging for my art that will be completely recyclable.
Is there any advice you’d like to give to aspiring artists or designers out there?
Never say no to any opportunities that present themselves, you can learn something from every situation. Trust your gut. Trust in the journey. Stay true to your vision.
This is your second collaboration with Adairs, how does this collection differ from the first?
This collection is quite different to the first. I love this collection so much. I think I went into it being a little more confident in my capabilities and my vision, and I think that shows in the products. I’m so happy with the way they turned out. The colours are slightly different from the first collection, where they represent the colour palette of the Australian winter landscape. We’ve also added more to the collection including bone china serving-ware, a printed robe, floor cushions, floor lamps and more!
What was the production process like during this collaboration? How did you come up with the designs and which items to create?
I love working with the Adairs product and graphics team. I always approach collaborations with my community in mind and I really take into account what I think they would love to see from me. Maybe that’s more of the designer/entrepreneur/business woman coming out in me. Since this one was a winter collection I wanted the tones in the adults range to be a lot more muted than for kids, I just can’t go past a jungle theme! My son Beau loves jungle animals so I designed this kids range with him in mind. All of his favourites are in there and I love how much he loves it!
Were there certain parts of Australia that inspired the designs for this range?
Not really a certain part, it was more the palette of the Australian winter landscape that inspired my range.
Do you have a favourite piece or pattern from the collection?
It’s so hard to choose! I love the kids jungle print. In the adult's range I love the embroidered cushions and the linen throw the most.
What has been a highlight or 'surreal' moment for you throughout this whole collaboration process?
So many highlights and surreal moments during my collaborations with Adairs; seeing my designs in stores and having my name on the labels is so crazy! And seeing big posters with my picture on them is absolutely insane. It all doesn’t even seem real, very grateful.
To explore Karina Jambrak's entire range with Adairs, click here. Happy shopping!
WORDS | Hande Renshaw
IMAGES | Courtesy of Adairs