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Surface Art Studio Blog

Kyrie Kohlhagen - Interview

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Kyrie means so much to Surface Art - as a friend, our model, our graphic designer and an inspiring woman. We love Kyrie's own retro stationery range Messagemark so much that we send a few of her cards with every order. We sat down (over email) with Kyrie recently to chat about her life, stationery and local favourites. Kyrie's considered responses really make me reflect on balance and self care. You can find out more about Kyrie's wellness work online or if you're in Adelaide pop in and see her cute little space (below) at Shop 5 Jetty Road, Grange. 

Messagemark is celebrating its teenage life - turning 13 - congratulations! How has the brand evolved over such a long period?

Thank you! I originally started my stationery label Messagemark back in 2003 after being diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Having a creative outlet, I knew, would be essential to my recovery.

Since then Messagemark has evolved quickly and is now available in homeware and gift stores across Australia and Europe.

Messagemark still continues to be a hobby business that gives me full creative freedom – a break-away from my day to day design, working as a brand stylist.

Your graphic style is very distinctive – it feels like a retro collage; cute and quirky with simplicity and style. Can you tell us a little about your style and inspiration?

Yes, my designs are kind of quirky and cute, and loved by the young at heart. My main inspiration comes from the colours and graphics of the 1950s & 1960s and the clean lines of Scandinavian design. With a myriad of ideas swimming around in my mind, only the most special make it to the paper.

When designing a new range, I will normally begin with a palette of 5 colours, a complimentary texture and then design 5 cohesive themed images for each design story. This distinct design formula allows Messagemark to show distinct brand style through any theme.

You wear many hats with Messagemark, company branding and kindred self. Tell us a little about your studio life and creative processes.

I have a small multi-purpose studio based by the beach in Grange, South Australia. The building is ever so cute, and I manage to use every last corner of the tiny 5x3m space. I’m also an Integrative Counsellor, and develop and sell a range products designed to nurture, balance and inspire wellness. (www.kindredself.com.au) So my little space triples as a therapy space, a shop 2 days a week and my creative studio!

I try and maintain structure in my day where I can, however wearing multiple hats can sometimes make this impossible! But I do love the variety of what I do, and my diverse workload certainly helps me to grow and extend my capabilities.

Being an Adelaide local can you share your favorite…

Time of year...

Summer. I lived in New Zealand for 10 years and the one thing that I really missed about Adelaide was our hot summer nights. I now live near the beach and during Summer my favourite thing to do is head down to the water in the evening for a swim, to spot Dolphins and watch the sun set for another day.

Place to shop... Savers! I can easily spend a few hours pursuing the racks at Savers. Second-hand shopping on steroids!! Good for the environment and bank balance too!

Place to relax... We have our own unique area at home that is a dedicated space where I can read, play board games, meditate, listen to music and stretch. This area remains clear at all times, and is a safe and nurturing place to go when I need a bit of replenishment.

Place to eat... I am lucky that across the road from my studio is The Cooks Pantry (www.thecookspantry.com.au ). The best coffee, serving a fresh, local and seasonal menu. My favourite is the Kale & Cashew Falafal.

Place to celebrate... Anywhere outside in nature is a good place to start! Fills my heart with all the good stuff, and the perfect setting for any celebration. 

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