Stavroula Adameitis, Artist & Designer

Oh Stavroula, could we love you more!? This interview is a delight - jam packed with wisdom, honesty and her one-of-a-kind sense of humour. It's the perfect balance of integrity and razzle-dazzle.

What do you do?

I create images of pop culture ephemera with a deliciously 80s and 90s Oztralian twist, design and hand-make OTT statement accessories and compulsively lurk in every single Chemist Warehouse lookin’ for bargains.

Do you have a maxim that you live and work by?

I have three! “Aint nuttin’ to it but to do it”, care of Snoop Dogg/Lion. “You only exist in what you do” thanks to Federico Fellini and “Time doesn’t change things; you actually have to change them yourself” by Andy Warhol.

What are the three milestones that have led you to where you stand?

If I’m being honest with myself, relocating to Sydney was a big deal. In 2010, I was offered an opportunity to work in animation and couldn’t resist the move from Adelaide to Sydney – an unfortunate cliché for so many young South Australians. Nothing could have prepared me for the fragmented sense of home, family and personal identity that’s all part of the physical comedy that is moving cities, but I grew a second skin and immediately loved Sydney in all its overpriced-renting, prawn shumai-slinging glory. This may have had something to do with meeting my husband Angus, possibly the greatest milestone in my life for so many reasons, but mainly because he is a big cheeseball – and I wholeheartedly believe cheeseballs make the best partners-in-crime.

Not to be a Debbie Downer, but I also count a couple of negative experiences as having been important personal milestones, which have equally shaped my vision of how I want to positively impact the world. In the past, I put my trust and energy into people that taxed both my energy and creativity, against my intuition. Now I can spot certain behaviours a mile away and act accordingly. Ultimately, these experiences have forced me to become more resolute in turning negatives into positives.

What projects do you have in the pipeline?

Currently, I’m working on a body of work for a solo show, the opening titles of a TV series and generally pushing myself to consistently produce work outside the noise of freelance gigs. I secretly harbour plans to create a signature fragrance that smells like the upside-down cupcake dolls from childhood and start an old school Aussie fish ‘n’ chip shop food truck to take my love of seafood extender to the masses.

What is your dream project?

Not taking the current media landscape into accord, I dream of directing a feature-length movie. It has to be a teen film set in gloriously daggy suburban Australia, told from the warts-and-all perspective of a female protagonist, with the occasional burst into song a la Jacques Demy musicals of the 1960s. Coming-of-age stories are so important for teenagers’ personal development and sense of identity; there is literally nothing on big screens that addresses this audience anymore. Snapchat is right there to fill that void, which I think is a dang shame. Where would the women of my generation be without ’10 Things I Hate About You’, ‘Now And Then’ and ‘The Hairy Bird’? I’d love to make the defining teen movie of the future that shows young people it’s OK to feel the things they feel during that stage of life.

What’s something surprising about you that we might not know?

When I was 15, I drew a picture of Dana Carvey as Garth from ‘Wayne’s World’ and sent it to his agent, along with a sappy letter explaining how I got his sense of humour and if-he-wanted-to-visit-Australia-I-would-100%-show-him-around. Surprisingly, I never heard back.

If you could choose to hear from any female contemporary at a Make Nice event, who would it be and why?

Tavi Gevinson. She is the walking embodiment of brains, brauns, sensitivity and honesty. I think what she’s doing in the media space is super interesting and impressive. Through Rookie, Tavi has fostered an environment for teenagers to connect and share their interests in an incredibly meaningful and positive medium. I’ve heard her speak in the past, and the inspiration & wisdom that woman possesses is nothing short of witchy.

How can we find our more about your work?

My Instagram is my primary platform of sharing new work – I see it as a travelling art gallery of sorts and way to meet like-minded people – which you can find at @fridalasvegas.

My website is www.fridalasvegas.com and I barely use Facebook for work because THAT is a time and energy black hole, if there ever was one.

Who would you most like to answer these questions next?

Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney.

What is the best advice you’ve been given, or wish you had been told sooner?

I wish I’d never (foolishly) believed that going to university and studying humanities was an automatic entry ticket into both a career and a paying job. If I had a Delorean, I’d go back in time and tell myself to start working at the bottom immediately after high school, learning under the tutorage of a wizened mentor and inhaling as many hands-on skills as possible, rather than studying obtuse concepts at University. Sure, my hard-earned two pieces of paper were fun to achieve – although ridiculously overpriced – but they have never directly translated into career opportunities. Up-skilling and flexibility is where it’s at in the Economy of the Future.

Do you have a supportive female network in your field? Was it always this way?

YES. I feel extremely grateful that throughout both the stages of my life and random career meanderings, incredible women have always been there to make the journey amazing. These angels know who they are and how much I love and appreciate them for all the D&Ms, dumplings and dancefloor sessions we’ve shared together. It’s worth noting that I’m also lucky to have a lot of supporting male friends in my circle, who are the PR campaign of the century for the XY chromosome!

Can you share a creative experience that you have found defining?

Watching George Michael’s ‘Too Funky’ video clip as a five year old was my defining fashion moment wherein I decided swanning around in white ostrich feathers a la Linda Evangelista was the ultimate expression of glamour.

What are you listening to, reading, watching of late, that is inspiring or entertaining you?

I’m binge-listening to ‘You Must Remember This’, a well-researched and performed podcast by LA film critic Karina Longworth, which exposes the deep, dark, forgotten tales of actors, directors, films and movie studios from the first half of the 20th century. The ‘Charles’ Manson’s Hollywood’ episodes are 100% frightening mp3 genius.

What is one facet of your field that you want to see change?

Pay rate. Women have been taught from a young age to feel bad about asking for ‘more’ when it comes to basically everything. Maybe this is because asking for something you don’t have falls outside the jurisdiction of appreciating what you do have, which is something women are subconsciously taught by our families/culture/society/everyone is the ‘right’ way for a ‘real’ woman to behave. If women don’t put a value on themselves and their skills in the workplace, why should anyone else? I think the solution is rooted in confidence – a scarce commodity in this world, given the socio-political economy puts A LOT of time, effort and money into making sure confidence is something women don’t have, in order to sell more body lotion, Spanx and Restylane. If I ever have a daughter, she’s going to learn the art of negotiation from a young age and never feel apologetic for putting a decent price on the skills, experience and ‘soft capital’ (personality, humour) she has to offer the workplace.  

What do you want to be asked about that no one ever asks you?

Astrology!