LOVE SICK WITH NIKITA MARGARITA
Posted on October 20 2017
name: Nikita Margarita
star sign: Cancer
ig alias: @doodadandfandango
LH: Nikki, thank you so much for inviting me into your home!
NM: Kee Kee thanks for coming! Please call again!
LH: Tell me what it’s like to live in the suburbs of Sydney? I’m about to move out west myself.
NM: Well I LOVE it! It’s not that far out, just enough so I get to live in a big gorgeous house with enough room for my studio, my dog and my monster laser machine. And there’s quite a few gays in the village which is fine.
LH: I remember seeing your coconut bags years ago, can you tell us how that evolved into perspex accessories?
NM: I studied Jewellery and Object Design and was trained as a silversmith, so jewellery was always my main obsession…but I love ALL accessories equally! I had been exhibiting for years making jewellery and tableware (like teapots!) and coconut handbags, all different types of things. I really really loved working with silver and gold and had invested many dollars and time setting up a studio to work with metal but I found it was very hard to sell the kinds of crazy pieces I liked making and they were so time consuming. In the school I went to costume jewellery and materials like Perspex weren’t given much respect, I was basically trained to be a conceptual contemporary artist, so it took a while for me to shake shake shake off the shackles of that and let my true self speak in the adorable language of Plastique Fantastique. Perspex is more immediate a material, it’s colourful and shiny and makes me happy. (Also it’s recyclable). I like that I can design something and make it that very day, and have it ready to ship out tomorrow. I like to be fast and get onto the next awesome thing.
LH: You draw your inspiration from everything! What’s your favourite piece?
NM: Don’t make me choose – argh! I love my tribal-ish pieces a lot.
LH: I adore your “Cunt” earrings, have you received any positive/negative feedback from them?
NM: Only my mum who expressed concern when I photoshopped a pair onto Pauline Hanson. She’s not a supporter or anything; she was worried about potential litigation :)
People have told me that they have had interesting conversations with members of the public, but mostly positive. The design is subtle, and being made of Avon lady beige means they can easily go under the radar.
LH: There’s a definite message in your jewellery of girl power & inclusiveness, how did you come to voice this through perspex?
NM: Well I have a platform so I have to use it! There are so many issues I feel strongly about and I waiver all the time with how to express them while still just maintaining the business side of things. I am a bit older than you so I grew up in a slightly different time, with rampant slut shaming and sexism etc and I love how the dominant paradigm is now being scrutinised and ripped apart by awesome smart women, like, hello Clementine Ford I love you!
LH: What does feminism mean to you?
NM: It means equality of the sexes, and that’s pretty much it. How anyone could have an issue with that I just don’t understand.
LH: You’ve made tampon earrings, how do you feel about taxes on female hygiene products?
NM: Oh come on! It’s farking ridiculous!
LH: Do you have an opinion on female body hair & how the media tries to shame us for being natural?
NM: I remember sneakily shaving my legs when I was about 12 or 13 because that’s what all the girls and Dolly magazine said to do, and my mum told that me I’d regret it, and that once you start you can’t ever stop. And for once I think she was right haha! I wish I’d never started in on that business. Why oh why have we been hoodwinked into believing that hairlessness is the norm and any hairiness an instant turn off ? BTW, I’ve never been an armpit shaver, I just don’t like the look or feel of that chicken flesh looking shaved armpit thing, ooh, it grosses me out. But each to their own. I’ve also never been into the Brazilian thing, gimme some au naturale bush, not a monstrous forest, but a nice bit of topiary.
Basically there needs to be more hairy visibility so it’s normalised.
LH: You’ve been with your partner Charlie for over 10 years; tell me how you’re feeling about same sex marriage in Australia.
NM: The level of shame I feel about Australia’s stance on same sex marriage is akin to my disgust with how we treat asylum seekers. It is so backward and ridiculous and horrible, all of those nasty ass politicians standing in the way of it should be ashamed of themselves.
LH: What impact to you think same sex marriage would mean to you and what do you think it could do for the community?
NM: Well it’s dignity, it’s equality, and it’s fairness.
For me personally it would mean I could finally marry my girlfriend of 13 years and have a kickass wedding. I wish it had happened ten years ago when I was more photogenic, so every year that it’s not happening means potentially less great photos of me.
People (straight) have asked me why we don’t just have a commitment ceremony, but I ask them, why don’t YOU just have a commitment ceremony you fucker? No, you wouldn’t bother, would you? Cos that’s a load of BS.
There’s also a shitload of $$ to be made in the wedding industry which would be great for local businesses.
LH: Our favourite thing to talk about together is running a business, how has this shit show of 2016 treated you and D+F?
NM: It’s been great, I am LOVING the journey of starting my own business. It’s so much hard work, but I have discovered that I am a workaholic and so that’s fine. I’m happy to have found a client base of fabulous customers who like my stuff AND commission me to make them crazy things. It’s AWESOME!
LH: What are some of the epic highs of business and what are the struggles you’ve faced?
NM: The struggles are often internal, like IN MY MIND! Sometimes I can give myself a hard time, because I don’t always feel like I am taken seriously or have credibility. I don’t win things, or make anyone’s cool list; I am often faced with rejection with things I go after (like ALL THE TIME!!!).
And I feel like all I do is work work work – like I am the hardest working babe in the biz!
BUT I have to remember to take stock and be grateful. I’m doing what I love. I have been trying for the past ten years to get a job that would make me feel useful, that would satisfy me, actually require me to use more than 5% of my brain. That never happened, so I’ve created it for and by myself, which makes me feel incredibly proud. All of that other stuff is pure ego crap; at the end of the day it’s about loving what I do and establishing a business with (hopefully) longevity.
LH: You own your own laser cutter, which I think is incredible that everything D+F is made in house (literally). How did you learn this skill?
NM: I bought a laser machine nearly 2 years ago and the company I bought it from gave me a day’s training and I was off!
It’s not the hardest thing to use; however there are frequent technical problems that occur with it that drive me insane and have reduced me to tears on a few occasions. The conditions are not glamorous, it’s dirty work but I enjoy making things with my hands and problem solving and experimenting. Doing all of my own manufacturing gives me total control.
LH: Coming from making things by hand, how do you feel about fast fashion?
NM: It’s shit, I hate it, it’s changed the way everybody views and treats their possessions but I am as guilty as anyone else when it comes to occasionally popping into a chain store cos I need a cheap pair of pants. I am usually more of a vintage shopper anyway, I love the quality and fabrics of older garments.
I worry about the environmental impact that all of this abundance of cheap stuff is having on the planet.
Of course there are the disgusting conditions of workers in overseas factories that horrify me.
It would be great if we could go back to a time where maybe we had to pay more for things but they were made beautifully and lasted for years. I can get quite nostalgic when I start thinking about this…. Even the op shops are full of shit these days. It makes me sad.
LH: How do you think we can educate more people on shopping locally & supporting businesses built on ethics?
NM: I do think there is a move towards this, but I think that the fact that you don’t really KNOW the processes involved in manufacturing something makes it hard for people to know what they are buying. Maybe there needs to be really clear and pedantic labelling on EVERYTHING, like the lists of ingredients on food, that tells you exactly how it was manufactured, how much energy was spent making it, how much waste was produced, what factory it was made in etc etc
LH: Do you have anything exciting coming up for D+F?
NM: I’m going down to Tasmania to sell doodads at MONA FOMA in January, which is great!
I’m in discussion with a couple of different local artists about potential collaborations (my favourite thing!).
LH: I had the best time hanging out at your place! Thank you so much for having me. xx
NM: Don’t be a stranger Kee Kee!