There aren’t enough words in the world to describe the sky high levels of inspiration, creativity and general good vibes Claudio Kirac brings to the Gold Coast (but please, read on and you’ll get the gist).
He’s an artist, photographer and designer who has travelled the world to make magic with some of the biggest brands out there but, lucky for us, he calls our golden shores home. Over the last few years he’s worked closely with HOTA, Bleach* Festival and Festival 2018, to name a few, but his most recent project is a little closer to home.
We sat down for a chat with the absolute legend that is CK about his agency Art-Work’s epic new creative space and why the Gold Coast has become a well-oiled arts and culture machine.
How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I have been on the GC for most of my life, was not born here, but definitely consider myself a die-hard local.
What do you love most about our beautiful city?
The small country town feel with some of the luxuries of a big city. The GC’s connection to nature is one of our most valuable assets and a definite game changer when it comes to quality of life and enjoying where you live.
Tell us your exciting news…
Our agency, Art-Work (AW) has climbed some big mountains in the past few years, from the strength of our collaborators to our internal creative and business mindset, you could say we are growing. With growth comes challenge and change, and your daydreams eventually manifest into something that is greater than you could possibly imagine. So, we have combined all our experience and knowledge, dipped our big toe in, and are creating a physical home for Art-Work, a multi purpose space for Design and Dreaming, right in the growing creative hub of Cronulla and Karen in Mermaid Beach
What will you have going on in the new space?
Our new creative space, the AW World HQ, will be our daily go-to for all of our creative production. It’s a blank canvas of sorts that we can use to experiment, play and grow ideas for the years to come – business in the front and dancing in the back. On a daily basis it will serve as our design office, with space to do photography and video production, contemporary art and creative consultation, with a vision to host exhibitions, industry gatherings and workshops from time to time – the space will be by appointment only, but you are welcome to drop by with coffee, tacos or wine anytime.
Tell us about your career journey so far, where did you start and how did you end up here?
I have always lived and loved art, from a 15 year history working in the surf industry, to jumping out on our own with Art-Work to work on the projects we love, it has been such an inspiring journey. I started AW with my long-term colleague and friend Paul Bow almost seven years ago now, from humble beginnings to trailblazing new territories; we are the perfect blend of creativity and commerce. My wife Laura Strange has brought such a new light to what we do across digital, design and strategy, that I find myself learning new things every day, which is one thing that we, as humans and designers, should never stop doing.
No doubt there have been many highlights, what are some favourite career moments?
The ultimate highlight is everyday when I pinch myself and am grateful for being able to be creative and get paid for it, also travels to far away lands of sunshine and snow and the memories and friendships we create along the way are experiences you will never forget.
Where do you find inspiration as such a creative guy?
I used to devour a lot of print collateral – still do, but much less – AW has an amazing design library BTW. I have to sometimes force myself to look beyond the pages of Pinterest, as it is veritable minefield of collated, curated craziness! These days a calm mind, a jump in the ocean and good verbal download helps to put things into perspective.
What are your thoughts on the Coast’s growing arts and culture scene?
The arts and culture scene on the GC is now a well oiled machine, compared to where we used to be five, 10 even 15 years ago now, the term ‘Cultural Wasteland’ never even entered my mind, although it’s taken a long and winding road to get to where we are now. With independent galleries through to HOTA and ongoing support from government infrastructure, I feel it is now at the perfect place to go next level and be taken seriously, with a community of talented creative hearts and minds to help tell the story.
What else would you like to see happen?
For artists and designers to stay here and embrace the ride.
What’s the plan for the rest of 2018?
We have had ridden a crazy wave this year, all the way from the beginning with HOTA, Bleach* and Festival 2018 through to working on creative content with our favourite locals at Dwell Store. Now over the hump with launching our new space and embracing the neighbourhood vibes we have some super exciting projects on the horizon across photography, video, brand and mural work to round out the year, but not before Laura and I head to the USA for a month long road trip of culture, food and good times!
Best piece of life advice you’ve ever received?
Wait for the moment, but do it now.
Favourites on the Coast:
Beach: From Cooly to the Spit, there’s nowhere like it on this planet!
Cafe: I’d have to throw my favourite Mermaid Beach locals in the hat, the best from All-Time, Hula Girl, Le Cafe Gourmand and Door 50 – you can’t go wrong
Restaurant: LUPO, Itoshin, Harry’s and Justin Lane for the cross section of good local cuisine
How does your weekend usually look? Up for the early or sleep in, depending on what’s on the cards, walk to get coffee and start from there. We sometimes work on Sunday because it doesn’t always feel like work. I like to cook, catch up with family and friends, reset and plan for the week ahead. A good schedule makes for a productive week, so the weekend is the time to reflect and refocus.