Claudio Kirac: the Australian Manaissance

Generally, art is associated with stuffy, sombre museums and galleries. It is considered by many to be the domain of the hoity-toity and the elite. The distance between art and a new audience seems vast. But really, art and design is in our everyday living. We are surrounded by it. Art and design play an immense role in our life – we simply don’t realise it. Art and design create a massive impact on our state of minds to soothe and inspire us.

Queensland’s Calvin Klein paradigm in fashion, design and art is Claudio Kirac. CK has his artistic finger in every pie, as a professional artist, illustrator, painter, photographer and graphic designer. He is a counsel and mentor in the fashion and music industries as a brand builder, with works published in a plethora of magazines, including inspirational travel photographs revealing the lives of surfers, beaches and the women along for the ride. He injects his personality and love for the beach, surf and skating into his artwork, seeing these passions integrate into the perfect career as the Creative Director for Billabong for 13 years. A glut of successful art shows later and the author of two self-published books under his smock, CK is also the sessional photography lecturer at Design College Australia, making the commute from the Gold Coast to keep his surfing, skating and artistic lifestyle.

He brings his valuable life experience and personality to DCA, having made his artistic passions work for him. In the lead up to DCA’s Open Day this weekend, MYCITYLIFE sits down with this Australian Manaissance; this self-proclaimed Australian modern-day renaissance man to chat art and popular culture in today’s world and analogue epicness.

Art and popular culture has its place in society. How do you merge art and popular culture in your artwork? How do you stamp this onto your lifestyle and where do you see this in Brisbane and the GC?
Art and Popular Culture for me have always gone hand in hand from whenever I could pick up a pencil so to speak. Having always had an interest in illustration and cartooning growing up through to applying these to design and my contemporary arts practice, I endeavour to create a style within my Art and Design work, yet consistently work across numerous modalities and mediums. In Brisbane and the GC, we have strong roots in skateboarding and surfing and through these, by moulding them with fashion, music and now culinary culture, we are the perfect blank canvas for our own sense of expression.

What are the contributing factors that have allowed you to have the personality that you do in your artwork?
Persistence and Personality. Talent will not get you there alone.

You’re an artist with your head in the clouds and your feet on the ground. What are your dreams and aspirations, and how do you want to see these applied in the Queensland lifestyle? 
The word is ‘lifestyle’, with the advancements in connectivity and remote working, we can live in the most beautiful place on earth and still be connected to, and bring, world-class results, as I sit here typing this from a cafe surrounded by fresh produce and sunshine, you would not want to be anywhere else in the world. All of these positive aspects of our lifestyle are contributing factors to the work that we can produce. 

How important is art to society? How can we make it important and relevant?
We need art to stay sane, or insane, but definitely to stay inspired! Without design, we cannot drive. Try merging or turning in peak hour without the help of design and infrastructure.

Where is Design College’s place in Brisbane?
DCA, is located within Fortitude Valley, and with a very long track record and amazing facilities, they are delivering very up to date and real-world learning across Visual Communication, Digital Design and Photography with one of the best, if not THE best collections of letterpress and wood type which is applied to students’ learning throughout their course as well as offering weekend workshops if you want to dabble in the analogue epicness.

Design College will have their open day this weekend: what can we expect on the day?
DCA’s open day will include a live studio photography demo, portfolio reviews from industry professionals, Letterpress tours and introductions to the collection of wood type at ‘The Bacon Factory’, home of ‘Strong Arm Press’ which is directly behind the college. There will also be a brief talk and intro from myself talking all things Arts and Inspiration, and of course tours and introductions of the campus for any of those wishing to enrol and study in one of the courses.

Renegade Design Markets will also be featured on this day. What is the concept of the Renegade Design Markets?
The concept for Renegade is to have current and past students of the college rub shoulders and run alongside industry professionals, to create products and sell them at an alleyway ‘popup’ style market at the college to coincide with DCA Open Day. I will be working with boutique accessories label ‘Strange Stranger’ who will be previewing her latest collection of jewellery. There will be some great things on offer and I urge anyone with an interest in Art and Design to pop along and snag a very unique bargain that you won’t find anywhere else.



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