The newly redeveloped Pac Fair may not be the first place that comes to mind for artists looking for venues to display their art, but Kit and Ace, the recently opened Canadian lux ‘technical fabric’ clothing store at the mega shopping centre, is supporting local artists by featuring their work in store for three to six months at a time. The global program is part of the company’s engagement with, and support of local communities, and as such, Kit and Ace does not take any commission for any artwork sold. Full sale proceeds go to the artist. Kit and Ace is owned by the wife and son of the controversial billionaire founder of Lululemon, Dennis ‘Chip’ Wilson. The culture of localisation of the brand is part of Kit and Ace just as it is for Lululemon.
The current featured wall artist is Claudio Kirac who has four paintings on display which will be in store until the end of this year. Claudio has been living on the Gold Coast since 1984 when he worked with his family in building and construction. He started the Undergold Art Collective 10 years ago as a platform for artists to collaborate on pop-up events, shows and exhibitions. “We actually built Elsewhere nightclub and were involved with the murals and the fit out. We had our first show in Main Beach then one at Elsewhere. That kind of propelled us in the underground art movement. We’ve moved on. Amber has moved overseas, Christian Halford is still around doing his contemporary art, and Beau moved to New York and has since passed away.”
Claudio worked at Billabong for 13 years as creative director and photographer. For the past five years he has had the creative consulting business, Art-Work Agency with business partner, Paul Bow, and partner in life, Laura Strange.
The largest painting in the Kit and Ace exhibition is The Book of Love with three smaller paintings titled We You Me to support it. “All the paintings are an extension of my style which is colourful abstract. I do work in portraiture as well and still life, but much more in abstract, collage etc. Laura and I are getting married so this exhibition is an expression of our love and how our art intertwines our love and everything we do together. These paintings came very easily to me. They were very much an outpouring of love and emotion.”
The bright colours have been an evolving theme in Claudio’s work coming from a collage, street art and graffiti background “Always a low-brow flavour fitting into a high-brow world”, he says. “I did a show at St Thomas Studio on Chevron Island about three or four years ago and this style has been evolving since then.”
Claudio’s painting style is in stark contrast to his commercial photography, a large proportion of which is of the ‘Chicks in bikinis’ genre. Happily laughing off the term, he says “That came from having to forge a career within design, image making and that sort of thing. When I started, we didn’t have the luxury of Instagram to promote ourselves. I just pretty much had to fight tooth and nail to have a career for 20 years first working with surfers, then landscape, then chicks in bikinis. So that would become the commercial aspect of Art-Work agency.” 35mm photography is also an art form that Claudio is pursuing in the form of street art and travel captured in singular moments. In fact, he has done a series on the redevelopment of Pacific Fair and says “It’s very auspicious that we are now in Pacific Fair with this exhibition showing positive change. My Hello Sunshine exhibition at Dust Temple documented the demolition of dreams and good times at Pac Fair. Hopefully we can keep the aspect of the fun of the fair at the new development and not get too serious.”
Claudio Kirac’s paintings will be exhibited at Kit and Ace, Pacific Fair until the end of 2016.
He is represented by Anthea Polson Art.