Back in 2002, brothers Levi and Heath Ramsey sorted out the paperwork for the business that would ultimately launch Ironlak to the world. Earlier still, around 2000, Luke Shirlaw – a kid from Townsville who was working at Kmart, painting graffiti, and studying graphic design – met Levi via an internet chatroom, and kick started a friendship that would vastly alter the trajectory of many people’s lives. As Ironlak moved through its business and cultural journey, Luke would remain a constant fixture in the development of the brand. Originally designing the logo and can, and helping from the sidelines – eventually taking a full-time role as marketing/creative director.
‘Head Above Water’ is a photography exhibition celebrating the highs and lows of 15 years of Ironlak, as witnessed through the lens of Luke’s camera. It’s a story of art, graffiti, and friendship – but also one of both freedom and struggle. The title speaks to the constant grind of life and business.
Luke explains; “From travelling in China, we often speak of the need to ‘flow like water’ – to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances and keep cool under pressure. You know, ‘when life gives you lemons, you paint that shit gold’. Given how turbulent business life can be – especially in pursuing an idea that you care deeply about – it can be easy to feel like you’re always only just keeping your head above. Treading water, and getting nowhere. This show reflects how far we’ve come, the impact that we’ve made, and those who have shared in the journey with us. It really has been an amazing ride. ‘Head Above Water’ is still a mantra of persistence, but has evolved today to remind me to rise above the chaos, appreciate the achievements so far, and enjoy each day as it comes.”
The exhibition also marks a new beginning, as Luke moves on from Ironlak to focus on his own creative marketing practice. This is the start of what was…
‘Head Above Water’ continues until Sunday, 15 October, at Ironlak Art & Design Brisbane.
Lower ground, 62 Queen Street Mall, Brisbane City.
Our friendship with Luke started in 2008, when Luke and Levi travelled through Europe for Ironlak business. Over the years we have worked with Luke on various projects and we have come to know him as a great guy, true to himself and others and very talented. We are sure he will continue to flow like water and reach new heights as he moves on to focus on his own creative marketing practice.
As a tribute to our friendship we have selected a few images of projects we have worked on together. Big up!
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