Australia as a country is isolated from the rest of the world.
Because of this, the “Land Down Under” has always taken a little longer to catch on to whatever is the wave in pop culture. This is especially true before household Internet was a thing and pre-smartphone. It was also a place where anything with an “import” sticker on it, also came with a hefty import fee. From CDs to movies to games people paid way more in Australia than any other place. But in consideration of the four elements of Hip-Hop (Djaying, rap, dancing and graffiti), some imports were more valuable than others. Which one? You guessed it – paint.
For over two decades graffiti artists in Australia had to cough up the money or make do with whatever they had. Seems to be an almost impossible challenge… but it was not. They make do with what was available and they did it very well. They created their own industry to support their own graph culture. They did so by starting spray can shops.
Starting an aerosol paint company seems like such a hefty task that it didn’t register as an option to anyone, anyone except Levi Ramsey that is.
In 2002, Levi decided that enough was enough when it came to $17 cans of paint and decided to jump in the deep end. It took 2 years of study, meetings, knockbacks, more study, more meetings, more knockbacks and so on for Levi and his brother Heath to get a can on the shelf.
Now, around 15 years later, Ironak is one of the premier brands around the world, made by writers for writers.
Having successfully expanding into the United States, Asia and now Europe the company has spent over a decade putting in the research and development for several product lines such as “Lak” gloss acrylic, “Sugar” the worlds first water and alcohol hybrid based acrylic, the thick covering and built to last “Yard Master,” the large “Reload” high pressure gloss, the all-weather black and white “Tar” paint and the budget “Kolour” line in 16 basic colors but that is far from all.
With the flagship line boasting around 150 colors and ever-evolving, the fine people from the Ironlak ideas room have also added pens, textas, copics, charcoals, paint pens, sketchbooks, gloves, watercolour pencils, clothing and even a craft beer collaboration to their repertoire.
The thing about Ironlak isn’t just the product. It’s the culture and community that they have managed to help cultivate over the years. The business has helped several artists make the leap from misguided vandal (not that there is anything wrong with that) to a respectable artist. One of the main tools for this was the video “Limitless” that featured the artwork of Sofles, Fintan Magee, Treas and Quench with the time lapse camera work of Selina Miles which resulted in a viral video with over 12 million views and probably the same amount of jaws dropped around the world.
As mentioned earlier, their latest venture is a partnership with Australian craft beer company East 9th Brewing, in which the guys at Ironlak have helped narrow down the exact Pantone color match for beer to be patented in the same vein as “Cadbury Purple” or “Jay-Z Blue.” Curating collaborations between artists of various mediums over several continents, Team Ironlak is really pushing boundaries and creating new levels of standards for graffiti worldwide.