Sydney born creative Claudia Chan Shaw has a multi-faceted career as an installation artist, photo artist, curator, fashion designer, broadcaster and author.
Whether working in photography or installations, Claudia’s artwork is bold and dynamic.
And she seems to have a thing for animals! From an installation of fourteen 2.5m high glowing rabbit lanterns practicing their Tai Chi outside Sydney’s Customs House; to an 8m tower of robotic golden rats; to a life size fiberglass cow covered in oversized playing cards; to a space age robot dog; each creature is playful and quirky, created with love and a sense of humour.
Claudia Chan Shaw is represented by Art Atrium.
THE RAT LANTERN – ROBOT RATS
Nine golden wind-up Robot Rats, designed for the Sydney Lunar Festival for the Year of the Metal Rat 2020. Each glowing Rat stands 2.8m tall and features a spinning key in its back and rotating good luck symbol in its chest. The Rats are piled on a huge 8m high tower of cogs.
Their busy, curious nature provided the inspiration to present the rats as mechanical wind-up robot like creatures. But approachable robot rats! With warm engaging almond shaped eyes and appealing faces. And moving parts that give the impression that they never stop working, never stop solving problems or engaging with others. A toy robot is tireless and will keep moving and working if its key has been wound. The wind-up toy nature of the Rats reflects their busy, inquisitive, industrious nature.
Commissioned by the City of Sydney
Claudia is the Curator for the Lunar New Year at World Square Sydney, and for the Year of the Rat 2020 she designed The Ratrobats, 8 cheeky, playful acrobat Rats, inspired by the ancient art of Chinese acrobatics. Each Ratrobat is 2.5m high. From the Daredevil, hanging high above the Square at World Square, to The Juggler, who juggles blindfolded while riding a unicycle, and Mr Selfie who photo bombs visitor’s happy snaps, the Ratrobats are made from hard coat polystyrene.
During the Renaissance, private collectors roamed the world in search of the exotic, the fantastic and the bizarre. They discovered natural wonders and scientific marvels and displayed their accumulated treasures. This microcosm of the curious was often known as a Wunderkammer, or a cabinet of curiosities.
There was a need to categorise and organise the collections. A desire to create order. These collections multiplied and turned into entire rooms of displays, which morphed into the concept of the modern museum.
Claudia Chan Shaw has been a collector since childhood. She gathers, displays and arranges objects that remind her of another time. She collects memories. Ephemera, toys and trinkets that each tell their own story.
She has created her own cabinet of curiosities, and photographs treasures from her personal collection in dreamy still life photographs in her exhibition Obscuriosity. Her intimate photographs invite the viewer’s own interpretation of their meaning and history. A wind-up tin bird offers its evensong from a tree; seahorses swim through an imagined underwater world.
Childhood memories combined with the artist’s eye for the intrigue of the obscure are explored. But like any memory, sometimes the real and the imaginary blur and that is where fantasy takes over.
Obscuriosity, Art Atrium Bondi Junction 2018
THE TAI CHI BUNNIES
Created for the Sydney Chinese New Year Festival 2016, Claudia was commissioned to design The Rabbit; one of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac, brought to life as enormous lanterns located throughout Sydney during the festival.
Claudia’s 14 Tai Chi Bunnies dressed in elegant silk waistcoats, delighted visitors. One cheeky rabbit was either too shy, or too lazy to join in, and hid on the balcony of historic Customs House, watching the others exercise.
The Tai Chi Bunnies returned for the 2017 and 2018 Sydney Chinese New Year Festival, wearing brightly coloured happi coats. Eight rabbits were located at Dawes Point, against the backdrop of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Seven Rabbits then traveled north to the Gold Coast, Qld to HOTA (Home of the Arts) for the Glow Festival in 2019. The Tai Chi Bunnies are now living out their days at the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre.
14 x 2.5 metre high rabbits
Steel frame construction with fabric covering
Commissioned by the City of Sydney
Sydney Chinese New Year Festival 2016, 2017, 2018
Sydney Lunar Festival 2019
Glow Festival, HOTA Gold Coast, Qld 2019
Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Casula 2019
A continuing and evolving photographic series exploring Claudia’s fascination with the beauty to be found in urban detritus.
Every day a poster is pasted to a street wall. It has a limited window of time to attract attention and convey its message before another poster with another message is plastered on top. The second message fights for exposure until it suffers the same fate, when anonymous hands strip the posters away or paste over them, leaving only a weathered and tattered visual hint of what came before. It is what is left that fascinates artist and designer Claudia Chan Shaw. It is the surviving, accidental abstract abbreviation, the fragments and patterns that this urban detritus creates that is central to her exhibition, Poster Boy, which explores the beauty in this disintegration process of accidental layering and the stripping away messages. The Poster Boy series was photographed in the streets of Paris, Barcelona, Sydney, and Melbourne. The series is ongoing.
The Poster Boy photographs are archival Giclée prints on Hahnemühle photo rag paper 62.5 x 41.5cm
Contact Claudia if you would like to purchase a piece or two from the Poster Boy series
Poster Boy, Art Atrium at Jones Bay Wharf, 2017
Poster Boy, part of the Head On Photo Festival 2016 at Art Atrium, 2016
Poster Boy NG Art Gallery, 2012
Claudia was invited to create an artwork for How Much is That Doggie? This fund raising exhibition for Guide Dogs NSW saw classic money collection dogs turned into artworks by local artists and auctioned by Sothebys. Claudia’s artwork was entitled Spot Tronic. The money collection dog with the familiar coin slot in its head was reworked as a Robot Dog with mixed media.
Fibreglass and mixed media Guide Dog
Commissioned by Guide Dogs NSW, 2004
Claudia was invited to create an artwork for the Cow Parade in Sydney. Cow Parade is an international public art exhibit that has featured in major cities around the world. Fibreglass sculptures of cows were decorated by local artists, and distributed around the city centre. After the exhibition the cows were auctioned with proceeds donated to children’s charities.
Claudia’s artwork was entitled Queens Cownsel. The life size cow was covered in oversized Queen of Hearts playing cards, with a “QC” brand on its rump. The cow wore a judge’s wig and diamante buckles on its hooves.
Fibreglass and mixed media
Commissioned for the Cow Parade, 2002