On the eve of Daimon Downey’s solo exhibition “Shapes imagined from decisions made in solitude,” he talks to us about his body of work (which we love) that he has been creating over the past year at his Bondi Beach studio. Looking out, looking in. As Downey says, if you’ve got an itch, you’ve got to scratch it.
How did this exhibition transpire?
“Apart from an absolute obsession with having to create, it all came down to time and a new abundance of time. After having opened a restaurant in the CBD that took up every thinking minute, then having to close that restaurant due to circumstances beyond my control, my life became free, free from moving parts and drama and therefor free to create again. So I retreated to the studio and began working toward a new show, not knowing where or when it would be shown… and here it is, a year later.”
Who are your biggest influences, and what were you inspired by for this particular body of work?
“All the masters of colour and balance, from hard edge like Ellsworth Kelly, Mondrian, and Matisse, then the brilliant madness of Rothko, Howard Hodgkin, Twombly and Miró. People who’s trust in the mark was so strong and proud, that although they were braking every rule in the book, their trust in themselves have given rise to a new movement; freedom to express. For the viewer there became the freedom of interpretation. This body is inspired by the freedom to express through aesthetic balance and love of colour.”
How has growing up in Bellingen influenced your work?
“Bellingen oh Bellingen you beautiful thing! Nature and nurture in equal parts. I was born me but that little town has shaped all of us lucky enough to lived in it’s care free cuddle. That whole community forged my path to understand that creativity in all form is of great importance. I could only imagine what was going through my parents’ minds when they stumbled across that town in 1979… they had found paradise! Thanks Mum and Dad.”
Where does the emphasis on balance come from?
“Definitely not from a OCD point of view….more a escape for the eye, a retreat from all the crazy and a mindfulness of pleasure.”
How do you reach the ‘solitude’ you refer to when you describe the works as ‘shapes imagined from decisions made in solitude’?
“Solitude is referring to the time spent in a studio. Painting is a very solo journey and painting expressionistic works without subject is all about shapes totally imagined. Unlike other outlets painting has no sounding board or testing ground, it is a series of decisions made in solitude and therefore very raw… these are literally a feeling connected to an aesthetic.”
After owning a bar and working as a singer, what/who led you to pursue art?
“I left school early to pursue studying fine arts, film and photography and after three years of that I moved to sydney all bright eyed with a suitcase filled with pastels and paints. Music was 14 years of the greatest funniest wildest accidental diversion ever. It was not my ultimate calling but i’m very grateful, I saw a great deal of things I could have only dreamed of ever seeing, All the great galleries of all the great cities plus everything in between and this gave me reference and content. I am back in the drivers seat of an old car called art and it’s moving fast and I love it!!!”
Would you consider yourself a bit of a hippie/sunshine maker…?
“Hey, I wear a few hats but they’re all sprinkled with the good vibes…”
Your Bondi studio appears to be a point of interest for a lot of people… Especially when we Google you. What is it about this space that’s so important to you? The light, the view?
“The studio is a home studio on Campbell Parade in Bondi Beach, with a perfect view of the ocean, large windows and polished floorboard that now resemble a Jackson Pollock. There is light, there is air and there is more importantly a cocktail bar below me in the building that deliver! I think the interest comes from everyone’s curiosity of artist’s studios. Generally they are filled with colour and activity and give a glimpse into the madness of anyone crazy enough to pursuit this.”
If you hadn’t started making art, what would your next creative move have been? What’s your next goal, or project you are working on?
“It was never an option but I have had a dabble with ceramics lately and it’s becoming an itch that needs to be scratched…but really the answer to what would my next move have been?Answer… EVERYTHING! I’m the least binary person ever so as long as it deals with imagination then I’ll take a bite out of any apple. Current projects: NYD event at Raes at Wategos Byron Bay, large scale paintings for a Melbourne show and jumping back on the mic for a few Queensland shows.”
Interview by Clem Macleod
Daimon Downey will be showing his solo exhibition of 70 paintings, sculptures and ceramics at Yellow House Gallery, Potts Point for three days 9th – 11th November 2017.