Head on competition entry unveiled - Ken Done

David Petranker

SYDNEY, Australia

  • Artist
  • Artwork Comments 11

Artist's Description

I was luck enough to be able to shoot Ken Done for the Head on competition (national portrait prize)

Ken Done, AM (born 29 June 1940) is an Australian artist best known for his design work. His simple, brightly coloured images of Australian landmarks have adorned a very popular range of clothing and homewares sold under the “Done Design” brand.

Ken Done grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney, New South Wales, and left high school at age 14 to study at the National Art School in East Sydney between 1954 and 1959.12 At the end of this decade he travelled abroad and began working with the New York and London based advertising agency J. Walter Thompson. He returned to Sydney 1969 to follow his artistic desires. He became a full time painter in 1975.3——
Exhibitions and works
Done’s first solo exhibition was in Sydney during 1980. To date he has staged over 50 exhibitions dedicated solely to his work. Done’s work has been exhibited in Australia, Japan, and France, amongst others. His first European exhibition was held in Paris in 1996. In the year 2000 his works were exhibited in Los Angeles and in London.1

His work for the 1988 World Exposition held in Brisbane Australia, the colourful Children of the World facade for the United Nations Pavilion, and the several 6 m high alphabet letter blocks that adorned the Entrance and Exit of the Australia Pavilion are largely regarded as playing a central role in the celebration and popular culture of Bicentennial Australia and were one of the most photographed works of art at the Expo.

In 1994 the Powerhouse Museum staged a major retrospective of Done’s work

Design company
Ken Done created a design company called “Done Art and Design” with his wife Judy Done. The company started out by producing small runs of T-shirts featuring Done’s art and the garment design of his beautiful wife Judy. In 1993 the company won the Fashion Industries of Australia’s, Grand Award.

An original Ken Done work featured on the cover of the Japanese women’s magazine Hanako every week between 1989 and 1999.4

During October 1995, Done was asked to create a series of flag designs by the then Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating. Republicanism in Australia was news at the time and Done submitted sixteen designs to Ausflag, some of which he had created as early as 1981.5

He designed the official 2000 Sydney Olympics logo and was commissioned to produce a series of works for both the opening and closing ceremonies of the games.

Ken Done has long been a supporter of art in Australia especially encouraging school students through awards and sponsorships.

In 2006 he designed and created the United Buddy Bear for Australia.

The Ken Done Museum is located in The Rocks, Sydney

He became a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1988, and won the Australian father of the year award in 1989.

Done received an Order of Australia (A.M) for services to Art, Design, and Tourism in 1992.

1967 Cannes Gold Lion Award
1973 Gold and Silver A.W.A.R.D.S.
1974 D. & A.D. Awards
O.A.A.A. Award

1975 Melbourne A.D.C. Awards
1976 Caxton Award
1977 F.A.C.T.S. Award
1986 New South Wales Tourism Award
1987 Finalist, BHP Awards for the Pursuit of Excellence
1989 Father of the Year
1992 Order of Australia (A.M.) for services to Art, Design and Tourism
1993 Fashion Industries of Australia Grand Award
Mosman Citizen of the Year Rotary International Award for Excellence Spirit of Australia Award for excellence in the Australian Arts

1994 Paul Harris Fellow, Rotary International
1999 Westpac Export Heroes Award, Australian Institute of Export
Finalist, Business Asia Awards Fellow of Design Institute of Australia (Hon)

2001 Finalist, Business Star Awards
2002 Powerhouse Museum Life Fellow
Bachelor of Design (Hon), Sydney Graphics Coll

“If I make a painting, it should be seen for what it’s set out to do too. A lot of the things that I do, it’s not all art. Some of it’s design, some of it’s illustration, some of it’s graphics, some of it’s concept, some of it’s business and some of it, hopefully, is art.”
“Art shouldn’t be something that you go quietly into an art gallery and dip your forelock and say ‘I have to be very quiet, I’m in here amongst the art.’ It’s here, art’s everywhere. It’s how you use your eyes. It’s about the enjoyment of visual things. And it’s certainly not for any one group of people.”
“I’ve always thought that there shouldn’t be any limit to the things that are well designed. And I think that people who consider that art should only be kept for art galleries and doesn’t have a role in public life, I think that’s too narrow.”
“In the times in which we live it is far too restricting to say that art can only be found in art galleries and not touch people’s everyday lives.. I want to use any means that are necessary to communicate to people what I feel about things. There are no rules. And if there are rules, then you may as well break them.”
“Wherever you are in the world, there’s always something about the Australian light. There’s something about the sharpness of it, something about the clarity of it, something about the colours of Australia. And, hopefully, something optimistic about Australian painting too.”6

1.^ a b Ken done A.M. F.D.I.A(Hon) Hon B.des
2.^ Ken Done, The Art of Design
3.^ Art of Ken Done Janet McKenzie
4.^ Ken Done The Blue Dot Gallery
5.^ Ken Done’s Flag Gallery Ausflag
6.^ Ken Done quotes

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