Ken Done, born Stephen Ken Done on 20th June 1940 in Sydney, Australia.
Ken Done left school at 14 to enter the National Art School in East Sydney. After 5 years study he commenced a highly successful career as an art director with the advertising agency J. Walter Thomson in New York and London. Aged 40 he decided to leave the industry and return to Sydney to devote himself to painting full time.
Ken Done’s first solo exhibition was held in Sydney in 1980. Since then he has held over 50 one-man shows including major exhibitions in Australia, Europe, Japan and the USA. His work has been described as the most original work to come out of Australia, and his paintings are in collections throughout the world.
Working predominantly in oils and acrylic, Done takes inspiration from diverse sources – the ebullience of the sea and sky, the transcendent emotions of a quiet garden, aboriginal art, Japanese poetry, the urban shout of Sydney where he makes his home – but the sensibility that underlies his work is uniquely his own.
Major projects in a very diverse career include the painting of a BMW Artcar, joining such artists as Andy Warhol, David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein and Alexander Calder. An original Ken Done work featured on the cover of the weekly Japanese magazine Hanako for over ten years, and in 1999, Done was asked to create a series of works for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies programmes of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
Ken’s work is now widely recognised as holding a unique position in Australia’s cultural heritage. In 1992, he received the Order of Australia (A.M.) for services to Art, Design and Tourism. In many parts of the world, Ken Done has come to symbolise Australia and Australians: creative, optimistic and bold.