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TDF Talks With Iconic Australian Artist Ken Done

Podcast

Ken Done is one of Australia’s most well-known artists, and an absolute creative icon in this country.

Last week Ken was in Melbourne as a judge for the TDF Design Awards (where he gave a particularly memorable speech!), and the morning after Lucy visited him in his suite at the Adelphi Hotel in Flinders Lane to record this podcast. In their conversation, Ken reflects on his long career, how art in Australia has evolved, and what he’s learned about the business of being an artist.

26th September, 2019

Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Lucy Feagins
Thursday 26th September 2019

It’s incredibly exciting to be bringing you a podcast episode featuring the LEGENDARY Ken Done.

He shouldn’t really need an introduction… but I’ll give you a brief one anyway.

Born in 1940, in Sydney, Ken left school at 14 to study art. At just 19, he commenced his career as an art director and designer in various advertising and design agencies in New York, London and Sydney. But in his mid-thirties, he craved a return to his art practice.

After moving back to Australia, and juggling painting with a role as Creative Director of advertising agency J Walter Thompson, finally, at the age of forty, Ken made the decision to leave the ad game behind once and for all.

Since then his works have been shown in prestigious national awards including the Archibald, Sulman, Wynne, Blake, and Dobell Prizes, and he’s been involved in all manner of high profile art and design projects, such as creating a series of works for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

Last week I interviewed Ken at the Adelphi Hotel the morning after he flew down for our TDF Design Awards presentation (I know… probably should have let him have a rest!).

We spoke his career path, from advertising to art, how he feels about the nostalgia surrounding his work, and what he’s learned about the business of being an artist.

 

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NOTES + LINKS

Visit kendone.com.au for more info about Ken, his latest paintings, upcoming exhibitions and more, and you can follow his gallery on @kendonegallery

Read our first interview with Ken (along with some AMAZING photos of his studio, home and garden in Mosman back in 2014 here.

Ken also featured in a wonderful film we made to celebrate his collaboration with Sheridan in 2017 – it’s one of our FAVOURITE films ever, and well worth revisiting here!

Ken has a travelling exhibition called ‘Paintings you probably haven’t seen’ currently touring regional galleries across Australia. It has just opened at the Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton, Queensland, and will be there until November 8th.   You can find out more at www.matildacentre.com.au

This is the 36th episode of our TDF Talks Podcast – thanks so much for listening! You can browse all or revisit any episode here.

We’re so grateful to Adelphi Hotel for hosting Ken and our other judges last week for The Design Files Design Awards! The Adelphi are offering 10% off all bookings + free breakfast and welcome drinks for TDF readers until December 31st. Click here to access that offer!

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The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.