There may be various incarnations of artist Daimon Downey you might be familiar with.
Perhaps you know him as the restauranteur behind popular Sydney establishment Pelicano, or maybe you’re more familiar with his days as the front man of successful Australian pop-band Sneaky Sound System.
Establishing himself in the art world, his intuitive return is underpinned by his formal training in fine art. Growing up in the small hinterland town of Bellingen New South Wales, art was embraced all around him giving him the confidence he needed to study arts and move to Sydney with nothing but a suitcase full of art supplies.
Working on surreal yet balanced artworks, Daimon’s work conveys lightness, breathing space and simple pleasures. We spoke to Daimon on his return to art, and how art, music, food, fashion and dance are all part of the same tapestry.
Tell us about your relationship with art, has it always been a constant in your life?
From as far back as ever painting has taken up a lot of my artistic memories. Little tins of water colours painting Australian native birds, nurtured and supported by my amazing parents who also were creative folk in the kitchen and dad loves to write. Growing up in Bellingen art was not just a second choice idea for life. The whole town seemed to embrace culture and you could follow that dream without fear hence leaving school early to study fine art gave me great confidence. After finishing the degree I moved to Sydney with a suitcase full of art supplies and the rest is a wild ride to now With a common theme of creative endeavours along the way.
Balance and colour are always emphasised in your work, what do you hope this conveys?
I am not a provocative artist, I don’t want to scream from the canvas all the worlds issues. Quite the opposite. I want to give you a breath, a chance to see light, space, pleasure.
My art is for your walls and your walls are where you live so I am honoured to have that space to give you my pleasures. Colour and balance for for me are the tools I can express the free will of a happy thought. There can also be drama and it may be in the vast space around a form but through colour this can be tamed. Colour can change everything…more people should explore it, live with it.
What parallels can you draw between creating as a musician and creating as an artist?
Art music food fashion dance are all part of the same tapestry. They all start from nothing - thin air and through the same challenges and breakthroughs as if by magic something physically and emotionally exists. Then boom they all end up in a great reveal...to be loved or hated... relatively speaking. Like bees for the mind pollinating positive ideas in humans, if it stopped we lose pleasure and we all die. Long live the artists!
Your work stems from fantasy & imagination, what would be your most unexpected source of inspiration so far?
Inspiration questions are hard…I generally make abstract expressionists works and I’m a pretty positive guy so positive things, people, spaces are needed.
"Long live the artists!"
What is your favourite part of the creative process?
Creative process generally starts with a clean space that by the end is a cluster fuck mess of a studio. I don’t prepare any drawings of works or map out a plan, it’s a deep dive in. I might see some colour combos somewhere out in the world but they might end up peeking just through six layers of other painted feelings.
Your artwork can be found on fashion runways, dinner plates, wine bottles, the walls of Raes and now in the Tigmi studio, what do you feel collaboration adds to your work?
Painting can be a pretty lonely place at times and getting opportunities to create with others is a real treat. The process of a project, creative language and finding solutions for specific moods also helps me explore new ideas.
Your career has undergone a few incarnations, as a musician, restaurateur and now artist - what are you enjoying most about this chapter?
This chapter is a full circle swing around. I feel very comfortable in this space. The freedom and lack of moving parts is very appealing now. My past has been fast and set me up with to tools have a confident independent approach. When it comes to exhibitions I want it to be an easy, pleasurable experience. Food , music, space , lighting are all important. Each chapter written into the next…all for pleasure.
Transport us to your art studio, what sounds can we hear? What can we see?
Well up until a moment ago the home studio was a big ocean view room in an old deco building on Campbell parade Bondi beach. The wooden floor marked with the colours from past works and the squawking sounds of long lunching wine junkies from the restaurant below my bay windows. Now a new little guy has entered our world and the best room in the house is now his… for me, a less romantic set up in the spare room is the new studio, but... happy sacrifices and less procrastinating over the ocean horizon.
If your Tigmi collage series was a journey, where are we headed?
More of a time than a place….the beginning of design before comparison where ideas and gesture were everything.
Tigmi is Berber for my home, what do you hope your work will bring to the homes and spaces they are destined for?
This show was conceived with Tigmi in mind and like all my work it is for pleasure. To hang a window on your wall to look into. A balance of shapes on the brink of being wayward. To be at ease and comfortable with imperfection. A close up of broken or alternative patterns. A soft medium with hard edges. This is all very human and very Berber also.
What’s next Daimon?
Whatever it is I am all in! See you there.
Tigmi are thrilled to be exhibiting Daimon Downey's 'A Close Up Of An Alternative Pattern' collection of collages, as the second artist in our Tigmi Art Series.