In Australia, restrictions are quickly being relaxed in a bid to reopen the country, but abroad, the pandemic continues and in light of George Floyd‘s murder, protests are erupting across the globe. Though it is okay to have days when it all seems too hard or too dire, we hope to fill the void, even just for a few fleeting minutes of this article. ICON speaks with industry creatives – be it music, style, dance, writing, or even social media – on how to stay inspired during these uncertain times. And hopefully a handful of tips for you, the reader, on the way.
For Sydney locals, art collectors and enthusiasts, many would be aware of the work of Daimon Downey. Lighting up homes as well as iconic venues with abstract artwork, the artist was set for a hotly-anticipated exhibition this April. But following restrictions, his work was confined to the home studio and while his day-to-day routine has remained relatively unchanged during this time, he describes the cancellation as a cross between “being fired and going on a holiday”. When creativity is integral to your work, how does one look past setbacks? Sure, Downey can no longer have his daily afternoon nap due to his fiancée being home, but as an artist who works from home, he has some handy tips and a certain spark to continue through these uncertain times.
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ICON: Can you explain what your work entails, day-to-day?
Daimon Downey: I am a creative that uses paint as the main medium for my outlet. I also DJ the cracking hits of generations and I’m totally fine with that! I wake up in time to see my fiancée, Georgia, off to work then cuddle the cats and crack some eggs. I do a little morning internet news update to see what new cluster fuck happened in the world while I was asleep. Then do the big 20-foot commute from the lounge to the studio to stare at some canvases before I get busy pushing colours around. This is a process of making invisible decisions while standing in front of a painting for sometimes hours like a stunned confused statue. Lunch is in the kitchen around 2pm and then a little email admin and commission chats with clients or a trip to the framers or supply shop. Then more studio time before Georgia gets home and I cook dinner. If all was going well in the studio, I might stay in there quite late. Now if it was summer I would run across the road for a quick dip at some point.
How has your daily routine changed since lockdown?
DD: Not a whole bunch. Home studio artists have been living a pretty isolated life already. The only real adjustment is having to be a little bit more prepared – canvases, paint etc and home cooking has got a whole lot more elaborate. I used to be able to get a nap in sometimes but now Georgia is here all day as well I can’t do that – bit of a lazy look.
What are three items you have with you whilst you work?
DD: Canvas, brushes, paint.
How are you staying creative during this time? Where do you look for inspiration?
DD: In the beginning of lockdown it was all quite deflating after having to cancel my exhibition. It felt like a cross between being fired and going on holiday. We were getting Zoom drunk on a week day but then it all got serious. People began to lock into working at home and became house proud so they needed art on their walls and that was great for me. I had commissions to complete and an audience that needed art. I had a website built to release my work as prints for the first-time and as the gates opened slightly and we could have visitors I started throwing little dinners in the studio to show some of the works from the cancelled show. I’m inspired by people and ideas and especially an audience that engages and accepts, so I’m looking forward to a room full of that again. A reboot exhibition will take place in October.
Do you have any advice for people struggling with the transition of working from home?
DD: Don’t stand on the scales – you will get a shock! Ban yourself from Netflix while the sun is up. Turn the notification sounds off WhatsApp and HouseParty. Remember when you were in the office, all you probably wanted to do was be at home – enjoy it!
To view Daimon Downey’s work, shop prints and stay in the loop on his next exhibition, visit here.