Ken Done

Ken Done’s artworks are greatly affected by his views on society due to the fact that the purpose behind his work is to celebrate the diverse life and unique beauty of Australia. Done’s various colours and techniques that he uses in his artwork shows that his outlook and opinion of society is positive and hopeful. “Sydney Harbour”, “The Rock at Chinaman’s Beach” and “Sunflowers” are all great examples which capture Done’s views of society through his different ranges of powerful brushstrokes, bold and simplified shapes and various colours capturing the nature of Australia.

Ken Done’s artwork displays the routine activities of his personal environment which explore all of the traditional values and relationships of today’s society. Done’s bright, colourful, naive but positive images of Australia celebrate life as a whole and the beauty of Australian nature. Done’s artwork is created not only to be seen but to be heard, felt and even smelt. These senses can only emerge as a result of his own emotions, views and experiences. Done has experimented with methods such as imagery, where he has used a large range of various techniques which still capture the spirit of the subject.
Ken Done is primarily seen as a designer, but he has taken this further by incorporating design principles, turning his own works into art.
Done’s “Sydney Harbour” was created in 1983. This particular piece has become famous and well known due to its widespread acclaim within popular culture. The materials that were used to create “Sydney Harbour” were oil pastels on paper which helped enhance the representation of the happy, fun-loving nature of Australia. This piece of artwork comes across as though a young child has created it, due to its simplified forms. It looks a lot like simple freehand, loose-like and unphotographic, but it still manages to capture a feeling of overall happiness of the place. “Sydney Harbour” represents Done’s views of society as a result of its structure, surrounding and optimistic feeling, e.g. the sun that shines brightly over the bridge (bright sparkling sun is usually associated with happiness.)
Ken Done’s “The Rock at Chinaman’s Beach” was created in 1987. The materials used to create this piece were oils on canvas. This piece is very different in contrast to “Sydney Harbour”. “The Rock at Chinaman’s Beach” is again an optimistic piece of artwork, but not to the extent of which “Sydney Harbour” is. This piece captures the love and beauty of nature. Like “Sydney Harbour”, it is a simplified painting which still gives off bundles of emotion. This also shows Done’s optimistic view of nature and society.

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“From the Ridge St Window” was created in 1979. The materials used in this work were graphite, coloured pencil and watercolour on paper. In contrast to “Sydney Harbour” and “The Rock at Chinaman’s Beach”, this piece shows much more detail and refinement in its texture and technique. The former two epitomise Done’s later trademark of childlike style, however he still manages to capture the happy optimistic feeling in this earlier piece which is recurrent through his work.

Ken Done has been accepted and acknowledged by many popular cultures across the world. This is evident in Done’s huge success in scales of his work. “…uses bold powerful strokes, simplified shapes and brilliant rich colours to reflect the Australian landscape and typify the easygoing lifestyles of its people. Done’s optimistic and positive outlook on life and society appeals to the public which therefore results in his popularity in the design and art genres.



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