Ken Done

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Jump to: navigation, search

Ken Done, AM, (born 29 June 1940) in Sydney, is an Australian artist best known for his design work. His simple, brightly coloured images of Australian landmarks have adorned a very popular range of clothing and homewares sold under the "Done Design" brand.

Early life[edit]

Ken Done grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney, New South Wales, and left high school at age 14 to study at the National Art School in East Sydney between 1954 and 1959.[1][2] At the end of this decade he travelled abroad and began working with the New York and London based advertising agency J. Walter Thompson. He returned to Sydney in 1969 to follow his artistic desires. He became a full-time painter in 1975.[3]

Exhibitions and works[edit]

Done's first solo exhibition was in Sydney in 1980. To date he has staged over 50 exhibitions dedicated solely to his work. Done's work has been exhibited in Australia, Japan, and France, amongst others. His first European exhibition was held in Paris in 1996. In the year 2000 his works were exhibited in Los Angeles and in London.[1]

His work for the 1988 World Exposition held in Brisbane Australia, the colourful Children of the World facade for the United Nations Pavilion, and the several 6 m high alphabet letter blocks that adorned the Entrance and Exit of the Australia Pavilion are largely regarded as playing a central role in the celebration and popular culture of Bicentennial Australia and were one of the most photographed works of art at the Expo.

In 1994 the Powerhouse Museum staged a major retrospective of Done's work.

Design company[edit]

Ken Done created a design company called "Done Art and Design" with his wife Judy Done. The company started out by producing small runs of T-shirts featuring Done's art and the garment design of his wife Judy. In 1993 the company won the Fashion Industries of Australia's, Grand Award.

An original Ken Done work featured on the cover of the Japanese women's magazine Hanako every week between 1989 and 1999.[4]


During October 1995, Done was asked to create a series of flag designs by the then Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating. Republicanism in Australia was news at the time and Done submitted sixteen designs to Ausflag, some of which he had created as early as 1981.[5]

He was commissioned to produce a series of works for both the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2000 Sydney Olympic games.

Ken Done has long been a supporter of art in Australia especially encouraging school students through awards and sponsorships, although Done decided to sue Australian band TISM for appropriating his work.

In 2006 he designed and created the United Buddy Bear for Australia.

The Ken Done Museum is located in The Rocks, Sydney.


He became a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1988, and won the Australian father of the year award in 1989.

Done received an Order of Australia (AM) for services to Art, Design, and Tourism in 1992.


Mosman Citizen of the Year
Rotary International Award for Excellence
Spirit of Australia Award for excellence in the Australian Arts



External links[edit]