Born 29 June, 1940, in Sydney, Ken left school at 14 to enter the National Art School in East Sydney. After 5 years study, he commenced a highly successful career as an art director and designer in New York, London and Sydney.
At the age of 40, after painting for many years, he gave up his advertising career to become a painter full-time. Since then, he has held over 100 one-man shows, including major exhibitions in Australia, Europe, Japan and the USA. His works have been shown in the Archibald, Sulman, Wynne, Blake, and Dobell Prizes.
In 1991, a major touring exhibition in Japan attracted over 200,000 visitors. The artist's first European exhibition was held in Paris in 1996, to great acclaim, and in 2000 the art of Ken Done was successfully premiered in both Los Angeles and London.
Is it not time we placed Done into the context of Streeton and Roberts, Olsen and Nolan
Glenn Barkley, 2012
Major projects in a very diverse career include the painting of a BMW Artcar, and the total decorative scheme for the Garden Restaurant at the Powerhouse Museum, in Sydney. In 1994, a major retrospective of Ken Done's work "Ken Done: the art of design" was mounted by the Powerhouse Museum. In 2002 the Museum acquired his commercial art and design archive of more than 300 items.
In 1988, Hanako, a Tokyo fashion and lifestyle magazine, was launched, and featured a Ken Done painting on the cover every week for over 15 years. In 1999, Done was asked to create a series of works for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies programs of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
Ken's paintings became the creative source of a unique, and highly successful Australian business which continues to promote Australian art and design to a world-wide audience.
In 1993, Ken, together with his wife Judy, won the Fashion Industries of Australia's Grand Award for Fashion.
Although he has worked extensively for many charitable organisations, the welfare of underprivileged children has always been a special concern of Ken's. Father of the Year in 1989, Ken Done has been a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF since 1988.
Ken received the Order of Australia (A.M.), for services to Art, Design and Tourism in 1992. In many parts of the world, Ken Done has come to symbolise Australia and Australians: creative, optimistic and bold.