LIAM DOWNES


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HOW WERE YOU FIRST INTRODUCED TO THIS  TYPE OF WORK/ARTISTIC PRACTICE - AND WHAT  DID YOU ENJOY ABOUT YOUR EARLY  EXPLORATION OF IT?

My parents ran a small sign company. My father was passionate about his commercial art and inspired through brush and print from as early as I can remember. When I wasn’t getting in the way I was lending a creative hand. It followed that I had an eye for drawing and painting, I found it a natural outlet to express and/or escape. I guess those paint fumes are in my blood – so to speak!

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HOW HAS YOUR WORK/ARTISTIC PRACTICE CHANGED AND DEVELOPED OVER THE YEARS? WHAT FACTORS DO YOU THINK AFFECTED THIS?

Since acquiring a Graphic Design degree and an illustration HND, and working in the commercial art sectors, I found more joy in painting and drawing in a less constrained and more expressive way. My preferred subjects were generally figure drawing/painting and land and cityscapes. Today I am sometimes inclined to drop in social commentary or angst in my works, but my appreciation for beauty never wains. I seem to be slightly obsessed with Rangitoto, the Sky Tower, the female form and cows.. not necessarily in that order.

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PLEASE DESCRIBE WHERE YOU WORK FROM? WHAT DO YOU FIND SPECIAL ABOUT LIVING OUT WEST? 

I have an art studio we call ‘the Dungeon’. On sunny days I set up residence in my garden. We live near Titirangi in quintessential kiwi bush, with sea views and over 100 kauri trees. Our garden has become a scientific research area as my wife works for Kauri Rescue and the fight against die back. My daughter knows all about insects. We are passionate nature people.

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WHAT CAN VISITORS EXPECT TO SEE WHEN  THEY VISIT YOUR STUDIO DURING OSW?  

An artist at work, hopefully in the garden and happy to talk about my work and/or techniques. All available artworks will be brought out to the deck. Tea/coffee and maybe a scone or two will be provided. My wife will be happy to take anyone who is interested on an educational kauri adventure. It’s a lovely stroll through the bush, mostly pathed.

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NAME YOUR TOP 5 SECRET SPOTS YOU LIKE TO  VISIT IN THE WAITAKERE RANGES? 

  • Whatapu - the beach, it’s Jurassic

  • Whatapu - the caves, mysterious, eerie

  • Kakamatua - aka ‘Dog Walk Beach’

  • Muriwai - especially when those gannets are doing their thing

  • My Garden - seriously, I love it!

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Photos by: Sarah Allen
www.sarahallenphoto.co.nz