Words by Jenna Opsahl.
Artwork by Shaun Downey.
Shaun Downey’s paintings beg for a second look, for a pause. His large, photo-realistic portraits are all at once soft, dramatic, and intimate. His scenes are mysterious and unknowable — and yet they feel familiar, as if we ourselves, have been here before.
Based in Toronto, Downey works from an East End studio that he shares with his wife and fellow painter Kelly Grace, painter Kyle Stewart, and sculptor Gosia. Downey emphasises the necessity of such a tight-knit studio environment, explaining that “…working alongside other artists keeps us going, and we have become like a family. Having a fresh set of eyes to bounce ideas off of has helped us all.” This encouragement and support from his creative “family” through his long working hours are much appreciated, as his work requires meticulous attention to detail and a painstaking patience.