PENNY FERGUSON + KEN DONE
Penny asked Ken how he balanced his creative impulses with what was best for business when the Ken Done brand took off in the eighties. "He emphasised the fact that his past experience as the head of an ad agency is what gave him the business insights needed to thrive in the creative industry. In commercial design he was always balancing the creativity with the business needs of his clients. He said that he thought that this was really important for artists and nothing to be ashamed of.
Ken's paintings are just as relevant and iconic now as they have ever been. Both Ken and Judy discussed the circular nature of the fashion industry and that Ken's work has seen a couple of peaks and valleys of being 'on trend' over the past 40 years. His advice for staying current was really just to go with the flow of the industry, stick to your guns but be prepared for the ebb and flow of popularity.
I asked Ken's wife Judy, who has worked in the business with Ken from the beginning, how it felt to have their brand represent so much to Australia. She was very humble about it! She did say that it meant a lot them that their work is appreciated by so many people, even today.
Ken discussed at length his painting process and how he dealt with 'bad painting days'. He showed us a painting called 'Ten Paintings', and explained that there were 9 paintings underneath the top one! He said that you just need time away from the canvas sometimes and that you'll always come back to it eventually.
Spending the day with Ken Done and seeing how his business runs both creatively and practically, I feel like I can now see more of a future for my own creative path. His unique advice has also given me more confidence and energy as a designer, a painter, and a small business owner.”