Shaun Downey was born in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada in 1978. He studied drawing and painting at the Angel Art Academy in Toronto from 1998-2001, and graduated with honours from the Illustration program from Sheridan College in Oakville Ontario in 2002.
Shaun strives to breathe fresh life into realist painting by combining classical ideals within the context of his own life and surroundings. His paintings have elements of decades past, but are firmly grounded in present day. Often painting his wife and friends within the confines of his home, we are allowed a voyeuristic glance into his world as he reveals his efforts to capture the fleeting beauty of modern life.
As outside viewers, we find ourselves longing to understand who Shaun Downey’s subjects are, what their lives are like, and which chain of events led them to the exact moment the artist has captured. His meticulously rendered paintings call out to be understood, but we the viewer are left to make our own assumptions.
Downey's work was shown in 2010 at the National Portrait Gallery in London, as part of the BP Portrait Award. His painting "Blue Coco" was chosen as the leading ad image, appearing on the catalog cover, on posters throughout the London subway system, and on a large banner draping the front of the National Portrait Gallery.
Jenna Opsahl of Jungle Magazine (London, UK) states: "His scenes are mysterious and unknowable - and yet they feel familiar; as if we ourselves, have been here before."