Shaun Downey spent his childhood in Oshawa, Ontario and is a graduate of Sheridan College’s interpretive illustration program. After high school, he enrolled in Angel Studios, a classical drawing and painting school headed by painter Michael John Angel. A student of the great Italian painter Pietro Annigoni, Angel also headed a school in Florence, Italy. While in college, Downey studied at the Academy of Realist Art in Toronto. Downey’s first show at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition in 2003 was a critical success, and he soon moved to Toronto’s west end, showing at several group exhibitions around the city. In 2010, his painting Blue Coco was selected for exhibition in the BP Portrait Award, an annual show held in June at the National Portrait Gallery in London, England. Blue Coco was one of about 50 paintings selected from over two thousand entries to this prestigious exhibition. Downey acknowledges, “It is a great honour to be a part of such an important exhibition, important both for myself and for the increased appreciation of figurative painting in general.” In May 2011 Downey had his first solo show at the Engine Gallery in Toronto.
Influenced by the great painter/storytellers of the past, including Vermeer and Norman Rockwell, Downey strives to breathe fresh life into Realist painting by infusing images from his own life with classical ideas and modern cultural references. He currently resides in Toronto with his wife and fellow painter Kelly Grace.