Biography: Donald Keys
Born 1958, in the coastal town of Bulli, Donald is an artist who is heavily influenced by the juxtaposition of his hometown’s heavy industry and environmentally sensitive beaches. He started working in the advertising industry back in 1976, where he honed his drawing skills in the pre-digital-graphics era. In 2005 he walked away from a lucrative career in commercial art to focus on what he believes is the more emotionally satisfying profession of fine artist.
Donald’s paintings are figurative works, in a contemporary impressionist style. He paints using vibrant colours that are quintessentially Australian, employing quite visible brush strokes to enhance texture, which give his paintings a tactile quality. His works generally feature people enjoying their leisure time surrounded by a mix of man-made structures and the natural beauty of the Australian landscape.
There is a narrative element to some of his paintings that suggests humour may be another saving grace to our challenging times besides art. By creating images of people and nature, infused with everyday suburban objects, Donald hopes to chronicle modern life through the eye of an artist.
"Growing up close to a coal mine, and just twenty kilometres from a steel works, I was often asked by people in Sydney what it was like to live surrounded by big dirty industries. This amused me greatly, as I was so used to virgin bushland, and clean beaches. Bulli is just seventy kilometres south of Sydney, where the mountains meet the ocean, and has a wealth of natural beauty. It’s picturesque.
I tend to see things in an optimistic, and colourful light, and therefore have no desire to create images that depict ugly and sad situations. Hopefully, when one views my paintings, they will see something better than it is in real life".