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Last Update: Tuesday June 15, 2021

Key Idea: Put Your Creativity On A Schedule

People who are excellent at what they do make it look easy.  Ken Done does.  Though critics are critical, the buying public has lifted him up as one of the finest artists in the world today. More...

Key Question:


Without depth of experience, perhaps you can achieve a flash-in-the-pan flurry of sales, but it probably can not be sustained.  Remember the  many dot com companies?  Without a history of rigorous discipline, they did not get far.  Your depth of knowledge about your niche is essential.

If your sales are flat, this may be a clue.

It takes time to have what Ken Done has. Every person on the team must be committed to learning everything they can about their area of responsibility and becoming the best in the world at it. At the close of this episode, he says all he has time left to do in his life is work on becoming a better painter.

This attitude is what has brought the company to the place it now occupies in the world. 

Think about it

What do you need to learn how to do better? What does every person who works for you need to learn how to do better? What disciplines and controls need to be better spelled out for you and your team? 

Clip from: Ken Done Gallery, Sydney - Leverage Art

   "I see business... as the most creative act of all." - Ken Done

Sydney: Meet Ken Done.  He has become one of Australia's most  beloved and respected artists with his own world-class following. We all struggle to master our talents and apply these talents in a meaningful way. That's life. And, that is how the best among us also define our work.

Meet a man who spent eighteen years mastering his craft and learning business skills. Then, he broke away to go down his own path.  Almost unwittingly he started a business through which he learned how to leverage his art in creative ways.

This business is a family businesses.

You meet Ken Done, his wife, Judy, and their daughter and son. Ken was never a starving artist yet he certainly paid his dues. With over 150 others working within this family enterprise, they make art affordable, often wearable and  even whimsical.

Today you meet an artist who like so many others follows his own heart. Often there is a price to pay  among the art community's elite.  In the earlier days they were not gentle on this man and his work. But Ken Done stood firm within his vision, he persevered, and today even his critics are giving him his due.

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The Ken Done Galleries

Ken Done, CEO, Artist-in-Residence

1 Hickson Road
The Rocks

02 9274 2740

Visit our web site:

Office: 02 9274 2740

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1991

Put Your Creativity On A Schedule

HATTIE: (Voiceover) There is nothing simple about what appears simple. Our experience has been that the person who makes anything look simple is the one who has sacrificed, struggled and worked the hardest to master his or her own arena.

KEN: I have breakfast every morning beside Sydney Harbor and I have a swim. By 8:00 this morning, I was in the studio working. I've already done two hours of work this morning. I've had two hours of play. Let's say that. When I finish this, I go to my other big studio and I'll work a disciplined day. And, of course, it's very difficult to be a painter because you have to do it on your own, you know. It's a very lonely existence being an artist. And I think--my feeling is, anyway--you have to be extremely disciplined to do it.

HATTIE: OK. I was going to ask you if when you're painting if you're thinking of it as work.

KEN: It's the best question so far because, in fact, it's one that I often come up against myself, where I think to myself -- I find myself saying, `I'm going down to the studio to start work.' And, I've got three studios, or three and a half if you count the bloody dining room table. I mean, I'm working everywhere. And so sometimes I'll say to Judy, `I'm going over to the studio to work.' What I should be saying and reminding myself is, `I'm going to the studio to play, not to work.'

HATTIE: To make something.

KEN: To make something.

HATTIE: And to make the thing that you want to make, and you said it earlier.

KEN: Yeah. Yeah. Well, look, there's certain deadlines. I mean, exhibitions over -- like, I had a big exhibition in London last year. I've got one in Switzerland next year. There are certain imposed deadlines by saying work has to be done in a certain period of time. And as you know, from the paintings, we, or my wife or the kids or the business, we make things. They might take some part of a painting. It becomes a piece of swimwear or it's on a calendar or it's on a diary or it's a poster or it's something else. Well, I don't do that. That's the other part of the business. But I need to keep working.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) To Mr. Done, painting is his consuming passion while design is a completely separate thing.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) His design work is globally ubiquitous and his paintings are part of important public and private art collections.

KEN: (Voiceover) I've been asked to do the official poster for the World Cup in Sydney later this year. And the World Cup is the third-biggest sporting event in the world after the Olympics and the soccer World Cup. So, you know, the opportunity is to show images of Sydney and Australia and what a fantastic city it is, and obviously from this poster, we could make, and will make, some product. So in a sense, it's like art and design working together.

KEN: (Voiceover) We should find art everywhere. It shouldn't necessarily be in art galleries.

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