Robert Downey’s practice mainly focuses on figurative painting and deals with the issues of social commentary and artist identity. His paintings open a painterly and conceptual dialogue between the dual role of subject and artist. The subject of the painting is always the author, the artist regardless of the sitter. Models used are devices to portray the artists own feelings and emotions. The idea of painting the model is not to capture their personal aura and display it on canvas but for the artist to see themselves and personal views reflected back at them.

Being an artist in the modern era can be difficult especially for new artists. Everything you do has been done before, the weight of art history stands on you and the pressure to innovate is constant. It is therefore hard to create what you are interested in over what is considered new or contemporary. As student artists, we all share similar fears and frustrations. Self-doubt can lead to one feeling foolish or another way to describe it is “feeling like a clown”. You can feel foolish when venturing into the unknown, but it would also be foolish not to be open to new learning experiences. 

This project is a social commentary on being an art student but doesn’t commit to either a negative or positive response. It is more of a personal response to how I’ve reflected back on the last few years in college and also how I feel about leaving. Clowns can be another word for being a fool or being foolish. From personal experience being a grown adult and telling another adult that my profession is an artist or aspiring to that can feel quite foolish. You get funny looks. But you have to own it.