NIMH/OARC Special Event for Autism Awareness Month
A Portrait of Autism: Artists and Their Works
David Downes is an English landscape painter known for his vast skies, beautiful seascapes, and complex architectural drawings. His work captures architecture and landscapes from an aerial position. Mr. Downes has a photographic memory, which he puts down to his neurodivergent brain. He can recall the places he has visited in brilliant detail and paint them from his recollections. Mr. Downes has been awarded several high-profile commemorative commissions, including a commission from the BBC to paint its most important buildings and a commission from Savoy to paint the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant that marked the Queen's 60th year on the throne. Mr. Downes was artist in-residence at the world-famous hotel for six weeks and painted the 3-meter-wide painting, which now hangs in the hotel's Front Hall, largely from memory. His work is often autobiographical or sites current times, where he focuses on the juxtaposition of history and modernity, such as aging churches in built-up areas. He describes his work as a "meeting of realism and imagination." Originally from Suffolk, England, David now has his own gallery, 'David Downes Gallery' in Manningtree, Essex, England. David is vice president of the U.K.'s National Autistic Society. David regularly speaks on behalf of the charity and paints live at fundraising events. Mr. Downes received a M.A. in Communication Design from the Royal College of Art, London; a P.G.D. in Narrative Sequential Illustration from Brighton University; and a H.N.D. in Commercial Illustration from Anglia University.