Helen Downie is a London based critically-acclaimed artist, best known for her idiosyncratic and expressive style of painting.
Working under the moniker of UnskilledWorker, her paintings are both intimate and evocative, mixing characters and nature with the ephemeral and fantastical.
Her work has been chronicled extensively and has attracted a large audience worldwide. Her paintings have appeared in many publications, including Artnet, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Dazed, Harper’s Bazaar and i-D. Her paintings are collected nationally and internationally and have been exhibited at galleries across the world including London, Hong Kong, Seoul, Madrid, Tokyo and Shanghai.
In 2015 her work was exhibited at the Minsheng Art Museum in Shanghai, alongside the work of Rachel Feinstein, Jenny Holzer, Cao Fei and others. In 2016, a specially commissioned portrait by the artist was featured as a limited-edition cover of Bazaar Art alongside six leading contemporary female artists. During the same year her work was featured alongside works by Turner Prize winner Grayson Perry at a contemporary art auction and exhibition in recognition of Shape Arts’ 40th anniversary.
In 2017, Gucci collaborated with the artist by launching a 40-piece collection featuring her artwork. To coincide with the launch her art was displayed on art walls and fly posters in London, New York, Paris, Milan and Shanghai. Later in the same year Downie’s work featured in ‘Great Women Artists’ exhibition at Mother, London
In 2018 Downie’s work was exhibited by Aki Atelier Gallery in Seoul and Hong Kong and in Mark Shand’s Adventures and Curiosities at Hauser & Wirth. In 2019, Downie exhibited at D Museum in Seoul and the Museo ABC de Dibujo e Ilustración in Madrid, and in 2020 at Hauser & Wirth alongside works by Anish Kapoor, Antony Gormley and Richard Wentworth, with a subsequent auction in aid of the pioneering ‘Hospital Rooms’ charity.
In 2021, to celebrate international women’s month, a public exhibition of the artists’ work was displayed by W1 Curates across one of the world’s biggest permanent digital public art installations in London. In the same year her work was on display at Institut’s inaugural exhibition and physical showcase presented by Unit London
Downie’s paintings are currently included in the 39th edition of the annual Small is Beautiful exhibition at Flowers Gallery in London.
‘One Cup of Sugar’ the artist’s first solo exhibition in Italy opens at Luca Tommasi Arte in Milan in April 2022
Downie is a strong voice for women, and through her exploration of gender enjoys testing new frontiers with her art. She is passionate about inclusion and through her work hopes to develop a narrative on the importance of diversity and freedom of expression, that speaks to everyone. She has donated paintings to support charities such as The Shuktara Trust; Maya Foundation’s Project Lift; Women for Women International; Shape Arts; MAG (Mines Advisory Group); Hospital Rooms, an arts and mental health charity that commissions artworks for NHS mental health inpatient units across the UK; The Big Issue and Secret 7” in support of ‘Help Refugees’ a UK-based non-governmental NGO.
New York Times
Art Trade Journal China
The Times and The Sunday Times
i –D Magazine
Modern Weekly China
A Magazine Curated By
South China Morning Post