Downey earned a fine art master’s degree in painting and sculpture from London’s Slade School of Art, where he studied under Bruce Mclean and Will Alsop. He grew up in a United States Marine Corps family traversing towns across the United States, soaking up influences of diverse surroundings that would later add to his perspective. Pratt Institute drew him to New York City in 1998, where he first cultivated his study of fine art. Stimulated by the buzz of the urbane, he sought out alternate methods for depicting his environment, deciding on a film degree for formal study
His first film, Public Discourse, a documentary about street art, proved a pivotal point in his artistic endeavors. The film has been screened at over 70 venues around the world including the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London and the Copenhagen Documentary Film Festival. It includes work by street artists such as Swoon, Obey Giant, Revs, Nato, Desa, Ellen Harvey, Keith Haring, JJ Veronis, and Johnny Swing (from the Rivington school), and features music by Japanther. The film was distributed by Video Data Bank. Public Discourse has also compelled Downey to take an active role in front of the camera as a full-fledged graffiti artist, focusing on how to use a minimalist work to enhance people’s overall sensation of their surroundings.
He gained much international recognition working collaboratively with Darius Jones A.K.A. Verbs (an American graffiti artist from Cincinnati, Ohio). As a team they developed a new style of concept/image-based roller graffiti and a unique illegal site-specific brand of three-dimensional sculptures, where functional traffic symbols become humanised traffic symbols.
Downey regularly lectures about unsanctioned public artwork. He is exploring its adaptation in traditional gallery settings in London, Berlin and New York. He was named as one of the “ArtReview” 25 MA graduates to watch in 2005. He has been featured in The New York Times, Creative Review, the Atlanta Journal Constitution and BBC Mundo, among others. He has exhibited in venues such as Urbis museum in Manchester, Kunstlerhaus Bethanian in Berlin, the Basil Art Fair in Miami, the ICA in London, and Mass MOCA in the USA.