About Johnny Darko
Johnny was originally born in London, but emigrated to Australia in 2000. It was there that Darko started studying the application of acids over gold leaf. After 15 creative and productive years of exhibiting throughout Australia, he decided to settle in France where he opened two galleries in Pezenas in the South of France. Needing greater space to create and showcase his work, Johnny, along with his partner Ashley bought a French Chateau an hour from the vibrant city of Bordeaux in the SouthWest of France where Darko's art can be viewed.
When asked how Darko would convey his style he simply says, “There is something very ancient inside of Darko. When I’m in my studio I shut off every aspect of my life and step into another time and place. I was born addicted to fantasy. For me there is something very magical and beautiful when I look upon the ancient walls encasing a home, Chateau or the like. Knowing that these amazing buildings have stood for hundreds of years and stood as guardians to many generations, teases my imagination as to what secrets these old walls may hold. The original stone that lay just beneath many layers of paint and render evokes something very deep inside”
And it is with this in mind that Darko's work reflects such beautiful tarnished patinas and tones throughout his art.
About the process
I like to refer to my technique as "Reversed Alchemy". As opposed to taking a raw material as ancient Alchemists' would, such as iron and then try to transmute this element into gold, I begin with a precious metal, and begin to take it down to something much more base.
I often say that it is like a marriage of two such different mediums that shouldn't be together, but somehow works. The fragility of the leaf instantly changes once the acids are applied and new colours, tones and patterns evolve. And it is through this exciting alchemical mix that something new and much rawer is born before me".
"Working with such a fragile medium as gold leaf is such a remarkable process. Gilding in itself is an extremely beautiful craft, however, bringing in various acids and using such a harsh contrast as a medium always fascinates me as an artist.