Artist. Performer. Mental Health Enthusiast.
Phil Doncon’s Paint Storm’s history is built upon Phil Doncon’s life-long practice and study of fine art. He has staged multiple solo-exhibitions and won numerous awards. In 1998, a collaboration between friends combined his visual art skills with performance art.
That year, Artworks Visual Arts Theatre was born and became very popular. The combination of art, music, theatre, dance and gymnastics won the hearts of audiences. After it was wrapped up in 2004, Phil went on to focus on another passion, working with youth.
He worked as a Youth Development Officer with the Office for Children and Youth after completing his studies. Phil helped young people with all parts of their lives and encouraged them to engage with support, education, employment and community opportunities.
Phil’s love for painting to music was reignited when the West Australian Symphony Orchestra invited him to perform on-stage with them in the Perth Concert Hall as part of the ‘Play Me a Picture’ series (2005). While painting live onstage with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra in 2008, Phil realised that this was what he was meant to be doing.
Phil then set about combining his passions of helping youth, painting, performing and music to develop the show ‘Phil Doncon’s Paint Storm’. Although it was a risky time to start a business, in the middle of the global financial crisis, Phil boldly used the $900 stimulus payment to purchase sound equipment and the Paint Storm was launched.
Combining Mental Health with Visual Art
Phil’s goal is to use the arts to help children and young people live healthier, richer and more purposeful lives. In the show, learning about emotions is broken down to being aware of your feelings and thoughts. Then, it is about knowing what to do with them. In his research, Phil came across the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) model. This model encourages people to embrace their thoughts and feelings rather than struggling against them or seeking distraction.
During the development stage, Phil identified key emotions that people struggle with such as anxiety, fear of failure and feeling not good enough. He came up with stories to help children recognise these emotions. Afterwards, Phil drew on the ACT model for key strategies to help young people understand their feelings and inspire ideas on how to take action that is helpful.
We develop emotional intelligence throughout childhood. It is addressed in all learning areas of the national curriculum in every stage of a student’s schooling as personal and social capability. 
Phil Doncon’s Paint Storm was adapted as a school incursion to assist children to:
- be aware of how they feel by connecting to the present
- accept themselves
- clarify their own values
- visualise the effects of their emotions
- and committing to action. 
Year after year, the feedback has been extremely positive with many schools rebooking every two or three years. Phil developed teacher resources for students to complete before or after the incursion. He also started holding workshops so that students could put their learning into practice. Visual art is a wonderful vehicle to learn about emotions as it is an opportunity for students to quietly connect with how they are feeling. Therefore, emotions influence the brush strokes they put on paper.
Phil Doncon the Artist
Phil’s style of art explores the effect of light on the natural environment. When he is not painting at speed to music and engaging young people, he chooses subjects that he feels a strong connection to… the ocean, the Wheatbelt in Western Australia and the history and culture of Fremantle. The sea spray, dust and clouds all reflect light and Phil endeavours to capture these details to create mood in his impressionist paintings.
Phil Doncon extended his live painting performance to create a unique niche that audiences praise. His performance skills and love of pressure enables him to capture a scene on-stage to live music. This format has not only been used by symphony orchestras around Australia but most recently at the Ellington Jazz Club in Perth. He also paints live at fundraising events where the painting is then auctioned.
Phil continues his studio work creating commission paintings and paintings for sale through his online gallery.