Photos with Deborah Downey
Born in Indiana, Deborah moved with her family to California when she was 4 years old. She spent her early years in California and returned to Indiana at age 13. Within a year of returning to Indiana, she was singing on stage with some of the best musicians of the 1960's. Deborah began her singing career as an opening act with the Dick Clark Caravan of Stars, singing with various groups as they appeared with the Caravan in Indiana. Over a period of three years she shared a stage with Tom Jones, Glen Cambell, the Turtles, and Paul Revere and the Raiders. Read more... With a taste for stardom, Deborah at age 18 decided to return to California. Making her way in a cutthroat business with an acquired grit and natural talent, Deborah managed to achieve modest success in popular music. Entirely on her own, she snagged some recording studio work in commercials and radio programming. Her high point occurred with the 1968 filming of an Original Star Trek Episode, The Way To Eden, in which she sang to series regular Mr. Spock (actor Leonard Nimoy). That episode has become one of the more memorable Star Trek episodes. It has been released on video, and Deborah's photo in full costume and makeup also appears in Star Trek trading cards. On one of the trading cards Deborah and Spock are playing musical instruments in a "Space Hippie Jam Session." Deborah has recently begun appearing at Star Trek Conventions throughout the country, signing autographs for the loyal fans. When Deborah returned to the East in 1969 she put her singing career on hold when she married and raised her daughter, Rain, now 30, and a recent graduate of the School of Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. After a period as a homemaker, Deborah returned to singing doing a variety of background and studio work. Then in 1984, misfortune struck. Deborah was afflicted with TMJ syndrome, an ailment that effects the muscular functions of the jaw. "It was excruciating." She says, "any movement of my jaw caused pain, and it hurt most when I would sing." As the condition worsened, it became obvious that her singing career was over. After examining her options, Deborah concluded that her greatest talents were singing and painting portraits. With one career over, she prepared for another. She inquired about setting up a kiosk to sell her portraits and paintings. The small business that she had envisioned in 1985 as a three month, pre-Christmas stint, caught on and flourished in its original location for ten years. In 1997 Deborah established DeFazio Artworks in Indianapolis, It has grown quickly and she now has a nationwide clientele that she has developed over the years. Working from live sittings or photographs, Deborah paints portraits on commission in Pastels or Oils. Her Fine Art Portraits are owned by a variety of people. Some of her more notable portraits are owned by Indy racecar driver Scott Goodyear, country singer Randy Travis, a United States Congressman and several corporate C.E.O.s. One of Deborah's current projects is painting Star Trek characters. She also has recently finished portraits of 12 antique cars for an Auto Museum and was commissioned to recreate the photos of the seven founders of a National Sorority. Deborah has also illustrated three children's books. Although she has painted many subjects including people, dogs, horses, cars, boats and planes, Deborah's favorite subject is the human face. "I am still amazed at the small nuances in people's faces that make us all look so different," she said. "We all have two eyes, a nose and a mouth, but every person is an individual."It is such a challenge to capture the spirit of the person being painted. When you get it right and the portrait reflects the natural beauty and dignity of the person, it is very rewarding." Over the many years since the TMJ first disabled Deborah's singing career, it has slowly disappeared. Deborah is now able to sing again. Her singing is done in her church choir. It has been a very welcome return to singing and she now has the chance to enjoy her singing ability without the commercial pressures. When asked if she ever misses her singing career she said, "I have no regrets. One door closed and another one opens. I love my career as an artist, and I love making people happy with my artwork."