The couple moved to Madison from New York City, where he had a shop of the same name in Brooklyn from 1999 until 2011.
Just before their first child was born, he said, they were driving around, looking for a bigger place to live that they could afford.
“I had been in New York for 26 years and she said, ‘What about Madison?’ And I thought, ‘Why not?’ “
His wife grew up in Oshkosh and he’s originally from Minneapolis. In Madison, they and their sons, 12 and 11, are closer to family.
“So, we came out here for kid-raising purposes,” said Downey, his arms tattooed, and dressed this day in overall shorts with one strap hanging free, five thick gold chains around his neck.
Downey, 61, said his original Victory was so successful all he had to do “was kind of show up.”
It was there, about 15 years ago, that he started drawing on paper cups. Not just doodles, but “elaborate little art pieces … which became quite sought after.”
From cup to canvas
His art has grown since the cup days, and some of Downey’s Madison customers are proud to own his art.
While talking to a visitor one morning, his next two customers were both regulars who have a Downey work displayed in their homes.