Paul Byron Downs was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. His love of the great outdoors was encouraged and cultivated by his family. He joined the Boy Scouts at a young age and worked his way up to achieve the highest honor of Eagle Scout, where he learned how to camp, cook, and protect and identify plants and animals. At home, he learned from his parents how to landscape gardens and lawns and how to repair, tear down, and rebuild houses so that they could be resold and rented for their maximum value. His grandparents were also a great influence in Paul’s life. His grandmothers taught him how to cook classic southern dishes and how to create art, while his grandfathers taught him how to hunt, fish, care for cattle and tend horses.
As early as high school, Paul was hard at work. He delivered the USA Today newspaper and worked for a privately owned business. During this time, Paul would help his parents at their newest rental property on the weekends, and even found time to play football, basketball, tennis and baseball. With so many skills under his belt, Paul went to The University of Georgia to pursue a degree in business. After becoming a model, Paul switched to art history since he knew he would be traveling through Europe where he would be steeped in culture and aesthetics.
Paul’s modeling career took him to Milan, Paris, and London. He did print work for such notable publications as Vogue, W Magazine, Details and Arena, along with runway shows for influential designers likes Richard Tyler, Steven Sprouse and Romeo Gigli. Around this period Paul became immersed in the world of art and design. His new found love of art and design lead him to construct an installation at PS1 and design a room at the art inspired hotel, The Creek, in Miami. After three years of modeling, he decided to take a break from modeling and reignite his passion for cooking. He worked as a chef in Atlanta for a year and then moved back to New York City where he currently resides.
In New York, Paul embraced and improved his skills and passions. He used his entrepreneurial and restaurant skills to help open Jean Georges’ The Mercer Kitchen and Tyler Florence’s restaurant, Cafeteria. He served as an auditor and manager at Ian Schrager’s, Morgans Hotel, and General Manager at Republic Restaurant. Of course, Paul’s appetite for life was not satisfied with these successful ventures alone, so he also resumed modeling and creating his own art as well. His paintings, woodwork, sculptures, and installations have been displayed in small private shows and larger group shows all around the city. Patrons include the Tisches and the late Farrah Fawcett.
The Basics is not a new creation for Paul. It is the natural accumulation of what he has learned and cultivated over the years. He is excited about sharing all of the tools of the trade that are in his belt. Paul has an eye for details and a thorough knowledge of the outdoors, the kitchen, and the art world. Combined with seasoned common sense, Paul is no stranger to success in everyday life.