Hazel Dooney presented her first solo exhibition of large paintings in 1997.  One of Australia’s major newspapers, The Courier Mail, stated "Dooney's works... are a fusion of graffiti and pop art... This is her first exhibition and the future is looking good for Brisbane-based Dooney – two of her works have already been sold." 
In an interview with local zine Bigmouth in 1998 Dooney revealed she had dropped out of art school. She said, "I was at university studying fine arts. Did my first painting I really liked and left.” When asked what advice she could offer she replied, "Understanding (sic) the business side… concentrate on developing as an artist. I have a registered business name 'Hazed' and my own mailing list." 
After her first exhibition Dooney was approached by commercial gallerists who offered a solo exhibition with representation.
During this time the artist also worked briefly as a fashion model, represented by Dallys Models (est. by June Dally-Watkins, now Chic Management). She declined an opportunity to sign with a Sydney-based agency in order to focus on art.
Dooney's second solo exhibition was held at a commercial art gallery in 1998. Art critic Peter Anderson wrote, in Brisbane News, "Unlike many pop artists, or those cynical style scavengers of post-modernism, Dooney is not really commenting on the visual style of elements of popular culture; instead, she simply seems to be working with them." 
In The Courier Mail newspaper, Luke Robertson wrote, "Combined with the glistening high-gloss paint, the curvy, suggestive figures seem to simultaneously exude coquettishness and disdain. Perhaps this is a depiction of the two sides of sex: vulnerability and power. Then again, with their seamless perfection and super-real sensuality, perhaps these characters themselves are some-what of a poke at the beauty industry and its insistence on perfection." 
From 1998 to 2001 Dooney produced four solo exhibitions of paintings in high gloss enamel on canvas and custom-made board. 
The artist’s work was first included in a public gallery exhibition in 2001, titled Ready, Set... Go!, presented by Global Arts Link at Ipswich gallery. Dooney’s work was featured in the exhibition catalogue  and included in the Education Kit with a blurb stating: "A lot of people find sport sexy, but this is rarely discussed openly. Nevertheless, energetic activity and physical contact among scantily clad people often excites more than just team loyalties. This painting illustrates the idea of sex in sport, using the slick graphic style that advertising uses to sell a product." 
In 2001 Michael Reid wrote, in the Weekend Australian newspaper, "Contemporary artists such as Peter Booth, Hazel Dooney... Jeffrey Smart... are all members of a select breed of artists that, for the benefit of all concerned, cast a somewhat critical and even destructive eye over their artwork. These artists do not turn out bad art." 
During the same year, Hazel Dooney was invited to join nine, very well established, middle-aged Australian male artists – including John Olsen, Tim Storrier, David Larwill and Robert Jacks – on a privately funded artists ‘expedition’ to central Australia. This unusual journey was the subject of an ABC documentary, The View From Here , directed by Liz Jones and a large coffee table book, William Creek & Beyond . The resulting artworks toured museums and regional galleries around Australia. 
After the William Creek & Beyond expedition Dooney suffered a nervous breakdown. The artist resolved to find a way to continue independent of those working within the traditional system whom she felt had failed her as an artist and failed to respect her basic rights as a woman.
The artist commissioned a website for her work in 2003, designed by Kate Linton with Yart content management system by Petras Surna. 
Dooney’s final exhibition as a gallery-represented artist, Self Vs. Self, was held in 2004. Describing the solo exhibition of high gloss enamel paintings and works on paper, art critic Ashley Crawford wrote, in The Sunday Age Agenda, "These works carry the subversive and slick trademarks of contemporary consumer culture. Her work comes across as an intense exploration of personal eroticism filtered through a candy-coloured palette." 
In the same year, curator Michael Desmond (of Powerhouse Museum, National Gallery of Australia and National Portrait Gallery) wrote about the artist's work on paper, "The fine grain, flat planar surface of paper when used with sympathetic media and the relatively small scale conspire to effect a relationship between viewer and work that has an immediacy and significantly high level of intimacy. Works like Self destruct 2004 by Hazel Dooney use this to advantage." 
In 2005 the artist walked away from the traditional commercial gallery system and began to manage her career independently by connecting directly with the audience for her work via the internet. She launched a controversial and widely read blog, also titled Self Vs. Self, in 2006. Both the artist’s blog and website are archived in the National Library of Australia's PANDORA electronic collection. 
On July 5th, 2006, the artist was featured on the cover of the Business section of The Age newspaper under the heading "State-of-the-art-selling rivals play to the galleries". The first paragraph of the feature stated, "Artist Hazel Dooney, frustrated with the traditional gallery system she believes is failing young artists, turned to the internet two years ago to prove she could succeed on her own." The article detailed Dooney's use of the 'net at the time of a collaborative exhibition with progressive gallerist Andy Dinan (who did not represent the artist) at Melbourne Art Rooms, titled Venus In Hell. Journalist Nabila Ahmed wrote, "The Sydney-based artist's website does not sell her pieces directly, but works as the point of contact between her and prospective clients, who can order unsold pieces from her library or commission paintings." 
Of Dooney’s exhibition of paintings in watercolour on paper, art critic Ashley Crawford wrote, in The Sunday Age Preview, “With her earlier work, one wondered whether she could in fact draw. Venus In Hell removes all doubt." 
Dooney's first autobiographical essay, Life Study, was published in literary journal Griffith Review’s issue The Next Big Thing in August 2016.  The artist also designed the cover. In September, her essay was published in full by The Australian Financial Review, retitled by the newspaper as In front is a precipice, behind are wolves: Hazel Dooney walks the razor's edge between respect and celebrity in today's art world. 
Among other articles, a major feature on the artist by author Matthew Condon, OAM, was published in QWeekend magazine, an insert in The Courier Mail newspaper, in September 2006. 
In late 2007, Hazel Dooney was the only young female artist with works included in the auction Modern and Contemporary Australian Art held at Christie’s in London. Along with major works by Brett Whitely, Arthur Streeton, Frederick McCubbin, Sydney Nolan, Arthur Boyd, Fred Williams and Tracey Moffatt, the sale included two modest early works by Dooney. Each sold for GBP £10,000 (converting to approx' $A23,000 each at the time).  
The December 2007 issue of Vogue Australia included Hazel Dooney – along with actresses Toni Collette, Rose Byrne and Isla Fisher, industrial designer Marc Newson, and fashion models Gemma Ward and Catherine McNeil – in a pictorial entitled Australia’s Most Wanted (Home-grown actors, artists, musicians and designers who are making their mark on the world). The accompanying text about Dooney was written by author Clare Press. 
A painting by Dooney, titled Dangerous Career Babe: The Aviatrix, was included in Christie's 2008 sale of Modern And Contemporary Australian And South African Art in London. It sold for GBP £14,375 (the equivalent of $A32,701 at the time). 
From 2009 onwards the artist experienced health problems related to her use of high gloss enamel paint and solvents. This caused numerous production issues and delays, further complicated by worsening symptoms of bipolar disorder (diagnosed when she was a teenager).
Dooney moved to Brisbane in mid 2010 to be with her family and father, Tom Dooney, while he was dying. Although initially against his daughter’s career as an artist due to its financial impracticality, Mr. Dooney was supportive of her work. He provided his daughter with a studio at his home in Brisbane in the late 90s, then again in Melbourne during the early 2000s after her nervous breakdown.
In September 2010 Hazel Dooney was filmed in an interview with Michael Short (Chief Editorial Writer at The Age newspaper) for The Zone, an online series for The Age about "the free market for ideas... (covering) media, public policy, philosophy, philanthropy, business, culture design and more, it seeks to bring fresh voices into public debate.” 
Tom Dooney died in January 2011.
In October 2011 Hazel Dooney delivered her first (and, so far, only) public speech at TEDx Brisbane, titled Art and an undistracted conversation – and the dealer is doomed. 
The artist then retreated to focus on private commissions; works delayed due to production and health issues; and to receive regular, scheduled treatment as an inpatient at a private psychiatric hospital for bipolar disorder, trauma and complicated grief.
From June to August in 2012, examples of Dooney's work were included in a major exhibition, Controversy: The Power of Art, at the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery. Curated by Dr Vivien Gaston, it explored "the social and cultural impact of art through examples that have provoked intense response and controversy".  Works shown in this exhibition were loaned to the institution by private collectors who were introduced to the curator by the artist. 
Senior writer for The Age newspaper and author, Chris Johnston, visited Dooney in early 2013 at her studio and at the private psychiatric hospital where she was receiving treatment. He wrote a major feature on the artist, titled Art and anguish, for the Life & Style magazine insert in The Saturday Age newspaper. 
In April 2013, the artist's second autobiographical essay, Broken, was featured in Griffith Review's issue Women & Power.  An edited extract, retitled Bad Education, was published in Good Weekend magazine, an insert in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald newspapers.  Later that year Dooney's full essay was included in The Best Australian Essays 2013, edited by Robert Manne. 
In 2013, Hazel Dooney unveiled a large, monochromatic mural titled Ten Dicta For Young Women Who Are Artists. Spanning half a city block in Melbourne, Australia, it was commissioned by Robert Doyle, the Right Honourable Lord Mayor of Melbourne (2008 – 2018), and was Dooney's first public artwork. 
From 2014 to 2017 the artist continued her focus on private commissions and recovering her mental and physical health during scheduled admissions as an inpatient.
In mid 2017, Dooney's psychiatrist concluded her treatment. The artist moved back to Sydney and began documenting her return to the world – and debuting new works – on Instagram, using the social-networking service as a micro-blogging platform.
In December 2018, independent print magazine She Shoots Film featured new art by Hazel Dooney and her first interview in five years. In the opening paragraph, Aliki Smith wrote, “For more than two decades Hazel Dooney has been recognised as a force to be reckoned with in the art world.” 
Portrait by Bruce Usher
1. “Hazy days on Latrobe”, Westside News, 29 October (p. 1).
2. What’s On. “Strike Me Pink”, The Courier Mail, 23 October (p. 3).
3. ‘Animal’. “Artist Profile Hazed (Hazel Dooney)”, Bigmouth Zine, 16-29 June 1998 (cover and p. 10).
4. Anderson, Peter. "Cultured Pop", Brisbane News, 7-13 October 1998 (p. 31).
5. Robertson, Luke. "Subtle art form", The Courier Mail, 03 October 1998 (p.13).
6. Artist’s CV.
7. Exhibition Catalogue (various authors). "Ready, Set... Go!", Global Arts Link, Ipswich, 18 August to 11 November 2001 (p. 13).
8. Education Kit. "Ready, Set... Go!", Global Arts Link, Ipswich, 18 August to 11 November 2001.
9. Reid, Michael. “Sketching out a scorched canvas policy”, The Art Market, The Weekend Australian (day and month unknown).
10. Jones, Liz (director). “The View from Here”, aired on Sunday Afternoon, ABC Television, 8 June 2003.
11. McGregor, Ken & Crawford, Ashley. Photography by Hari Ho. "William Creek & Beyond: Australian Artists Explore the Outback", Craftsman House, ISBN: 187700426X.
12. Artist’s CV.
14. Crawford, Ashley. "Hazel Dooney: Self v Self", The Sunday Age Agenda, 26 September 2004 (p. 21).
15. Desmond, Michael. "2004 National Works on Paper". Exhibition Catalogue, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, September 2004 (pp. 3-4).
17. Ahmed, Nabila. "State-of-the-art selling rivals play to the galleries", The Age, Business, 5 July 2006 (pp. 1-2).
18. Crawford, Ashley. "Hazel Dooney”, The Sunday Age Preview, 16 July 2006 (p. 25).
19. Dooney, Hazel. "Life Study", Essay, The Next Big Thing, Griffith Review, Edition 13, August 2006 (pp. 275-283).
20. Dooney, Hazel. "Life Study" Retitled "In front is a precipice, behind are wolves: Hazel Dooney walks the razor's edge between respect and celebrity in today's art world", The Australian Financial Review, 15 September 2006 (pp. 6-7).
21. Condon, Matthew. "Self portrait", QWeekend, The Courier Mail, 23 - 24 September 2006 (pp. 24-27).
24. Press, Clare. “Australia’s Most Wanted”, Vogue Australia, December 2007 (p. 238, p. 252).
26. Short, Michael. "The art of Living", article and filmed interview for The Zone, published in The Age Newspaper, The Sydney Morning Herald, The National Times, Media Drive, Brisbane Times, and WA Today, 13 September 2010.
27. Dooney, Hazel. TEDx Brisbane, 13 October, 2011.
28. Alexander, Jane and Gaston, Vivien (curator). "Controversy: the power of art", exhibition catalogue, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, 2012 (pp. 26-27).
30. Johnston, Chris. "Art and anguish", Life & Style insert in The Saturday Age, 12 June 2013 (p. 1, pp. 14-16). Also published online in The Sydney Morning Herald.
31. Dooney, Hazel. "Broken", Memoir, Women & Power, Griffith REVIEW Edition 40, edited by Julianne Schultz. April 2013 (pp. 252-262).
32. Dooney, Hazel. “Bad Education”, an edited extract of “Broken”, Good Weekend Magazine insert in The Age Newspaper and Sydney Morning Herald, 13 April 2013 (pp. 25-27).
33. Dooney, Hazel. "Broken", The Best Australian Essays 2013, edited by Robert Manne. Published by Black Inc., November 2013: (pp. 21-31). ISBN: 9781863956253
34. Johnston, Chris. "Women should take note - the writing's on the wall", The Sunday Age, 1 December 2013 (p. 3).
35. Smith, Aliki. “Hazel Dooney”, She Shoots Film Issue No. 3 Metamorphosis, December 2018: (pp. 76-85 and back cover).