From J.R.R. Tolkiens' The Lord of the Rings to Gericault's Raft of the Medusa, Donato Giancola balances modern concepts with figurative realism in his paintings to bridge the worlds of contemporary and historical narrative arts. His influences encompass artistic performances at the Brooklyn Academy of Music to pilgrimages to museums around the world - including the Uffizzi, Prado, Louvre and Hermitage. Donato recognizes the significant cultural role played by visual art and makes personal efforts to contribute to the expansion and appreciation of the narrative genre that extend beyond his clients and exhibitions. To those ends, the artist teaches at the Illustration Master Class and mentors online through the SmArt School. Donato also appears at various institutions, seminars, and conventions, from San Diego to Rome to Moscow, performing demonstrations in oil paint and lecturing on his aesthetics.
Born in 1967 and raised in Colchester, Vermont, USA, art was always a passion for Donato. Wintery and stormy afternoons were filled drawing, creating art for games, and constructing minature figurative dioramas. Love of imaginative play dominated his childhood, both indoors and out. At the age of twenty Donato enrolled in his first formal art class, beginning his professional training. Technical skills and aesthetics were further developed while attending Syracuse University from 1989-1992. Immediately after graduating Summa Cum Laude with a BFA in Painting, Donato moved to New York City to immerse himself in the inspired and varied art scene found there.
Formative years in the early nineties in New York City were spent as the studio assistant to the preeminent figure painter Vincent Desiderio. Long days of study in the museums and galleries of New York fostered his love and appreciation of classical figurative art. Donato continues his artistic development by visiting museums and gallery exhibitions regularly, analyzing original artworks first hand, attending life drawing sessions, and seeking challenges within every new project. Pilgrimages to major museums and art institutions are his preferred reason to travel.
Since beginning a professional career in 1993, Donato's list of clients has grown to include major book publishers and collectors in New York to concept design firms on the West Coast: notables include The United Nations, LucasFilm, National Geographic, CNN, DC Comics, Microsoft, The Village Voice, Playboy Magazine, US Postal Service, Wizards of the Coast , Scholastic, Simon&Schuster, Tor Books, Random House, Time/Warner, The Scifi Channel, Milton-Bradley, and Hasbro. Merits range from the prestigious Hamilton King Award from the Society of Illustrators to twenty-three Chesley Awards from the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists, three Artist Hugo Awards for outstanding professional work from the World Science Fiction Society, notable awards from the Art Renewal Center, and six silver and two gold medals from the juried annual Spectrum: The Best of Contemporary Fantastic Art.
Donato lives with his wife and two daughters in Brooklyn, New York.