Joan of Arc Donato Giancola 42″ x 24″ Oil on Panel 2012
Too often in my illustration career I have been called upon to interpret characters and illustrate narratives that do not synchronize with my internal ethics and morals. Not to say I have created immoral and beyond the bounds art (ok, maybe once or twice in my lifetime) but the commissions undertaken, and therefore the art produced, did not truly reflect the aesthetics and voice of who I was as an artist. I was unknowingly happy to suppress these issues early in my career because the chance to work on any commission trumped the need to share these internal thoughts.
As the years passed, and my career matured, I began to leverage more of the content of my commercial commissions back to my aesthetics. This did not occur over night, but rather has been a slow process over the past decade and a half as I began to realize that the voice I could speak with was one which was attractive to a certain type of audience. Gone was my need to please every single one of my commercial clients, and replaced with the desire to create passionately driven personal masterpieces. I wanted to be engaged creating the best work I possibly could, both technically and artistically.
In order to achieve these goals I needed to be so drawn into the process, that no hurdle of labor or time would impede this motivation. These works would stand as testaments to my internal artistic voice, paintings I would be proud to share regardless of the passage of time, style, and trends.
When I look back at these images, I realize I have been painting the types of people whom I see myself admiring – my Heroes. Regardless of the veneer of social and cultural content you see layered into these works- from robots to wizards to astronauts to comic characters – their underlying actions and interactions are the way I would like to live in the world. Their compassion for others and their steadfast defense of their beliefs are traits I hold in high esteem. I know I am not living up the deeds of my heroes, but it does give me comfort to know that I have given voice to very passionate emotions and morality.
Paint your Heroes, and make this world a better place.
Captain America – Duty Donato Giancola 44″ x 33″ Oil on Panel
Mercury: The Messanger Donato Giancola 36″ x 48″ Oil on Panel 2007
Sorrow Donato Giancola 27″ x 33″ Oil on Panel 2014
Taming of Smeagol Donato Giancola 36″ x 48″ Oil on Panel 2011
Uther and Arther: A Father’s Love Donato Giancola 16″ x 20″ Oil on Panel 2004
J.R.R. Tolkien Donato Giancola 42″ x 37″ Oil on Panel 2012
Born in 1967 and raised in Colchester, Vermont, USA, art was always a hobby for Donato as a young man, he would steal away into the basement of his parents' home to work on drawings, create his own maps for the game Dungeons & Dragons, paint figurines, read comics, and construct model tanks and dinosaurs. His love of imaginative play dominated his childhood, both indoors and out. At the age of twenty Donato enrolled in his first formal art class, the beginning of his professional training. Immediately after graduating Summa Cum Laude with a BFA in Painting from Syracuse University in 1992, Donato moved to New York City to immerse himself in the inspired and varied art scene. Formative years in the early nineties were spent as the studio assistant to the preeminent figure painter Vincent Desiderio, and long days of study in the museums of New York. It was then that his love and appreciation of classical figurative art took hold. He continues his training even now, visiting museums regularly, learning from and sometimes copying original paintings by Rembrandt or Rubens, attending life drawing sessions with illustrator friends and constantly challenges himself within each new project. Pilgrimages to major museums are his preferred reason to travel.
Donato has released a revised hard cover compilation of his works on the theme of J.R.R. Tolkien, Middle-Earth: Journeys in Myth and Legend from Dark Horse Comics.