Rembrandt Yard asked the following questions of Don for their 2009 Mens Room Show:
What inspires you to create something new?
Being present and awake to a flood of possibilities. This is mostly visual, although music helps set the mood, pace, rhythm and maybe the palette. I also experience a kind of synergy with some other artists I paint with, which can add punch to both conceptual and process aspects. I go to art markets, galleries, and museums. I read interior design magazines, watch a lot of indie films, go to plays and concerts - all that artsy stuff. Traveling to traditional and off the beaten path destinations. Trains, buses, freighter -- and fifty years ago, hitchhiking.
Where were you born and where did you grow up?
I was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa and raised in Humboldt, Iowa - a small farm community in the Northwest part of the state.
How and when did you become interested in art in the first place?
A fourth grade teacher was particularly influential. My first exhibit was that year at the Iowa State Fair (Seascape). I took John Gnagey's Learn to Draw correspondence course in seventh grade. Throughout Junior High, I spent many hours doing chalk copy work of MAD magazine artwork.
What quote or special thought do you live by?
Try to create or be a part of a little adventure everyday, of an enjoyable sort - easier this past decade, since my focus has been pretty much art.
When and where do you find your strongest inspiration?
Often the presence of other artists each doing their unique thing. I'm not a barn painter, but I respect them.
What CD, book or film has most moved you?
The Italian film, Cinema Paradisio. Several thousand movies ago, my travels to the American West and far beyond began in 10 cent movies at the Humota Theater in Humboldt, Iowa. Robert Lewis Stevenson probably got me on my way to Tahiti and the Marquesas Islands.
Please describe the world where you create your work.
Various studios: my kitchen at home with a view of a small forest and always some kind of music; the large classroom/studio at the Foothills Art Center in Golden; Alice Carol's studio in Lafayette; or the Har-Kanegas studio in Boulder. These are some of the physical places. The eye of my camera, the blue eye shadow on the curly-haired girl from Greece at the market, the decades of drawing I did in the endless meetings of a prior life, and Tory C. drumming anatomy into me. (Tonight we'll spend three hours on the sternocloidal mastoid.)
What do you hope your artwork expresses to others?
Images hopefully with both uniqueness and some kind of familiarity that will capture and hold interest while staying true to my view.
What object, food, or prized possession is always with you?
What is your favorite color?
The Blues -Cobalt, Teal, Cerulean, Turquoise, Ultramarine.
Why is art important for our communities and our world?
Huge question. Mostly a chance to discover, experience, express and share our tiny bits of Mozart. Without art - kind of like the movie Revolutionary Road with everyone wearing the same hat and never taking that trip to Paris. Or Chautauqua, for that matter.
Please finish this thought. Art is like . . .
Art can be like . . .Romance . . . A young Canadian painter I worked with recently said "Aren't we the luckiest people to be doing this [painting]?"