After completing his BFA in sculpture (1993-1995) and a summer print-making
workshop in Florence, Italy (1995), Don began sculpting part-time while
partnering in the establishment of Vanguard Sculpture Services, a full service
sculpture foundry (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) where he specialized in the casting
and fabrication of monumental bronze sculpture. In 1997, Don began to focus
on the development of his art work and in 2001 left the foundry business
to pursue sculpting and exhibitions full-time. While making this transition,
Don also taught an Introduction to Welded Sculpture course at the Milwaukee
Institute of Art and Design in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which he taught throughout the
early 2000's, and again in 2019.
In addition to his professional experience as a Sculptor, Artisan, and Teacher,
Don has volunteered with several organizations that have given him unique,
hands-on experience with birds, including many years banding young falcons
with the Wisconsin Peregrine Society (1992 - 2002, and again in 2019) and
as a bird taxidermist at The Milwaukee Public Museum (1992-1994). He is
also an avid bird watcher, and holds a Master class falconry permit.
In the past two decades, Don has exhibited his sculptures across the United
States and abroad. He received the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum's “Master Artist” medal in
2017, has public placements in seven states, and his work can be found
in museum and private collections around the world.
"I sculpt because I enjoy the challenge of manipulating space, I choose birds
as my subject matter because they fascinate me to no end."
Using birds as a point of departure for his welded sculptures, Don explores
the relationship of positive and negative space and manipulates this interplay
to give the impression of life and movement in his work. Although somewhat
abstract, his artwork is firmly based on anatomical accuracy and fidelity to
his subjects character. "I feel you should have an intimate understanding of
your subject matter before you attempt to abstract it. This allows you to select
which characteristics to emphasize, or de-emphasize, to portray your
subject truthfully..without extraneous clutter ".