Born in 1967 and raised in Colchester, Vermont, USA, art was always a passion for Donato, incessantly drawing, creating art for games, and constructing miniature 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, thus beginning his professional training. Technical skills and aesthetics furthered 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 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 paintings from historical artists, 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.
University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont. College of Engineering and Business Administration, electrical engineering, 1985-88.
Freelance Illustration & Portraiture, Clients include National Geographic, Microsoft, Vivendi/Universal, LucasArts, The Village Voice, CNN, Free Masons of Philadelphia, Milton-Bradley, Hasbro, DC Comics, Playboy, The SciFi Channel, All-American Television, Danbury Mint, Franklin Mint, Avon Books, Ballantine, Bantam, Berkley, Penguin, Random House, Scholastic, Sega, Simon & Schuster, Tor Books, Warner, Iron Crown Enterprises, Five Rings Publishing, and Wizards of the Coast. 1993 to present.