Meet Donald Earley, a Monroe County resident and former New Yorker whose work has bridged “fine art” and fashion illustration since 1969. He has often been described as an “artist’s artist” and his skills include painting, drawing, etching, drypoint, sketching, lithography and sculpture works in glass and bronze. Currently, Donald is teaching Art Foundation, Fashion Illustration and Drawing as well as Printmaking at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Doha Qatar campus.
Some of his freelance commissions include Bonwit Tellers, the New York Times, Vogue Patterns, and Calvin Klein.
Some of his freelance commissions include Bonwit Tellers, the New York Times, Vogue Patterns, and Calvin Klein. Donald received his training at FIT and says his instructor, Mrs. Frances Neady, had a profound impact on his life. She taught him how to get inside himself and be able to express it in his art. “This was a turning point” and where he realized that he must dedicate his life to art. Donald says he will always be a student of the arts. He shares, “When I look at my work, I feel like I am living on the edge of life holding a butterfly net trying to catch dreams as they go by – I am a romantic.” Learn more about Donald with our Q&A:
My work is a mixture of symbolism and impressionism with a touch of surrealism.
How do you describe your art?
My work is a mixture of symbolism and impressionism with a touch of surrealism. I call my art “awareness art” …it is a mixture of social unrest and a political injustice movement, a form of communication that is borderline between an act of expression and through touch. My style of painting is on what the object is depicted as ‘simi-realistically’ with an emphasis on expressionism with a little hostile and alternating my colors are unrealistic but expressionist. Sometimes often dark is an expressionist feeling.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
My greatest accomplishment has been working for VCU Richmond and VCU Doha Qatar for over 30 years, knowing that I helped my students down the path of excellence in their future. Teaching students of the arts come alive and look at their wonders as to why it does not look like ideas in the mind.
Inspiration finds me, it may sound crazy however, inspiration is around us at every turn.
How do you find your inspiration?
Doubt is our greatest enemy of creativity. I am always asked how I find my inspiration. Inspiration finds me, it may sound crazy however, inspiration is around us at every turn. When I lived in Qatar for 19 years, I wandered through the streets looking for that inspiration. In search of inspiration, I am sitting on a rock. There I question my ability, trying to find the truth in myself, as well as my work. I see, but I do not understand. Can I find the truth? I am excited — this is my inspiration. Questions and answers — I must question all. These are my dreams, my loneliness, and my peace of mind. I sit and wonder — with all of this I draw. When I look at my work, I feel like I am living on the edge of life, holding a butterfly net, trying to catch dreams as they go by — I am a romantic.”
I have always told my students to not forget your purpose in life.
What advice do you have for other artists?
I have always told my students to not forget your purpose in life. There is an excellent book to read “Fear In Art” is worth the read. Keep working; surround yourself with positive people and hold on to your visions of yourself. And take a course in business, 90% of hard work, 20% talent.
Do you have any upcoming events?
Yes, my work is at the Group Show (The Past, Present & Future), Zeitgeist Gallery in Nashville TN thru August 21st. My work will also be displayed at the WV Juried Exhibition in Charleston WV Cultural Center from November 14th until February 14, 2022.
If you would like to learn more about the artist, visit donaldearley.com, pinkpirateboutique.com, and earleygallery.net. If you have an interest in purchasing or commissioning his work, contact Don at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 304-832-6268
– HashtagWV #134. August 2021.
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