Donald Zolan, American

 
The first time you meet Donald Zolan, you have the feeling of meeting an old friend whom you just haven't seen for awhile. His warmth, candor and interest in others can disguise the fact that he's one of our nation's most talented and popular artists. A very positive and forward looking man, he's at peace with himself and his world. The love and joy you see in his paintings are a sincere expression of himself . A fifth generation artist, Zolan began drawing at age three, and, by age five, was working in watercolors and winning local competitions. He won his first major art competition at age thirteen and was awarded a scholarship to the prestigious Art Institute of Chicago. By sixteen, he won a scholarship to Chicago's American Academy of Art.

Full-time formal training began after high school with a full scholarship to the American Academy of Fine Art. Upon graduation, he was selected to apprentice with Haddon Sundbloom, a famous illustrator most known for his Coca-Cola Santa Claus. Zolan moved into the field of commercial art, where he was a great success over the next twelve years. His true love, however, was his fine art paintings which were shown in leading galleries and museums around the world. Finally, he established his own gallery in Nantucket.

In 1977, John Hugunin (then President of the Bradford Exchange) visited a Chicago gallery and was so impressed with Zolan's paintings of children that he decided to commission a new work for a collector plate. By the time the two men met to review the project, Hugunin had formed his own company, Pemberton & Oakes. He asked Zolan to create a new painting to launch the company into collector plates.

The resulting work of art - Erik and the Dandelion - was soon Plate of the Year, the first of countless awards Zolan has won as a limited edition collectible artist. Zolan's work soared in popularity with collectors, building Pemberton & Oakes into a major collectibles company and introducing his work to people around the globe. His images were soon licensed on a wide range of products by more than 20 national and international companies, spanning the globe from the Americas, to Europe, to Australia.

In 1994, Zolan began a collaboration with the Danbury Mint, a world-wide leader in collectibles. His works have appeared on plates, dolls, figurines and other fine collectibles. Today, you'll also find his art on checks, labels, puzzles, prints, greeting cards and a range of other quality products, with licensees reading like a virtual "Who's Who" among America's elite businesses. His limited edition prints and original oil paintings are in high demand and are showcased in the finest galleries and museums.

His devotion to capturing the magical moments of childhood reflect back on Zolan's own happy childhood in Brookfield, Illinois. His parents fully supported and nurtured their son's talent, and, by his own admission, Zolan had an idyllic childhood in America's heartland.

In his own words, Zolan expresses his love of children, "I love little children, the way their eyes light up with excitement as they awaken to the world around them. It's a marvelous time of life, filled with wonderment. A time when each new discovery is another magical moment."

This love and joy is reflected in his works. The unique combination of a subject matter so close to his heart and incredible talent, nurtured through technical training and years of experience, make Zolan's paintings among the most popular in the world.

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