Donn is of Mescalero Apache/Dine’ tribe and is originally from Winslow, Arizona. Graduating from Winslow High School continued his education and in 1980 received a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ. Donn also holds an associate’s degree in computer graphics, which he received in 1999 from The Art Center in Albuquerque, NM as well as a certificate in the art of faux at Barth’s Faux Studios in Las Vegas, NV.
Donn now works in Santa Fe, NM as an interior finisher which entails doing murals, Venetian plaster, stains and is able to mimic marble on ordinary dry wall from the use of latex house paints.
Though Donn has been doing his art all his life, took the plunge in 1987 to pursue a fulltime career in the arts. Starting out doing charcoal drawings at a very young age went on to pastel drawing and now does oil paintings on gallery wrapped canvases. Donn admits that what he likes about the canvases is it requires no frame, which means it’s ready to hang and in his words, “has that contemporary look”.
In 1987 when Donn first started his career in the arts, was moved to doing a series of pastel drawings which later became to be known as “The Blanket Series”. This entailed a young child wrapped in a Pendleton blanket with a deep black background. Donn states, “Each of the elements you see in the drawing has a certain meaning for me. For instance, the background will always be black, meaning darkness and uncertainly. And when I was a child, I was afraid of the dark and I know most children are. Therefore the blanket means protections and security. With an overall meaning of, though I live in a conflicting troubled world, I live with confidence and hope. And the blanket is a symbol of that trust and all that is good.