About The Artist
My identity as an artist occurred to me in childhood and has been a defining character feature of my life. Early in my artistic endeavors I decided that my creative expression should communicate positive, uplifting thought and emotion. That being my focus I have pursued beauty as a means to that end. The use of “light reactive media” enhances and enables that quality to take place, creating an interactive and transcendent experience.
Don O’Connor was born in 1952. His artistic aspirations began early in youth when as a toddler he emulated his father who was an artist in the San Francisco Beat scene of the 1950’s. His identity as an artist began as early as kindergarten when he noticed his ability to draw exceptionally well. In developing that skill and a talent for painting, he became the “class artist” during his elementary and high school education. In 1965 his 6th grade art teacher introduced him to acrylics, the media he has predominantly used throughout his career. After high school he learned the fundamentals of stoneware pottery, where he devised his logo based on the chop mark of traditional Asian potters and has used it to sign his art since 1972. By age twenty he had honed his manual dexterity and draftsmanship capability to render and depict realism in drawing and painting. In 1973 he took instruction in abstract expressionistic painting, which opened new vistas of possibilities in his work. In utilizing what he’d learned in that class he did his first series of paintings between 1975-1976; which launched a lifelong quest of artistic exploration and discovery.
In 1984 Don moved to Ellensburg, Washington where he has since resided. The following year he painted the mural for the Roslyn Cafe which gained international recognition as the introduction and conclusion to the television show “Northern Exposure”.
By the early 1990’s Don assessed some twenty years of creative endeavors and found his body of work to be quite eclectic. One attempt to articulate his artistic style led him to describe it as ‘’surreal neoclassic cubist impressionistic abstract representational expressionism’’. During the course of his creative journey he had delved into and explored the list of genres this string of words conjures but felt he had yet to bring his work into a truly meaningful statement. He was deeply inspired and challenged to do so.
In 1995 an artist friend introduced him to a new media he was experimenting with; holographic vinyl. Upon adapting this element as the main component of the creative process his work became focused on collage and mixed media incorporating the use of acrylic paint, gels, mediums and varnishes with metallic foil, paper, mylar and holographic vinyl: a material with a silver finish that reacts to light by projecting from its surface the spectrum of color, ranging from rich intensity to subtle pastel hues. At certain angles of light and depth the illumination appears to be lit from within, with the spectrum changing color and intensity as the light source or the viewer engage in motion, bringing an interactive aspect to an otherwise static work of art. In 2003 he developed a technique to delaminate CD’s by removing the silver spectrum layer from the disk and applying it to a surface, incorporating an aspect of luminous mother of pearl. While exploring, developing and evolving with these contemporary materials his work became less pictorial and moved into the direction of pure composition; abstract, often with a floral theme emulating a varied array of craft such as stained glass, mosaic, tile and jewelry.He refers to his body of work as “light reactive media”.