Andy Donato (1937 –)

Andy Donato was born in Toronto on January 13, 1937. His father, Luciano, was an Italian immigrant from the town of Fardella in the Southern province of Potenza. Andy worked at his father’s grocery store, but his dislike of it made it more rewarding to do what he liked to do best: drawing and painting.

Read More

When Andy was thirteen, his principal gave him permission to attend a beginner’s painting class at Danforth Collegiate and Technical School, which he would attend and graduate from in 1955. After his graduation, he worked by day at the T. Eaton Company as a layout artist while also working nights for a small art studio that later became his full-time job. This experience allowed him to eventually open his own art studio.



Andy then joined the art department at the Toronto Telegram working as a graphic artist in the promotion department. In 1968, he was appointed Art Director and began cartooning on a part-time basis. His first political cartoon addressed the highly contested debate over the new Canadian flag that greatly divided Canadians.



The Telegram closed its doors on October 30th of 1971 which gave Andy the opportunity to focus solely on his painting. He exhibited his work in two sold-out exhibitions at the Kar Gallery in Toronto. This was a turning point for him as he decided to dedicate himself to painting full-time.



Later Andy was approached by some former Telegram colleagues who endeavered to launch a new tabloid newspaper called The Toronto Sun. Andy joined the paper in November of 1971 and held the position of Art Director. He was responsible for creating two cartoons each week which increased to a five cartoons per week in three years. In 1985 and 1986, he served as president of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. Despite this hefty workload, Andy kept up with his love painting and had exhibited his work worldwide.



Some of Andy’s most famous work featured lampoons of the former Prime Ministers Pierre Elliot Trudeau and Joe Clark. Most politicians consider it an honour to be featured in his editorialized cartoons. Many of them requesting the original drawings of which they are featured.



In 1997, Andy took an early retirement and relinquished his job as the Sun’s Art Director.  He continued his cartooning job on a freelance basis, leaving enough room to focus on his painting.



Donato is best known for his painting style that he calls “bent realism.” His exaggerated angled paintings of Toronto alleyways, urban landscapes and city streets are delightful and relatable.



In Italy, the town of Fardella celebrates his art at the Donato Art Museum.  In North America, Andy has had multiple exhibitions in Toronto, New York, London, and Johannesburg and continues his legacy of painting to this day.