Born in 1967 and raised in Colchester, Vermont, USA, art was always a hobby for the artist. It was not until the age of twenty that Donato enrolled in his first formal art class and began his professional education. After graduating from Syracuse University Summa Cum Laude with a BFA in Painting in 1992, Donato moved to New York City to immerse himself in the inspired and varied art scene. Formative years in the early nineties were spent as the studio assistant to the preeminent figure painter Vincent Desiderio, and long days of study in the museums of New York. It was then that his love and appreciation of classical figurative art took hold as his commercial illustration career flourished.
Since beginning his professional career in 1993, Donato’s list of clients has grown to include major book publishers in New York to concept design firms on the West Coast: notables include The United Nations, LucasArts, National Geographic, Scientific American, CNN, DC Comics, Microsoft, The Village Voice, Playboy Magazine, US Postal Service, Wizards of the Coast , Scholastic, Simon&Schuster, Tor Books, Random House, Time/Warner, The Scifi Channel, Milton-Bradley, and Hasbro. Merits range from the Hamilton King Award from the Society of Illustrators in 2008 to twenty Chesley Awards from the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists, three Artist Hugo Awards for outstanding professional work from the World Science Fiction Society, notable awards from the Art Renewal Center, and six silver and three gold medals from the juried annual Spectrum: The Best of Contemporary Fantastic Art.
Donato lives with his wife and two daughters in Brooklyn, New York.