Don Gardi, Aurora Member Since November 2011 Artist Statement A native of Warren, Ohio, Don Gardi has been painting and drawing prolifically since early childhood. During high school Don was introduced to the medium of pastels by his high school art teacher, a major influence in his love of the medium. Don’s teacher would take him out for weekend plein air painting in the Amish pastoral rural communities of North Eastern Ohio. This is where his love of the medium and landscape painting first began. One of Don’s pastels paintings won the national Scholastic Arts award-winning gold medal. He was also granted the Frances Larkin scholarship award in 1987. After high school, Don attended The Art Institute of Pittsburgh and received a degree in Graphic Arts. He also won a first place gold medal and best in show for a pastel painting at The Art institute of Pittsburgh’s student art show. After graduating, Don moved to Kansas City for 10 years, and worked in and managed art departments as a commercial artist. During that time he did design work for many fortune 500 companies. Among those companies were; General Motors, ESPN, and the U.S Olympic Committee during the 1996 Olympics. During this time Don continued to paint part time however, not professionally. In 1998 he returned to Ohio where he first fell in love with the pastel medium and the rural landscapes of his youth. He also wanted to be closer to his family who still lived in the area as well. During this time he worked as a graphic artist and art director for Cleveland advertising agencies. Don began Gardi Design in 2004. The experience of working and running his own business has proved to be yet another valuable experience in his career. In 2010 to further his career he began painting full time as a fine artist. An emerging landscape pastel painter, he continues to develop and refine his distinctive artistic vocabulary and style, building on an early foundation. Beneath the surface, the focus of his work is philosophical and spiritual. His paintings and drawings, are inspired by principles of timeless truth, beauty, wisdom, and love. Creating an intoxicating mood of peacefulness, Don reveals universal feelings in an instance of time, captured forever with subtlety and sensuality to the fore. Aided by the sheer simplicity of each composition, the result is tasteful and sophisticated. Don enjoys his elective time with family and close friends, reading, studying, writing, sketching, traveling, playing the guitar and spending time in the great outdoors. Artist Statement My focus and ambition for my work is to explore the universal connections we all share. I choose to do this through my paintings and through the use of the beauty and medium of pastels. To capture the change of the seasons that are like notes to a song that keep changing. The fire of maples in autumn. The silence of snowfall in winter. Like the sunlight that shines, like the fragrance of the rose no single word defines. We are tuned to the sound that displays all creation. My goal is to express these profound universal experiences through my work. I don’t ever expect to ever arrive at any destination because there is no destination to this journey only the travel log of our own interruptions of the journey we have had. I hope to allow the viewer if not for a moment to enter my mind and soul and that of the interconnectedness that all mankind shares with each other with mother earth the universe and with God.