Donald Zolan began painting at the age of three, and knew that he was going to devote his life to art. He began painting in oils by age eight, and won a summer scholarship to the Art Institute of Chicago before age 10.
"Donald had this wonderful childhood growing up in Brookfield, Ill.," says Jennifer Zolan, president of The Zolan Company. "It was the quintessential ideal family life and many of his inspirations come from his own happy childhood memories and from within."
"All of my paintings reawaken moments of my own wonderful childhood that I never want to forget," says Donald Zolan. "I am continually rediscovering the innocent and the curious child inside of me."
Donald Zolan was classically trained in oils in the style of the Old Masters. Using these techniques, he achieves luminosity and aliveness glowing skin tones, using the interplay of light and shadows in the backgrounds. He uses underpainting and glazing techniques to make his children and Santa Claus art come alive.
"People always remark about the faces and the play of light in the artwork," says Jennifer Zolan.
The artist creates artwork across several categories including kids, Santa, co-branded art pieces and inspirational materials. Currently, the Zolan brand has more than 200 designs in 10 licensed categories including co-branded children's art with John Deere, International Harvester, Collegiate, Radio Flyer, Shirley Temple and the Yankees.
Recently, Zolan has created children's plates for the Materia Medica in Russia; My Favorite Farm Animals, a children's board book published by Harvest House Publishers; a 2012 children's calendar published in Spain; and bank cards issued by the St. Petersburg Bank in Russia. His Santa Claus artwork will appear in new product categories, including throws from Sykel Enterprises, gift bags by Jean Marie Creations, puzzles from Sunsout, John Deere Christmas puzzles from Masterpieces Puzzle Company and posters by SM Martinelli.
This year, Zolan expanded its co-brand agreement with International Harvester. New Zolan Farmall-IH licensed products will include collectibles, kids' melamine sets, canvas prints, fabrics and fleece. Harvest House Publishers will release a new gift book, Zolan's Angel Among the Roses. The book will hit stores this year. The inspirational line is in product development for gifts and collectibles and posters by SM Martinelli in Brazil.
"The outpour of creativity doesn't come from the surroundings but rather from the essence of an artist's soul," says Donald Zolan.