We have just recently been lucky enough to have access to a real treasure trove of fantastic and in some cases fantasmagorical images by Don Maitz. When we first heard of this opportunity, we immediately bough his book, "First Maitz; Selected Works by Don Maitz" and perused the pictures and got a feel for the humor and creativity of the artist.
Over a thirty year career, Don Maitz has produced imaginative paintings that have amazed a worldwide audience. The iconic pirate character he created for Captain Morgan Spiced Rum is his most widely recognized work.
Most Maitz paintings present a story to viewers, who respond to the enticement and allure of the image. Use of design and color shape a mood, enhanced by details which combine to entertain the viewer, and engage them with the visual experience. Most works are painted with oil colors, in the painting techniques used by the old masters. Sometimes, experimentation and innovation give rise to unique applications of traditional media.
A native of Plainville, CT showed an early interest in drawing and received initial art training from the Famous Artist’s Correspondence School at age thirteen.
Maitz attended the Paier School of Art, Hamden, CT beginning in 1971 after taking evening figure study at the University of Hartford. Maitz was offered work in the comics industry but chose to remain at the Paier School graduating in 1975 at the top of his class. The school offered a fifth year study program where Maitz honed his portfolio and took additional figure classes. His instructors included: Ken Davies, noted still life and trompe l’ oeil painter, Rudolf Zallinger noted muralist and Time Life Books contributor, and Leonard Fisher fine artist and book illustrator, both of the latter honored by Pulitzer Prizes for their art. Student work in the portfolio Maitz produced at the Paier School of Art hung at the Society of Illustrators Student Exhibition and other paintings within this portfolio were soon reproduced by New York City publishing houses as book jackets and magazine covers. This precocious start led to over two hundred commissions from numerous book publishers, and a list of the most prestigious awards that recognize art in the industry.
In 1980 Maitz assisted in organizing and promoting the first group exhibition of fantastic art in an American art museum. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Painters exhibition held at the New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT opened February 24th 1980 to receive record crowds and an extended showing. The small museum boasts an impressive collection and was a favorite source of inspiration for Maitz as an emerging local artist.
In 1985 Maitz accepted a guest teaching position for two semesters at the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, FL. After returning to Connecticut and his publishing assignments, 1989 found Maitz back in Florida to marry Janny Wurts, author and artist, on Casey Key and in early 1990, the couple settled in Sarasota, Florida where they maintain their home and studio today.
Maitz’s amazing artwork can be found on book covers, in art book collections, in and on magazines and gracing licensed products. Original art can be found hanging at museums, and within private collections.