for winning this year's Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist!
Donato is one of the best and most influential artists to have entered the field in the last fifteen years. He attacks each and every assignment to the fullest of his capabilities, often working much harder than the commissioned project requires. Right from the beginning of his career he was pushing his own abilities and pushing the standards of the field along with him. He never shies away from unusual perspectives, multiple characters, or potentially difficult problems to solve. I remember him calling me a few years ago and asking if it was okay to paint one of our covers all in white just to set up a new challenge for himself. He did and its a beautiful painting.
Not only are his artistic abilities unquestionable, he is always open to share is approach and help others. For as long as I've known him, he has given many helpful demos and slide lectures -- often focusing, not just on his own artwork but, on his methods and people that influence him. And trust me when I say he's been a remarkable influence on the field. I get tons of samples from young artists every day. It is clear that most of the new generation of artists are studying his work and are struggling to make it part of their own language.
I've often said that the best part of my job is getting to work with the people involved. Over the years, Donato has become a good friend. It was a great professional and personal joy for me to hear his name called out as the winner. Normally I take a more neutral stance on these things since I tend to work with many of the nominees. This years list was strong, all of them deserving...but some have won it many times in the past while others are still fairly new to the field. I was thrilled to see John Picacio and Stephan Martiniere on the list of nominees -- I belive that their time will come soon. But for this year, this award for Donato was long overdue and well deserved! Congrats, again, Donato!
Donato's Hugo on my messy desk! I had the great honor to accept it for him, more on that once I can get down a few words about the convention as a whole.