Andy Donato – A Political Rembrandt

Andy Donato is an artist. Andy draws cartoons about politics. Andy likes to paint. Andy is from Brampton.

When I was a kid, I had the opportunity to meet Andy Donato, the nationally-famous editorial cartoonist from the Toronto Sun who signed his work with a bird. He came to our classroom at the invitation of our teacher to talk to us about his love of drawing and painting. It was a positive experience that I now realize had an impact on my life.

Editorial cartoonists have a talent for putting on paper, via a sketch of caricatures of the political actors of that day, the prevailing opinions of the public at large. These cartoons often “hit the nail on the head” and can be quite accurate in their depiction of events; they cut through the spectrum of opinions to get to the heart of an issue.

During the 1960’s, Andy Donato worked his craft at the Toronto Telegram, a right-leaning publication. Then in 1971, he joined the ranks of the Toronto Sun, where he has been ever since, making us laugh at the political happenings taking place here at home, provincially, and across the country.

His work is a reflection of the political scene of the day; a portrait of the public’s opinion propagating through the airwaves. Not only does his work inform us, but it also helps to shape our opinions, crystalizing an idea within an image that perhaps we were unable to articulate ourselves.

His cartoons make you think. You may or may not agree with the message, but his cartoons have impact, and I believe they play a role in helping Canadians understand the issues, encouraging them to become more involved in the political process.

Like Rembrandt, Andy Donato depicts the interesting people of our time; not in oil or with subtle changes of shade and colour, but with stark wit and a well defined pencil line.

In his private time Andy paints landscapes, be they scenes from Brampton, or other rural and urban settings from around the world that capture his eye. Perhaps one day, his work will hang on a museum wall; I would like to be the first to line up and see it.

In a nod to his Brampton roots, Andy Donato recently received a star on Brampton’s Walk of Fame. Next time you are in Downtown Brampton, be sure to look for it.

In this very special episode of Brampton Focus, we talk to Andy Donato about his career as an editorial cartoonist; about how he did it. We also learn about his favorite subjects, and discuss the political landscape as it stands today.

You can see examples of Andy Donato’s paintings here.


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