Donald Gialanella - Public Sculptures and Sculptures
Donald Gialanella

Donald Gialanella

Saint Petersburg, FL

"The whole is greater than the sum of its parts."
Donald Gialanella originally from Maplewood, NJ, now works out of his studio in St. Petersburg, Florida. Donald apprenticed with sculptor Louise Bourgeois after earning a BFA from The Cooper Union in New York City. He worked as a graphics producer at ABC-TV in New York in the 1980’s and received an Emmy for his work on Monday Night Football in 1990. The Dali Museum in St. Petersburg commissioned Donald to create a 17 foot long steel mustache sculpture for the permanent collection in 2016.

In-Depth Look Into The Sculptor's Work Behind The Dali Mustache


What is your favorite material to work with?

"I primarily work in metal, but have done many assemblage sculptures that incorporate other nonmetallic objects as the basic building material. For example, I was commissioned by the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, CA, to create a life size cow made completely out of children’s toys.

A toy drive was held to gather hundreds of toys needed for building the assemblage cow. The drive yielded seven very large boxes of toys that ranged from matchbox cars, dolls and action figures, to transformers, Legos, animals and Sponge Bobs.

I am always on the lookout for materials wherever I go. It’s a bit of an obsession. House sales, garbage cans, the side of the road, flea markets, auctions, auto repair shops and scrap yards are all places where I find interesting objects. Sometimes I buy things in bulk - a gross of spoons or bicycle forks."
Donald GialanellaDonald Gialanella

What do you want people to do or feel when they encounter your creations?

"Ideally, I would like my art to resonate with a wide audience and produce that “wow” moment upon seeing it.

I have a sincere desire to make a positive contribution and connect with viewers who will benefit from the beauty and wonder of a unique visual statement. I am constantly striving to create art that appeals to the human mind and spirit, and to the persistence of a singular artistic vision."
Donald GialanellaDonald Gialanella

What motivates and inspires you?

"Throughout the history of modern sculpture, the innovators have always driven the art form to evolve. From Duchamp and Picasso with their found object “ready mades”, to Di Suvero and Koons with their fearless groundbreaking originality, the cutting edge of sculpture has always been advanced by unique visionary artists.

I am motivated to make some small contribution to the medium by continuing to work on the shoulders of giants."
Donald GialanellaDonald Gialanella

What’s unique about your work?

"Looking at things differently is the role of the artist. Art reflects our culture and offers a new perspective about ourselves and the world we live in. When I see discarded objects, I think about them as raw materials for art. I look at trash differently than the average person.

I work with a wide range of unconventional materials incorporating “green” salvaged and reclaimed objects into the amalgam of my sculptural matrix, ranging from plastic to steel, toys to pots and pans."
Donald GialanellaDonald Gialanella

How do your pieces come to life? Tell us one interesting thing about your creative process?

"I have been working with recycled and reclaimed materials for decades now and can’t put my finger on exactly why I’m drawn to these objects. What I can say is that I have a deep connection to working with odd assemblages of objects, and I enjoy act of shaping metal.

When I begin to work with these materials, I feel the juices flowing and enter into a kind of creative rapture. The process is beyond logic. I can begin working, and something poetic grabs me, and changes me, and the work begins to exist on its own terms. I am there as a medium to guide the process."
Donald GialanellaDonald Gialanella

What funny moments, unexpected surprises, or obstacles have you encountered?

"The greatest impact on my career was made by Louise Bourgeois, who asked me to become her assistant after my graduation from The Cooper Union.

I was both thrilled and apprehensive when Louise asked me to work with her at her Chelsea brownstone. Always the wry provocateur, she tested my resolve on the first day. Ushering me up a flight of stairs, she opened up a closet door and pointed to an inside wall. “You will make a portal,” she said and then walked away. On the floor was a lone pick ax.

When she returned a half hour later and saw the hole I put in her wall, she smiled and said, “You break through a wall without knowing what is on the other side?” She then added a terse, “Very good.”
I made several more portals in the walls of her house over the years. She used to scurry through these odd shaped archways to escape from exasperated gallery owners and art dealers."
Donald GialanellaDonald Gialanella

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