Born in the Baltimore in 1969, Donald Gladden was encouraged to explore his desire to draw from the young age of 6. He began his formal training at Cardinal Gibbons High School under the extremely critical eye of the man who helped shaped his idea of what it meant to be an artist, Dr. Frank Katz. It was Dr. Katz who told Donald that no matter what he chose to do in life he would never feel complete unless it involved his artistic talents.
It was Dr. Katz that recommended Donald seek to further his education at the Maryland Institute College of Art. After his time at M.I.C.A., Donald looked for a way to make a living and became a firefighter in Montgomery County, MD. During his 20 years as a firefighter, he explored other ways to draw, paint and sculpt.
Beginning with tattooing, transitioning to airbrushing, and landing in leather tooling. Now retired, he has returned to his first love of drawing and painting. Through his work he wants to explore not only the beauty of our world but also the problems in our society. “We need to see our incredible compassion along with the injustices, our propensity for love engulfed by our predisposition to fear...” Donald hopes his work will cause the viewer to ponder their own role in, and contribution to the human condition.