In the early 80’s, his father was into advertising and producing TV commercials. Don was taught drawing and portraiture with a lot of emphasis on the drawing of eyes and hands by his father when he was young.
His frequent visits to Vincent de Pio’s house in Ermin Garcia led him to observe Gig de Pio’s dynamic lines, which greatly influenced Artificio. Gig de Pio’s apprentice, Norman Susteger also taught him a few techniques in painting. Works of portrait and figurative artist Jeremy Lipking, Amorsolo and Manansala were his primary influences.
Eventually, Don studied Fine Arts at University of the Philippines Diliman, majoring in Studio Arts. John Santos III, Pam Yan, Bob Feleo, and Roberto Chabet were his teachers and Ginny Dandan was the Dean in Fine Arts. Chabet was very radical, he taught theory and concepts but his main objective was to open the mind of his students and challenge the mundane.
Don’s mother graduated Chemical Engineering and preferred him to go into Engineering because she wanted him to join her in their family business. After graduating Fine Arts, he helped out in supplying industrial parts and food concessionaries at Laguna Technopark but following the death of his grandmother; the business stopped and caused quite a stir in the family.
In the meantime, he did portraits for clients he met that frequent sketching sessions and art events. He later joined the Filipino Portrait Society where he met many senior artists and picked up a lot of techniques by watching their simple gestures, and simple touches.
Ballerinas were mostly subjects of his early works. Their faces that show innocence were drawn from his imagination put a deep quality and character into his work. Eventually, he put his emotion into paint, whether he was happy or sad at that moment. The butterfly and the cat in the paintings have very personal symbolisms. Born in the 1st day on January, the butterfly in his paintings is a symbol of new beginnings while the cat signifies playfulness and independence. His recent works are more focused in the movement and flow of fabrics. The process of his works involves exploration and indefinite possibilities in which there are no fixed plans to where things fall in its place. It’s about order to chaos, from nothing to something.
“When you become a painter, you become a deeper person because of the way you see life. Chabet opened the door for his students. It was up to us to walk in. Our art is our journey. It’s our personal process. Everything we are is there. You need to search your soul, to find the inner and deeper you. In painting, you can’t cheat yourself. The real you, should always be there. You can cheat sure, but it’ll come out shallow.”