Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Don Staats (July 3, 1938 - June 29, 2020) was an acclaimed Arizona artist with deep creative roots. Many of his family members shared his talent; his grandfather was a potter, his grandmother a world-renowned Ukrainian folk artist, and his father a painter.
Don began his career in 1958 when he opened his first art studio in Phoenix, Arizona. Since then, he has worked with many different media to hone his artistic skills and express his creative spirit. In 1962, Don moved to Los Angeles where he did freelance automotive design until he was hired by Carrol Shelby’s Cobra design group in 1963. Don worked designing signature Cobra cars until 1966 when a near-fatal car crash permanently changed his path.
After a two-year recovery period, Don Staats returned to University of Minnesota and later resumed his art career in Phoenix where he reopened his studio and focussed on bronze casting, oil painting, and jewelry making. It was during this time that Don mastered his metalworking skills for which he is best known today.
Don’s contemporary Southwest jewelry has been collected by art galleries, museums, and individuals since 1970. His work has been featured in numerous publications and has gained a following worldwide.
Part of the appeal of Don’s artistry is his use of many rare, semiprecious gemstones, which he had been collecting for some 40 years. His love for the color, shape, and natural variations in each stone is apparent in his jewelry, which combines materials such as sugilite, coral, lapis, charoite, spiny oyster shell, and turquoise (including Orvil Jack). All of his materials are natural -- never dyed or stabilized. Don Staats hand-polished and placed each stone to create the unique, one-of-a-kind styling that classifies his work.
A proud father of a son and daughter, Don lived in Cornville near Sedona, Arizona with his wife, Deborah, who is also an artist. He worked out of his home studio near Oak Creek where he gained inspiration for his artwork. Don Staats passed away on June 29, 2020 and he is greatly missed. His artistic talents live on and we are proud to continue to carry his work.