ABOUT THE ARTIST

     Don Scafidi, born in New York in 1928, began painting for the very first time in sixth grade at the age of 9 during an after-school art club. His first strokes painted the head of a Native American in oil-based paint that would later be featured on his childhood refrigerator. Don pulls a lot of inspiration for his artwork from his thorough experience at sea. An avid racer and cruiser of offshore sailing vessels, Don graduated from King's Point Merchant Marine Academy in 1949 and would later sail on Liberty Ships, as a Naval Reserve Officer, and in World War II and the Korean War.

 

     Throughout his global maritime career, he owned and operated bulk carriers, tankers, ocean-going tugs, and submersible barges. He would later develop two shipping companies featuring a fleet of 8 ships and 2 ocean towing vessels. Don was an active member of the World Trade Center of New Orleans and served as the Vice President for the United States Merchant Marine Academy's Alumni Association. Additionally, he spent many years serving with the U. S. Department of State as U. S. Maritime Attache' to the United States Embassies in Rome, Italy, and Athens, Greece, overseeing American Flag Shipping in the Mediterranean, the Middle East and all of Africa. He served as a U.S. Delegate to NATO. His vast world travels have accommodated his passion for art, equipping him with an unparalleled understanding of the water that translates seamlessly into the colours and techniques used in his paintings. 

 

     He was the 'show' artist for the now hugely popular Madisonville Wooden Boat Festival in Louisiana from its inception for eight years until departing to cruise the Caribbean. He also competed in the festival having won Best in Show for the 1995 and '96 competitions with his own wooden ketch, Blew Max. He was again invited to create the poster art for the 25th Anniversary Celebration of the Festival. During the late '90s, Scafidi spent three years cruising the Caribbean painting his way up and down the islands on the deck of the Blew Max. He raced in the '98 and 99' Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta and had a sell-out show of his '99 Antigua Classic Scenes.' After dropping anchor in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands in 1999. Don worked from a more traditional studio overlooking Christiansted Harbor. Don Scafidi was a welcome and active member of a large artist community on St. Croix. He is well known for his donations to various institutions there--including Country Day School, Good Hope School, and sailing schools as well as the St. Croix Yacht Club. His works hang in many 'Cruzan' homes and offices.

 

     A recent widower, Don is the father of eight children, has nine grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. He currently spends his time painting between residences in Lake Travis, Austin, Texas, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Don currently has plans to attend his 75th Homecoming Celebration at King's Point United States Merchant Marine Academy in 2024. He is a current member of the American Society of Marine Artists, Don has been commissioned by several maritime museums, and his works hang on many museum walls, including the Battleship USS Alabama, the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum, the Galveston Maritime Museum, the Maritime and Seafood Museum in Biloxi, the New York City Fire Museum and many more. One can visit these museums to see his original paintings. ​

Distinctions:

  • Madisonville Wooden Boat Festival Poster Artist (8 years)

  • Member of the American Society of Marine Artists

Fun Fact:

     Don oversaw the construction of the Bauxite processing and shipment terminal for the household brand, Reynolds Aluminum. This very terminal would later be featured in a 007 movie, Dr No., where it was destroyed in an explosion.