Don West was born in Murray, Kentucky in 1946 but grew up in Detroit, Michigan. He graduated with a B.A. from Michigan State University in 1969, where he excelled in Theater and took minors in Art History and American Literature, studying with Northrop Frye. He went on to complete an M.F.A. in Theater Direction with a minor in Poetry at The Ohio University in 1973, working with Seabury Quinn and Stanley Plumly. He also studied with Richard Shelton’s graduate seminar in poetry at The University of Arizona in 74-75.
Drawing and painting since childhood, he studied painting as a post-graduate at the University of Arizona with Bruce McGrew, Charles Hall, and Philip Melton and at the Tucson Museum of Art School with Monica Jost and James Christopher Larsen. He also studied Scientific Illustration with Don Saynor at the U of A. He has shown work in galleries and museums across the country including Detroit, Chicago, and San Diego.
His first novel, DREAM OF THE GREAT BLUE, was a finalist in ForeWord Magazine’s BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARDS for 2005. His second novel, THE ART OF MURDER, a Nestor Pike noir satire mystery, was published in March of 2007 by dancing bear books to very good reviews. His shortstory, Tall, won First Place in the Sandscript Art and Literary Magazine Awards and his story, Coping, was a finalist in both the William Faulkner Short Fiction Awards and the New Millenium Writing Awards in 2002. He and his wife, Barbara, live in Tucson, Arizona where they (dancing bear books) recently published a large scale full-color retrospective book of his work titled: Don West / An American Outsider - Paintings 1977-2007.