About Don Oriolo
Don Oriolo is well known across the entertainment spectrum, having been a fixture in the art, music, television and film industries for decades. Oriolo is also widely admired for his charitable and philanthropic endeavors.
Oriolo took over the Felix the Cat franchise when his father Joe Oriolo, co-creator of the modern day Felix cartoon character, passed away in 1985. Don successfully took the iconic cartoon character into the turn of the century, implementing numerous licensing, merchandising, and marketing strategies, thusly bringing the lovable cartoon cat to a global market. Oriolo quickly spread the franchise to a number of mediums, including movies, television series, and even video games. The goal, of course, was to get Felix out to a new and broader audience and to share the beloved cartoon character of Don’s youth with new generations around the world.
Simply put, Felix the Cat has been Oriolo’s “creative muse” since he was a child, and he just couldn’t help but propel that happy-go-lucky charm into as many markets as possible in hopes that it would spread the same joy to new and old fans alike.
Oriolo is a prolific painter, cartoonist, and writer. His artwork in every medium can be found in galleries all around the world, and he was named Artist of the Year in 2015 by Fine Art Magazine. His third painting book, Another Book of Felix the Cat Paintings, was released via a book signing on November 22, 2015 at Macy’s in New York City and reached #5 on Amazon's bestseller list. He paints several paintings a week and dedicates them to his deceased brother and sister.
This is but a snippet of Oriolo’s professional profile. He’s had a widely successful career in the music publishing and recording industry, having worked as a head publishing executive for a number of recording studios such as RSO Records, Twentieth Century Fox, and more. During his time at the “executive turntable” of the music industry, Don worked alongside musicians and bands such as Gloria Gaynor, Doctor Hook, The Paragons, The Tokens and many more. He also wrote Jon Bon Jovi’s first charted single, a Christmas-themed song titled “R2D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” and he was instrumental in launching the careers of iconic musicians Meatloaf, Jim Steinman, and Lisa Lisa, to name a few.
In 1984, Don started his own record label, Personal Records, and in just three years the label amassed 28 charted records. Don continues to work in the music industry to this day, lending his expertise to certified stars and budding musicians alike.
Don also owns and operates his own guitar manufacturing company, the Oriolo Guitar Company, which juxtaposes cartoon-inspired designs ripped straight from Oriolo’s sketchbook with world class luthier-quality builds. His Martin-brand Summer of Love guitar is a favorite of legendary musician Willie Nelson and his other models were prominently featured in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 2010 Gift Guide.
Never one to keep his good fortune to himself, Oriolo uses his talents and success in these various industries to give back to those most in need. The Oriolo Guitar Company is a proud sponsor of the Guitars in the Classroom non-profit organization, a charity which promotes using music as an integral educational tool for all aspects of 21st century learning. The company has donated dozens of instruments to the program, and Oriolo has personally visited the students who have benefited from his generosity. He also has painted several “hippie vans” to collect food for food banks in northern New Jersey.
The Oriolo Guitar Company is also a sponsor of the Pihcintu Foundation. A charity organization out of Portland, Maine, the Pihcintu Foundation teaches musical choir to immigrant children from war-torn nations. By giving these children the gift of music, the Pihcintu Foundation helps them restart their lives with something positive after witnessing unspeakable atrocities, a cause Oriolo is incredibly passionate about.
Oriolo’s compassion doesn’t stop with his fellow humans, though. He is an avid animal lover, and has recently started a horse rescue barn in his hometown of Lafayette, NJ. Named after a nickname his father had given him as a child, the Blue Arrow Horse Farm currently houses a half dozen horses, and more stables and facilities are under development so as to make room for more animals in need of a loving home.