1932 - 2007
1932 - 2007
Droahn was born in Calgary, AB and attended Western Canada High School. His passion for art began at a young age and was present in every aspect of his life. To everyone this enthusiasm was immediately obvious.
His lifelong career as a successful ceramist and painter began when he started his studies at The Provincial Institute of Technology and Art (now the Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD) with Luke Lindoe RCA. Upon graduation, he continued graduate studies at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Flint, Michigan. What Drohan didn’t acquire from his stoneware roots in Alberta, he added through studies in Michigan, and a later sabbatical in Germany, influencing his ideas about porcelain.
On returning to Canada in 1957, he married and began working at Ceramic Arts (founded by Luke Lindoe), soon after he began his teaching career at ACAD where he was pivotal in the development of the ceramics department. Walt was always proud of his Western Canadian heritage. His passion for all aspects of art resulted in Walt instructing in every area of study offered by the college (ceramics, painting, drawing, printmaking).
During his successful career, he received many awards, including the prestigious Senior Canada Council Grant, which allowed him to further his artistic interests in Europe. Returning to Canada Walt resumed teaching, ultimately serving as Dean of ACAD. He was extremely instrumental in establishing the autonomy of ACAD from SAIT in the early 1980s. He taught many important ceramists including: Paul Mathieu, Harlan House, Les Manning, Leopold Foulem, Therese Chabot, Jim Etzkorn, Garry Williams and many others.
His artistic career was not limited to academics. He was also a successful artist in his own right, receiving private commissions and showing in many galleries across Canada both as a ceramist and painter. He became a member of the RCA in the 1970s. For a short period, starting in 1980, Drohan suspended his pottery making to pursue his painting. His interest in military planes resulted in a series of paintings and lithographic prints on the subject. After retirement, he formed Jumping Pound Studios in Cochrane, AB with his wife, Pat.