David R. MacDonald was born in 1945 in Hackensack, New Jersey, and graduated from Hackensack High School in 1963. He was awarded an athletic scholarship to Hampton University in Virginia where he majored in art education. After graduating, he was awarded a graduate fellowship at the University of Michigan.
David received his Master of Fine Arts degree and joined the faculty of the School of Art and Design at Syracuse University in New York. MacDonald's work received most of its creative inspiration from his investigation of his African heritage. He draws much of his inspiration from the myriad examples of surface decoration that manifests itself in the many ethnic groups of sub-Saharan Africa. MacDonald's work spans the complete spectrum of ceramic forms of a utilitarian nature.
MacDonald received the Excellence in Teaching Award from the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) in 2011.
“For more than four decades, David MacDonald has masterfully created richly patterned utilitarian objects from clay that have come to symbolize tremendous integrity and endurance. Despite the national recognition MacDonald has earned for his superb work, he remains committed to, and most content when he is producing, functional works of art in beautiful forms that will be touched, held, and most importantly used by people who will admire and appreciate their inherent beauty.” Everson Museum of Art