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John Cogley
John Cogley, the owner of DANIEL SMITH Artists’ Materials, joined the company in the Information Technology Department in 1988.  With almost three decades of leading the company as President, CEO and Owner, John has been the driving force behind making DANIEL SMITH Watercolors and other products recognized as the world’s best.  Because of John’s commitment to innovation and in manufacturing the highest quality paints and other products, artists worldwide can rely on the performance and continuity of DANIEL SMITH products year after year.


  • Dan Smith decides to learn how to make his own inks. He sells his motorcycle to fund his idea to become an art materials retailer, and Daniel Smith, Inc. is born in Seattle, Washington.


  • Original Oil™ Colors are introduced.

  • Joins ASTM, an international organization that develops and publishes technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems, and services.


  • Extra Fine™ Watercolors are launched with 15 colors and defined as “classic watercolor of unsurpassed purity and permanence.” The vision was to produce a truly unique selection of colors that were the best in lightfastness and permanence.

  • Introduces Quinacridone colors to the art materials market – fantastic pigments originally developed for the automotive industry.

  • Joins ACMI, an international association of over 200 art, craft and creative materials manufacturers which seeks to promote product safety through its certification program.


  • PrimaTek colors made from minerals are introduced.

  • Luminescent Watercolors are launched.


  • Development begins for replacing Cadmium pigments for better safety and performance. The project is complete in 2010.


  • Environmentally-friendly pigments from reclaimed mining tailings are introduced.


  • John Cogley, first hired in 1988, has worked his way up to President and buys the company from Dan Smith. 


  • Extra Fine™ Watercolor Sticks are added to the family of watercolors.


  • Watercolor Grounds are introduced.


  • Water-soluble Oils are added.


  • Hand-poured Half Pan Sets are introduced.


  • Half Pans are made available as open stock.

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