I grew up in New York State and was trained as a research biologist. I started making art on a regular basis after moving to Illinois (1993).
My early work was for 'therapeutic', rather than commercial purposes. (traced images and geometric designs with color pencils). Later I started working on a larger scale, incorporating paint, pastels and other materials and inventing my own, biomorphic, semi-abstract figures. My technique was to start with a water soluble layer (ink, gouache, watercolor), then a layer of chalk pastel mixed with watercolor paint, then oil pastels, then color pencil. By overlaying the different layers I was able to achieve a sense of depth and perspective and produce a finished surface resembling oil paint while working on paper. I have a large body of geometric and 'fractal' designs as well as my semi-abstract, 'mutant' figurative work that envisions a future where humans have hybridized with other forms of life and with machines.
In 1998 I purchased a Samsung APS camera. It did not work well for its original purpose (making slides of my mixed media work) but I found it took great pictures! This led to a second body of work - close-up urban landscape photography - which emphasizes mankind's relationship with the environment in a more realistic light. Samples are available to view at www.fota.com/paulw/.
About two years ago I started doing direct scans of botanical (leaves, seeds, flowers...) and other natural history material, acheiving good results both as illustration and as fine art (using inversions, color shifts, sharpening and other manipulations). I'm currently using this technique to produce an illustrated guide to local (Chicago area) trees.
Paul Whittaker joined Pixels on February 25th, 2007.