Martin Wittfooth is a Canadian artist and illustrator born in Toronto in 1981, having lived most of his childhood in Finland. He currently resides and works in Brooklyn, New York, where he creates his surrealist illustrations and oil-on-canvas paintings.
Animals are the central elements in Wittfooth’s paintings, in which allegorical figures enveloped in a gloomy atmosphere frequently resort to the theme of the harmful impact of human presence on nature. Since 2006 he has had numerous exhibitions in galleries and museums in many cities in the United States and Canada, as well as in countries such as France, Germany, and Italy.
I arrived at my “style” through a long period of searching, trying different techniques, trying to emulate something a previous artist had been able to evoke in a work. It felt like a long time just trying to figure something out, and there’s no clear point in time where it felt that things clicked together and my work began to feel like my own, and not just derivative of something that I was trying to learn from. I’ve picked up a lot of ideas and pointers from visiting galleries and museums, and while living in New York I have gotten to do quite a bit of that, and in that same time my work has arrived at some place that I feel is its own organic thing; still going through changes and new explorations but with a more solid base to launch from. I decided to remove the human figure from my work (yet retain a suggestion that a human fingerprint has an influence on the scenes I paint) sometime during my two-year Masters program when I first moved to New York in 2006. I wanted to see if I could express emotion and ideas without the aid of a human agent. Earlier I thought about incorporating human forms but found that in an attempt to carve out my own identity as a painter I stylized them heavily and didn’t feel that I could bring forth a kind of gravity that I was seeking to work with.Martin Wittfooth