Slack, © Jim Whiteaker

I’ve been drawn to art since early childhood.

I haven’t always painted nudes. I remember the first time I saw someone draw a picture, that looked like a real thing. My father brought a buddy home, to draw for me; it changed my life. He drew airplanes on a brown grocery bag. As I saw the planes take shape, it was magic. I was hooked.

My mother read children’s books and comics to me. One of my favorite comics was set in an art gallery filled with comic renditions of Cubist and Surrealist paintings on the walls. A short time later, under a bridge close to home, I found a men’s magazine. I was entranced by the photos of scantily clad and nude women. It was then, that I discovered Irving Klaw’s erotic photography of model Betty Page.

The first three important inspirations for me were; the Renaissance sculptures of Michelangelo, the paintings of da Vinci and the cubist/surrealist paintings of Picasso.

When I moved to the French Quarter in New Orleans, I became enthralled by two other artists; Mucha and Klimt. They were both exceptional figurative artists who understood the nude. I loved their romantic and social themes. Picasso, Rodin and Klimt all worshipped the female form and had varying degrees of eroticism in their work.

The current inspirations of mine are; the paintings of Balthus with his refined dream like quality and his seductively charged themes. The painter Chuck Close and his photorealistic, precise and beautifully diffused portraits. And also, painter Jenny Saville, because of the tremendous textural quality of her marks and voluptuous distorted perspective.

Most of my recent work comes from photos I have taken of friends and models. My preference is to work with personal friends, which makes most of my work portraiture. To prepare for a photo shoot, I begin with the main ideas; themes, garments and different fantasy scenarios. The shared experience with the model, opens a creative portal. The model’s energy and creativity will always influence the shoot. Each model brings a different, very personal perspective to the work, which will often spin into a unique and unexpected direction.

Jim Whiteaker's CV

"Nothing that is expressed is obscene; what is obscene is what is hidden. When we are free to see everything, both obscenity and taboo dissappear."

~Nagisa Oshima