My style and approach are my own, greatly influenced by an academic background in biology, and derives from the dynamic forms of growth and symmetry encountered in cells and tissues, as well as in whole organisms throughout the natural world. Without attempting to accurately portray biological structures per se, I use organic shapes and abstract forms, like holes and fissures, to achieve the perception of biological growth in my artwork. Often the aim is for a sculpture to appear as if it arose by the process of natural growth rather than contrived by human hands. I often incorporate biological specimens, such as fossils and butterflies, as central features in my sculptures, playing off their form and symmetry. Wood is a natural medium for my artwork, as it is derived from the processes of biological growth that shape my artistic style.
The trajectory of Mark Doolittle’s art has been through science. During an era of tremendous advancement in cell and molecular biology occurring in the 1970s and 80s, Mark gained a doctoral degree in these fields from the University of California at Los Angeles. At this institution, Dr. Doolittle pursued a career in biomedical research, culminating in the discovery of a novel gene contributing to triglyceride levels in the blood. Along with a research career, Mark developed a keen interest in woodworking and art. He began to seriously produce wood artwork in 2002, and has recently transitioned into a full-time wood artist with a studio in Joshua Tree, CA. Outside of art, Mark has interests in classical music and hiking.
Mark’s organic style reflects his unique and distinctive vision of nature, with no piece every duplicated. Although Mark is a wood artist, he enjoys creating around natural objects such as fossils or minerals that then become integrated into the overall piece. Each piece is conceived and executed by the artist alone, using exotic hardwoods and burls from around the world. Although his style involves intricate carvings and texturing involving many hours of bench work, he never employs laser or CNC machinery; rather, each piece is crafted using rotary burrs and bits as wells as hand tools, such as rasps and chisels.
Mark’s artwork is in several collections, and has been featured in several books and magazines, such as Fine Woodworking. His wood sculptures were recently awarded first place at the Sausalito Arts Festival.