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CORINNE WHITAKER ...Pioneering Digital Artist

A little Carmel gallery houses the work of a big time

pioneering digital artist. 

By Agata Popeda

Corinne Whitaker among her art in the Digital Giraffe studio at Heather Glen Court on Mission Street in Carmel. The gallery, off the beaten track, surprises with its treasures.

Lifelong artist Corinne Whitaker, 89, has always been a few steps ahead of the rest of us. She bought the domain giraffe.com before any human or any giraffe thought of it. From the perspective of time, Whitaker has decided that the choice of animal wasn’t accidental – giraffes are tall and see further than others. They are peace-loving and vegetarian.

The Digital Giraffe studio is a compact but roomy space; Whitaker is wearing a glittery sweater with playful pants. There are many illuminated pieces of art around, on digital screens. Since 2014, digital art created with the help of artificial intelligence has become Whitaker’s specialty.

“It opened a whole new world to humans,” she says about AI. The creatures she creates belong to a mixed race of humans, vegetables, dragons and trees. “There are glorious vistas ahead, but they can be dangerous. We finally see worlds we’ve never seen before.”

Whitaker founded Digital Giraffe in 1994, using giraffe.com to post an online monthly art journal, also in the form of a newsletter. She has been posting since then. A Carmel resident for 16 years, Whitaker is a 45-year pioneer in digital imaging, recipient of two Golden Web Awards and an author of 33 books of digital imaging and poetry.

Whitaker started with black-and-white photography, with the assumption that color is not an inherent part of a piece, but some of her current works burst with color. Imagine purple heads and creatures of many eyes, dragons and humanoids. Sometimes Whitaker is her own model, starting with a selfie and seeing where the art leads her. She has been working in many AI programs, playing endlessly with no goal in mind. Whitaker prints 3D models of digital sculptures she created. She never reproduces her pieces, sticking to one copy.

“I call it barking in the dark,” she says of her art. “And sometimes, someone or something barks back.”

Whitaker has been in her current space for over two years, moving from a location on Dolores Street, and considers Carmel home. Her curiosity is endless and one of the main questions she keeps asking herself these days is, “how is it possible that people are so brilliant, but still involved in warfare?”

Her digital paintings and sculptures were featured in 2022 at the Monterey Museum of Art in an exhibition called Corinne Whitaker: Digital Mindscapes. She has also exhibited internationally in over 350 shows.

 

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