Witte Wartena spent most of his childhood drawing in his bedroom. Situated in the attic of his Amsterdam home. While reading the Autobiography of Marten Toonder many years later, he discovered that this famous Dutch comic artist had lived there, for one year during the Second World War. Perhaps the atmosphere of this room had an effect on him and could explain why from an early age, he caught the comic bug.
Wartena's work is narrative, based on himself and his surroundings. Executed in the form of drawings, comics and installations, it features friends, family and scenes from his daily life. The drawings are made as accurately as possible in the sense that they include every detail of our every day existence, such as clutter, rubbish and graffiti: features of our present environment. Like the Genre works from the Dutch Masters, he too shares their passion of portraying people engaged in common activities. The difference is that Wartena knows these people personally.
Wartena likes also to think of his work as snap shot photos, similar to the photo albums his mother has of him since he was born: a personal history book of his life. For Wartena, creating work is a way of preserving his ever-changing reality. He sees beauty in the ever-day world. With his work he wants to make the viewer look at their surroundings with new eyes and see what he sees, beauty in the mundane.
Wartena has been described in Metropolis M, a leading Dutch art magazine, as: "one of the few people in the Netherlands who makes cutting edge comic strips."