Joel Schechter graduated from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, as an art major with a heavy science minor, he completed his Masters Degree in medical illustration at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland. he then spent a year as a medical illustrator in the Department of Medical Illustration at Johns Hopkins, teaching incoming students and doing clinical illustration for physicians. During this Joel made the decision to pursue his other great interest and applied and was accepted to a Ph.D. program at the UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California. During his years at UCLA, Joel did free-lance medical illustration for UCLA-affiliated doctors. He received his Ph.D. from UCLA in the Department of Anatomy in 1968, did a one-year post-doctorate at UCLA, and then joined the faculty at the University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California.
“Doing artwork has always brought me great pleasure. Although I have also greatly enjoyed doing science, i.e., it has been challenging and satisfying to attack and hopefully solve biological problems, doing my artwork seems to take me to another dimension. Although there is some scientific debate about right brain vs left-brain, for me it seems very clear that when doing science, I was functioning as left-brain and when doing art I was functioning right brain. Both are quite wonderful, but right brain gives me greater personal joy. If other people can appreciate my artwork, so much the better. I really enjoy talking about art and trying to understand how others look at art. My current view of the world we live in is that there is so much turmoil and hatred that doing my art allows me to escape on the one hand, but also to incorporate my views of the world in another way. In a world as troubled as ours, each person must find his/her own island of tranquility.” ~Joel Schechter