Paul Chojnowski was born in New England and attended Hobart College in Geneva, New York where he received his Bachelor of Arts in painting and art history . He studied briefly at the Kansas City Art Institute where he took courses from Warren Rosser and Stanley Lewis. He began his career in the 80's while living in Atlanta and has since returned to his native Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts.
Chojnowski's work has evolved over the years through a period of geometric abstraction to incorporate his figurative academic training. Throughout his career, a distinguishing characteristic has been the use of nontraditional media and tools in his art making. His current work, images burned into paper and wood, is an extension of that predisposition; these burned drawings or pyrographs evolved as a result of his conscious effort to embrace art historical traditions while rejecting the traditional processes. In the early 90's Chojnowski was working on wood panels with wax and raw pigments when he found he could burn marks into the surface of the wood using torches. Abandoning abstraction, Chojnowski began burning and scorching wood and paper to create his images. A seminal piece from his early figurative work is Atalanta, which was first shown in his 1993 Atlanta exhibition. The critical and curatorial response to this body of work lead to Chojnowski receiving an Alternative Visions Grant in 1994 and a Visual Arts Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1996. With these awards, Chojnowski created a series of monumental narrative panels, including River of Blood / Bridge of Hope, (a response to Balkan wars of the mid 90's) and Searching for Religion at Century's End. These large works were part of his solo show at the Chattahoochee Art Museum in LaGrange, Georgia that same year. 1997 saw Chojnowski return to the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts, where he continues to reside and work. In his 1999 exhibition at Bridgewater/Lustberg & Blumenfeld Gallery (New York), Chojnowski first introduced his ongoing series of Nocturnes inspired by his long-standing interest in the work of James MacNeill Whistler. These works were Chojnowski's earliest attempts using his evocative water-resist method, which visually softens the image and emphasizes the sense of light, as in American Nocturne: Heading North. Catalogues featuring reproductions of his work accompanied exhibitions in 2001, first in a group show titled BURN: Artists Play with Fire at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach. It was followed in the autumn by concurrent solo exhibitions in New York at Bridgewater/Lustberg & Blumenfeld Gallery and Atlanta at Macon & Company Fine Art for which the catalogue Revealed by Fire was produced. Works from the Nocturne series of cityscapes like Round About Midnight, NYC, #1 were featured in all three venues.
In 2004 Chojnowski expanded his explorations of the themes of nudes, nocturnes, and nature in three one-man shows. In Aspen's Duval Smart Gallery, Chojnowski showed new figurative work; Susanna is one such piece. His exhibition at Jeffrey Coploff Fine Art Ltd in New York focused on new nocturnes such as Rivers of Light I, while works shown at the Plum Gallery in Williamstown, Massachusetts revisited landscapes, as exemplified by Forest at Twilight.