Paul Hartigan was born in New Plymouth and graduated from the University of Auckland, Elam School of Fine Art in 1973. He has been recognised with several art awards, inclusion in group exhibitions and numerous solo shows. Hartigan now lives in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.
Hartigan has specialised in the production of art made from or incorporating neon lighting. His major public installations include 'Pathfinder' (1997), Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, 'Whipping the Wind' (1988), Lambton Quay, Wellington, and 'Signal-Echo' (2001), New Lynn Community Centre, West Auckland.