Pittman received his MFA from the Cal Arts in 1976. There he met his life partner, abstract painter Roy Dowell who he has lived with ever since. He is now a professor at UCLA (an institution which he once attended, but, from which he did not earn a degree). In 1996 his work was the subject of a mid career survey at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
In David Pagel's interview with Pittman, he concludes that Pittman's paintings include "imaginary organic forms, runaway arrows, and arabesques, transform ornamentation into a contemporary narrative of life and death, love and sex." He also believes "Pittman's operatic pictures propose that the world's complexity does not override passion, sincerity, and individuality." When talking about his own work, Pittman states: "at times, I purposefully orchestrate the work so that you do have that comfortable laughter when looking at it—it's fullhearted and enjoyable internally—but it's also a laughter linked to nervousness. And that's the laughter I particularly like cultivating, parlor laughter, where there's always the subtext of conversation going on, but everyone is very agreeable."