Monday, November 19, 2007

DMC (Jim Puntigam)

Talk to the Hand, 2007
Painting and collage.

My name is James Puntigam. I sign my work DMC. I started doing serious work in 1986 when I quit my job from the state of Michigan. I was a case worker for the department of social services. I began to paint, some sculpture, but mostly painting and drawing. In the last three or four years, I began to assess my work, take inventory of my work, and see what I had been doing over the last 20 years or so. I looked at the body and individual pieces, I would look at stuff, throw it on the floor and look at it some more, I had stacks and stacks of paintings and drawings on paper and canvas. Most of the stuff looked unfinished to me, because in the last so many years, I’ve been focusing on the gestural quality of what I do. Now maybe I’m maturing a little bit, and I’m taking all my work and cutting pieces out and reassembling the stuff in hopefully exciting new ways. They become puzzles, sound puzzles I like to say, because I’m trying to create a sound – silent sound. So, nothing is sacred, everything is usable.

Why I do it? I do it because I can. After 20 years of doing this stuff, I understand how difficult it is to make a fine piece of work, a good piece of work that has a sound to it. It’s very hard, I struggle with it. For some reason I can do it, so I keep on doing it. It’s a faith type of thing. Artists are kind of like priests in a way, they delve into the spiritual realm, into the untalkable. That’s why it’s difficult for me to talk about this stuff. I don’t necessarily talk about what I do. I’m having a little difficulty explaining what a sound sounds like, what a painting sounds like. An artist is kind of like someone who is climbing a mountain, it is all about his experience. The value, I think, is intrinsic in the piece. If it has a sound, if somebody can hear it, the value to the community, if it’s just a community of one, it has an intrinsic value. If it has quality, which I said before is difficult to accomplish, if it has quality the value is intrinsic in the quality. I’m very grateful that I’m able to do what I do. It gives me a great deal of excitement and it makes me happy, and it also frustrates the hell out of me. But, I’m very grateful and that’s it.

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