A new print and BAUMWERKSHOP, our new online store

A Witness, the Heavenly Counsel, 2018 linocut print by Jack Baumgartner

Baumwerkshop

Marketing my work has always been precarious territory for me.  At a fundamental level, I am much more interested in making my work than trying to sell it.  Philosophically and morally, I struggle with the slippery slope of salesmanship and authenticity.  Authenticity as a word has already been pretty much trashed by our cultural trend towards filtered-authenticity in order to generate likes and sell products.  I am certainly guilty of it, myself.  Likes are addictive.  But it all leaves me with a bitter taste in my mouth.  It is hard to not feel like marketing breeds a certain level of dishonesty that we have decided to be ok with as a society. 

Usually my work is both deeply personal and (I hope) deeply spiritual.  I struggle often with the feeling that I am prostituting both myself and the things of God when I set out to peddle these visual representations in the marketplace.  I don’t really have a satisfying resolution for this uncomfortable feeling, except for the opposing weight of the reactions of “my” audience, expressing a desire to share in these things.   

do want to sell my work and provide an income for my family and finance future projects.  It is a part of life and a part of growing, of being fruitful.  It is part of work, which is a divine invitation.

I have a calling to make art and what I hope are beautiful objects, and useful pieces of furniture.  I have a calling to make that work accessible to the culture I am a part of.  I want to try to do that in as straightforward a way as I know how.  This new web store is an effort to do that. 

You can get to the store by going to https://baumwerkshop.com, or you can select the menu of this sight and click on “Purchase Work“.  I really do hope that you will visit and let me know what you think.  I also really hope that you might purchase something, if you see something you like.  There should be some exciting new things showing up there in the coming weeks.

Thank you, for supporting me and following along on this journey.  God is good.

  • Jack

    

The Sacred Process

The Sacred Process

Is labor a sacrament?  The invitation of the Eighth Day?  A sacred collaboration with the living God?  I can’t help but to note that the call to labor in the garden came before the curse of toil.  I am certain that labor is about more than just earning my bread.  There is something deeper there, not just for the artist, but for the ditch digger and the roofer, the farmer and the nurse.  “Whatever you think, it’s more than that…”  ISB.

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Mule Resophonic Witness

I recently completed work on the handmade certificate of authenticity for Mule Resophonic Guitars, shipping him the first Batch this past week.  I hope you enjoy the finished piece and a few photos of the printing process.

Mule Resophonic Witness, 2018 linocut, printed with sepia ink on French’s paper

The block after numerous printings becomes a beautiful object.

The first batch of prints sent off to Matt Eich, now to be included with every guitar he and his team build, including the name of the customer and the number of the guitar written in the banners at the bottom of the print.

inking the block

Tthe trusty and bespattered 4″ speedball brayer.

A detail of the inked block.

Registering the paper on the block and press bed using a simple jig.

The delicate task of lifting the print from the block post printing.

print and block side by side

Examining the proof for flaws

The much reworked original drawing of the design.

The Rich Story of Carved Lines

Usually the prints I make are deeply personal illustrations of my heart, vision and journey.  From the early days printmaking has been, to me, a form of prayer, offering up to the Father layers of concern and expression of things I do not often fully comprehend.  Within that context is a platform to explore the visualization of spiritual concepts, revelations and principles- basically a blundering effort to make the unseen seen on some level.  I wonder that I am taken up with making a “graven image”  and how that settles with the second commandment (Exodus 20 verse 4 if you are interested).  Hopefully, what I am making are objects that are doors or windows that might lead one into worship, certainly they are far from worshipful in themselves.  I take comfort that the Merciful One will ultimately be the judge of my heart on this one.

These images here, are a divergence in a way, in that, they are the mixture of my expression and visual language with the story and purpose of two other entities.  The first of those is Matt Eich of Mule Resophonic GuitarsHe has been building these beautifully crafted and, by all accounts, almost magically sounding guitars for five years now.  The resulting print will be the certificate of authenticity that will be presented with every instrument that he sells.  Matt is passionate about story and building rich relationships with his customers, and he invests personal expression into every instrument.  His sense of story has been woven together with mine here, I hope.

On a technical level, I am always in an attempt to push myself past where I was before in my work. It may only be in a way that is visible to my own eye. With printmaking I compose a design and I wonder if I will be able to pull it off- if the level of detail will translate as a small mammal, or a vine, or a bird- or just a confused tangle of ink. Many times it has resulted in the confused tangle. This print for Matt has tons of this risk built into the design, and I think his spirit has elevated me, because I somehow feel a door has been unlocked.  Of course, I really won’t know until the ink hits the paper- but there is hope that these tiny branches will be able to speak.

The second entity is the musical trio Sister Sinjin.  My good friend Elizabeth Duffy is part of this group of women who sing devotedly to the glory and love of God.  This image from this block will become the cover art for their upcoming record.  The contemplative spirit of their music really seems to offer a counterpoint to the industrious detail of the print I’m making for Matt.  I’ve noticed and appreciated the contrast as I have been working back and forth between these two blocks.  The quite offering of the woman and the persistent labor of the plowman.  Both have offered a lot of opportunity to grow and develop and express, and I am grateful.  There are many photographs of the carving process below, which is still underway in both cases, though I am nearly done with the Sister Sinjin block.

A Profile in Plough Quarterly

My family and our work were humbled to be featured in the most recent edition of Plough Quarterly.  There is a profile by Susannah Black, and a feature on Go On: Inner Man Version, an altarpiece I made back in 2003, and also an excerpt of my responses to some questions about our lifestyle, called Farming the Universe.  If you choose to take the time to read some or all of them, I sincerely hope that you enjoy them.

Go On, Inner Man Version, 2003, oil on wood panel, closed position

Go On, Inner Man Version, 2003, oil on wood panel, open position

 

Walking Man, Jonah, and The Ancient Ocean

Walking Man, Jonah, and the Ancient Ocean, oil painting on a poplar panel by Jack Baumgartner, 14.5″ x 22″, 2017

Upper panel, Walking Man striding through the arch

Lower panel, Jonah, swimming, yields to the sea monster

detail of the upper panel, with barn owl, Burr oak and cliffs.

Upper panel detail with symbolic structures

Lower panel detail of Jonah

The completion of a painting generally means a decision to stop working on it, otherwise the cycle would never end.  This painting, which was begun in October of 2009 reached that generally unheralded milestone of “completion” this fall, 6 years later.  Technically, the work is not entirely done, as I have yet to build the frame for it, which, especially for my panel paintings, represent a significant part of the presentation and outer composition.  I hope share some of the meaning behind this painting at some future date.