There is a wonderful moment, among many, in Thor Heyerdahl’s dramatic account of his and his countrymen’s raft voyage across the Pacific Ocean in the balsa log raft, “Kon-Tiki”. He describes the unexpected and slightly perilous provision of flying fish that came leaping over their vessel during the nights. The flying fish, many of which landed on the raft, or smacked the men in the face, answered some of the questions about how Polynesian settlers might have made and survived the voyage from South America to the Polynesian Islands. It reminded me of the mana and quail for the Israelites in the desert. The flying fish has since become part of my vernacular, symbolizing God’s miraculous provision. Both of these prints, a 2015 copper engraving and a linocut from 2005 are available for sale in the shop with free shipping for a limited time.
Welcome to Baumwerkshop. My name is Jack Baumgartner. By profession, I am a painter, printmaker, woodworker and a sheep farmer in Kansas. I maintain The School of the Transfer of Energy, and on Instagram, I am @baumwerkj. By way of a welcome, I would like to invite you into my scruples about this whole endeavor.
Marketing my own work has always represented precarious territory. 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, even just sharing, breeds a certain level of dishonesty that we have decided to just be ok with as a society.
My work is often both deeply personal and (I hope) relatively 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.
I 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.
I really do hope that you enjoy your visit and will 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.
The Heavenly Counsel is my most recent linocut edition. This image is based on a vision I had of a geodesic-crystalline structure in Heaven filled with gemstones and eyes. I have made a number of drawings trying to document the idea of what I saw, though with the expectation, of always falling short. It is available for purchase in my new store if you would like to support my work. Thank you!