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Jared Putnam headshot.jpg

Jared Putnam

Painter. Muralist.

I was born in New York City to John Putnam- Art Director of MAD Magazine and Jane Putnam- Painter. I have been living and working in Albuquerque since 1990.

I have been a professional musician for over 25 years. 19 of those years I have spent playing with the gypsy jazz group, Le Chat Lunatique, and more recently with the instrumental trio, The Chachalacas. During the pandemic, music work pretty much ground to a halt and so I decided to take up painting.

Within that time, I began paintings that were inspired and informed by free hand pencil drawings I did on small brown paper bags during down time while cashiering at a grocery store, as well as small graphite drawings done on graph paper at home. In my graphite line drawings, I explore two and three-point perspective, possible versus impossible
objects and spaces, suggestions of optical illusion, positive and negative space, rotational symmetry, and optical illusion. In my paintings, I expand on these linear approaches by shifting into color explorations-how color can suggest shape and form, how flatness and depth can shift depending on value, saturation, direction, and gradient shifts.

To make the paintings, I recreate the grid on the panel and use strings nailed to the wall to create lines of perspective. Each section of the painting is then masked and acrylic paint is applied by dabbing with a sponge- this creates an even, textured look. The background is done last and for that I use oil paint to create gradients of color. Each painting is on a custom made wood panel which I try to craft with the same amount of precision as the paintings themselves.

The inspiration for my paintings comes from a combination of geometric paintings and sculptures my father produced in the 1970s and a television show on PBS I watched as a child called “The Secret City” in which Mark Kistler taught kids how to draw in 3D. In making these works, I find myself expanding on the art my father was creating in the late 1970s that he was sadly not able to continue due to his untimely death in 1980. Play and Nostalgia are present in using the skills I learned from one of my favorite TV shows as a child. I also especially enjoy seeing the process of my small paper bag line drawings become large, colorful paintings where shape and plane touching creates an edge, rather than an outline. The color is playful and expressive, often allowing the paintings to take on a completely different personality.

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