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Rio Grande/U.S.-Mexico Border


The Life and Process

Most see just the art, just the paint, and just the image, but it goes much deeper than that.  What about the endless miles of driving, the long cold winter boat rides, the muddy trek through the marsh?  That’s what is required if you want to make good art - art that connects with people.  You’ve got to get out there and experience the raw product.  You’re not buying art; you’re buying an experience.

J.H. Putnam was born in Columbia, SC into an adventurous family.  One of his earliest memories was when his family moved onto a boat and moved to Hopetown, Abaco for a year.  The young and impressionable Putnam saw very early on a vast array of colors in the Bahamian landscapes.  Bright pink, yellow, blue, and green houses with electric blue waters that can now be found throughout his art. 

Back in South Carolina Putnam spent most or all of his weekends in the sea islands of Beaufort, SC.  From dirt roads to black water rivers, Putnam always had an urge to see the forgotten places of the Lowcountry.  The massive live oaks of the area are one of the main reasons Putnam trends towards larger and larger art.  

Years later, at another impressionable stage in life, the family decided to move aboard again when Putnam was in high school.  This time their eyes were set on seeing the whole Bahamian island chain, which would later include Cuba as well.  Again, Putnam was inundated with the usual intense colors that the area provided, but this time he brought along a paint set.  Only a handful of pieces exist from his time aboard, but from that moment forward it was in his blood to paint. 

When picking a college to attend Putnam had only one school in mind, The Citadel, a historic military school in Charleston, SC.  It is consistently considered to have one of the toughest plebe years of any of the Senior Military Academies.  At school, Putnam set his sights on a business degree, and along the way discovered the school offered a variety of art classes that helped him discover and dig deeper into the art world. It was here that Putnam learned discipline in its finest form, business, and an appreciation/fascination with the art world.  In his words “You can go to a regular art school and get an art degree, but you’re not going to get that kind of discipline and business sense.  And you’re going to need all three.”


Presently Putnam is married to his loving wife Allie and has two cats, Blue a Ragdoll and Butterbean a British Shorthair.  He currently splits his time between South Carolina and Far West Texas where his monolith art is for sale. 

My art, for me, started out as a not so serious past time and has since blossomed into a multi-faceted beast that requires reigning in.  Once you see everything as art it becomes increasingly difficult to focus on one genre or any specific art style.  It takes sheer focus and discipline to stay focused on art that is within my current capabilities and to not get lost in a differing dimension of what is my reality.  Put simply, any good artist is also an interior designer, clothing designer, architect, filmmaker, or any other various artistical routes.  If I had 500 years on this earth, I would find the time to be all these things and explore all the various artistic routes available to me, but being as I’m only guaranteed today, I have to find what I am reasonably capable of doing with the estimated time I have.  For me as an artist, I have to be in touch with my mortality and do my best to make my art immortal, if only in a sense. 

  - Putnam

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