The ever-evolving art space of the 20th century was highlighted by the pulling away from institutional art establishments and instead pursuing alternative forms of expression. From DADA to Fluxus, more emphasis was being placed on being experimental, primitive, and in a way, anti-traditional art. Born from this era was Art Brut, led by Jean Dubuffet to detach art-making from the highly cultivated and curated spaces of academic art styles and into raw expressions of various emotional states. With ties to graffiti and the movement of outsider art, the manifestos of Art Brut find themselves in the 21st century in the creations of Pumpametti.
Pumpametti embodies pure humanistic emotions in the work he produces. Having spent his entire life practicing art and being academically trained in visual arts, Pumpametti deliberately distances himself from the traditional art school style of composition. By referencing the notes of naivety central to outsider art, his works display a completely unfiltered emotionality that captures both an innocent edge and volatile energy.
Pumpametti’s artworks fall along with all points of the expressive spectrum. His original collection, along with Pettametti, carries the simple composition and basic color schemes that make up the anti-establishment style. The rawness of Art Brut seen here can, in a way, be characterized as going back to your roots, of reaching within and expressing yourself in all your essential, primitive glory. The works are messy, with an air of uncomfortable vulnerability that can only be achieved by shaking off the restrictions of traditional art compositions and embracing a child-like way of projecting your energy.
Pumpametti does, however, occasionally call back to his roots in visual and historical art training by referencing traditional motifs but inverting it through an Art Brut lens. His series, Standametti and Metti Landscape, pull on the classical portraiture and landscapes concepts. The intentions here reference the historical connotations of standing for portraits and the classical practice of landscapes. By referencing classical images through an Art Brut style, Pumpametti thoroughly deconstructs what I may traditionally understand about these art motifs and forces a confrontation of sorts. The portraits he makes with their jagged lines and occasionally muted, occasional neon color schemes are juxtaposed with what we would expect, inciting an emotional reaction that is not influenced by any outside beliefs or meanings. His landscapes follow a similar color path, often with depictions of fantastic creatures, which becomes the focal point of the work over the perceived landscape. Without the traditional norms of art, historical associations of portraiture, and landscape paintings to guide us, both the artist and the viewer are placed in a state of raw expression and unfiltered energy.
The use of characters can be further seen through his other series, such as in Santametti, which features fantastical and confrontational depictions of Santa Claus, and Metti Team Six, which displays animals in various action films archetypes. The works here are done through his usual composition and colors characteristic composition and colors make the results here, though these occupy a more volatile, confrontational, and humorous space. One of the benefits of creating art within our current era is perhaps the ability to combine the visual practices of Art Brut with the extra layer of connotations afforded to us through modern archetypes. Calling to Robert Nava’s use of archetypal creatures within an anti-traditional art style, this series of works highlights the evolution of visual representation and meaning and goes along with Pumpametti’s interest in digital art-making and emphasizes taking advantage of this new modern art scene. In the age of new media, it presents new opportunities for art-making and collecting and adds a new element of how we come to perceive and understand the art we encounter. Something that Pumpametti utilizes in embodying the fast-paced, high energy of the digital age with the freeing and unapologetically chaotic compositions of his craft.
Ultimately, Pumpametti uses all the historical and modern motifs and traits at his access to create an art space that is unfiltered, humorous, and open. He captures the primitive energy of art that is not tied to any rules or regulations and allows the viewer to sit with their raw reactions, whether positive or negative. Like the colorful and distinctive figures that instantly characterize the works of Austin Lee, Pumpametti also achieves in creating a style that is recognizable and uniquely his, all the while creating a range of different pieces that touches on other purposes and motifs. It’s hard to say where the practice of Art Brut and outsider art will go in the future. Still, Pumpametti demonstrates a highly intuitive and fluent ability to evolve his practices which takes points from historical art-making but transformed into something that reflects our contemporary age.