Joseph Pintz’s functional and sculptural ceramic work explores the role that domestic objects play in fulfilling our physical and emotional needs. Inspired by his Midwestern roots, Pintz creates mundane forms based on utilitarian vessels and other implements associated with the hand. In the process, the dense meaning of these objects is transferred into clay. Pintz earned his BA in anthropology and urban studies at Northwestern University and his MFA from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He has been a resident artist at the Archie Bray Foundation, the Northern Clay Center, and the Roswell Artist-in-Residence program. He has received the NCECA Emerging Artist Award as well as the Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. He is currently an assistant professor at the University of Missouri.
My upbringing has strongly influenced on my artwork and character. Both of my parents are German immigrants; during World War II they were forced to leave the land where their families had been settled for hundreds of years. My parents came to the states with their families in the 1950s to start a new life.
My grandparents all worked with their hands—-a tailor on my father’s side and a blacksmith on my mother’s. Transplanted from their native culture to the suburbs of Chicago, the old and new world began to blend together. I was born the third of four children into a working class family. My father was a union painter and my mother stayed at home to raise us. Both my parents love to cook and take great pride in their flower and vegetable gardens. Nearly every meal was eaten together at home around the dinner table, featuring fresh vegetables or those we had canned.
We also made trips to neighboring states to pick seasonal fruits and vegetables. To this day, our family still goes through this tradition. After picking, our collective attention is turned to the kitchen. Turning one hundred twenty pounds of sour cherries into jam is quite a bit of work; but the product that can be enjoyed all year is well worth the effort. The physicality of this time consuming process always has a way of bringing us together. Through experiences like this, my parents taught me the values of working with your hands and being self-sufficient.