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Capturing love of mountains on canvas

February 18, 2019

An ordinary kitchen sponge and scrub brush assisted artist Jesse Pfammatter in expressing his love of mountainous places. Along with a pallet knife, brushes, and his fingers, they were tools in creating acrylics on canvas artwork for his exhibit, “The Allure of Mountains,” on display in the J5/1 corridor between the J and K elevators on the 1st floor of University Hospital, 600 University Ave.

Pfammatter’s artistic endeavors not only include acrylics on canvas, but also watercolor, ink, screen printing, digital art and paper cutouts. He says he has a workflow that incorporates numerous mediums, often starting an idea in one medium and finishing the piece in another. Screen printing is a favorite as he likes the flat look with “excellent textures and very contrasting colors.”

Growing up in a northern suburb of Chicago, Pfammatter enjoyed building model train sets as a boy, spent years playing with a camera, and has created drawings off-and-on as long as he can remember. He has fond memories of his grandmother teaching him how to paint and says his most formative experiences with art come from her and her painting.

After earning his PhD in entomology at UW-Madison, Pfammatter stayed as a post-doc in the neuroscience department and works on epilepsy and sleep research. It wasn’t until after he finished grad school a few years ago that he started producing a larger quantity of art.

“I spend most of my time writing computer programs to analyze data of various sorts,” Pfammatter said in an email interview. “I actually think that there is a really strong link between my career as a scientist and my artwork — I think my science has a lot of creative art influence and my art has a lot of precision in certain ways.

“It’s a blend that suits me.”