Mel Birnkrant Presents:
All of the Art on this site is one of a kind, created by CHARLES PONSTINGL, for the sheer joy of it.
He intended it as loving homage to the Great Comic Artists of former days.
The images are based upon the work of many, including some that were created by, and are
“Copyright The Walt Disney Company”. The writing and photography is “Copyright Mel Birnkrant”.
Could “Talent” be a tiny seed, sown by Fate, haphazardly? And could such a seed lie dormant for nearly 40 years, then suddenly burst forth spontaneously, and grow into a glorious tree? This is a question that I ask myself frequently, for every nook and cranny of the environment, in which I live is overflowing with the fruit of such a tree, a bountiful harvest that I am blessed to feast my eyes on every day, the Amazing Art of Charles Ponstingl.
The concept of “Talent” has always fascinated me as I was accused of having some, myself, as a kid. Of course, I knew otherwise. Right from the start, I realized that what appeared to be “talent” in other people’s eyes was only the fact that I had bundled all my energies together, and put them all into one container. Thus, when it came to Talent, and whether or not it existed, I was a skeptic, nearly a nonbeliever.
Nonetheless, like Houdini who spent his life (and death) trying to ascertain if true Magic, embodied by the Afterlife really existed, I kept my eyes open for any signs that real Talent existed too. I mean True Talent, not a mere knack or aptitude, fed and fostered in an art school, like mine, but true Raw Talent, pure and simple.
Enter, Charles Ponstingl!
Now, where should I begin? Maybe with Charles' birth in Allentown PA, around 1935, as one of 13 children. His parents, Joseph and Anna could trace their roots to Austria. … On second thought, attempting to recount Charles’ early history finds me in unknown territory. I would be better off beginning at the moment our paths crossed and our lives intermingled. That was over 30 years ago. From that moment on, we have been the best of friends.
How we met is a curious story:
CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE
Well, actually, at this point I didn’t know his name, nor did I learn it until years later. I would, in fact, have never come to know it if the antique toy dealer who “discovered” “CP” had his way. The fact that we eventually met was something of a miracle. I’m convinced it was predestined, guided by the hand of Fate.
Now, through the magic of the Internet, you are invited to undertake a journey of discovery to meet Charles Ponstingl, a genius, hiding in plain view, whose incredible wood carvings, up till now, have only been seen by a fortunate few, those rare individuals who, by chance or happenstance, have passed through the portals of what our friend Kenneth Anger, long ago, christened, “Mouse Heaven”.
Therefore, this website or “E-book”, as some might call it, is overdue. A “real” book, of the coffee table variety, or an Exposition would be more in order, but, clearly, that is not about to happen. Thus, this will have to do. Alas, it is true that neither book nor computer can fully do Charles’ carvings justice, for they exist in three dimensions, and the way they manipulate and play with space is a large part of their magic. Furthermore, the fact that they are all made of wood, has to be seen in person to be believed.
Nonetheless, this Internet format does offer certain advantages: First of all, the World can see Charles’ work, at last. Beyond that, the colors are true, and the lighting can be controlled to show his art to good advantage. Better still, the images can be viewed as large as your computer is able to display them, which if you happen to have a 24” screen, is bigger than any book would be, although, still smaller than reality. All type and images have been confined to a narrow band readable on even the smallest computer screens. This conveys a false impression of the larger most impressive works, which average 12’ high by 30” wide, and appear severely minimized when reduced to fit this narrow size. Therefore, when traveling through the following pages, I urge you to click on an image, whenever you see the notice, “CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE”. Then, click on the enlarged image to go back to the page again. All the major pieces can be viewed in this larger size.