ponstingl_580 ponstingl_580
Cartoon Culture

The Amazing Wood Carvings of Charles Ponstingl

This you gotta see.

Collector Mel Birnkrant has posted an amazing story – and gallery – of art created by amateur wood carver Charles Ponstingl. Beginning in 1973 Ponstingl began (at age 38) carving over 200 wood dioramas, creating three-dimensional shadowbox homages to beloved comic strip and animated cartoon characters.

In addition to doing pieces devoted to Disney classics, Ponstingl tackled everything from Little Nemo to Mary Jane and Sniffles! Mutt and Jeff, Snuffy Smith, Popeye, Beetle Bailey, Sad Sack are some of the comic strips he did; Felix The Cat, Daffy Duck, Woody Woodpecker, Mickey, Donald and Goofy are among the animated characters he’s carved.

Some of the carvings are spot on recreations, some are way off-model – but all of them are charming and clearly done with a lot of love and care.

Collector Birnkrant discovered Ponstingl’s folk art and bought many of the pieces – telling the remarkable story behind them and showing off the collection on his website. Click thumbnails below to enlarge three great examples – check out the story and see more amazing stuff here.

(Thanks, Ed Austin and Mark Mayerson)

  • They’re amazing

  • These are beautiful. The off-model characters give them a bit of extra charm, I think. I would love to go and see these at an exhibit.

  • Wow! Those are amazing and beautiful. I don’t think it matters that some are not as spot-on-model as the studios would demand of an an animator, these are a different medium, incidentally one that has inspired much of these studios’ own work, and it allows the artist’s own hand to show through rather than letting these look more like mass-produced pieces of merchandise. Wonderful.

  • Mr. James

    I hate him for posting these with the knowledge that I can never own one or see them in real life.

    Truly spectacular and amazing in their superb detail and exceptional fortitude of practice and determination to achieve this level of carving skill.

  • Vince

    A-M-A-Z-I-N-G !!! This is one of the big reasons people come to this website. You can’t “own” every great art piece but it would be crime for them not to be seen. Thank you for posting this priceless collection of folk art masterpieces. The colors and sheer artistry involved in producing each of these treasures is incredible and I cannot imagine what kind of man hours were involved in each of the final works. Just incredible and a JAWDROPPER!

  • Bud

    Stunning. So appealing!

  • Kartoonz Kritik

    One simple word: wow.
    Thanks for sharing this Jerry.

  • wgan

    love these, and love the little story behind it even more!!

  • Drawwing

    Disney should commission Charles to do pieces for their gallery stores at the park.  Sounds like Charles had a rough year with a car accident   Glad to see he is still sculpting   

  • Jimbo2K7

    I can certainly understand why, but it is a shame that Mr. Birnkrant kept this discovery to himself for some 30 years.

    These pieces will enter the marketplace at some point in time, and he is likely to make a fortune. I would sure love to get a hold of just one if possible! Hope 78 year old Charles Ponstingl gets a big chunk of it.

  • Stav Levi

    Completely unjustified use of 3D…

  • Eric

    Astonishing! Absolutely beautifully done. The attention to detail is just incredible as is the sheer number that were carved.

  • I hope they will find a home in the Disney museum