Artist dresses up towns with life-size sculptures - 01/12/05
Get the latest Neighborhood News reports

Get the latest Neighborhood News reports Latest Neighborhood News reports    

News from Utica, Shelby Township, Macomb Township, Clinton Township, Mount Clemens

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Ankur Dholakia / The Detroit News

The Grosse Ile native's life-size bronze statues and portrait busts can also be seen on the street in Mount Clemens, Sterling Heights and Clinton Township.

Artist dresses up towns with life-size sculptures

Woman created Mount Clemens' 'Apple of My Eye' statue in downtown.


About Janice Trimpe

Age: 60

Family: Married to glass artist Roger Wayne; mother of three; grandmother of three

Specializes in: Public art and portrait busts

Studio: 15115 Charlevoix, Grosse Pointe Park

Phone: (313) 824-9228

Ankur Dholakia / The Detroit News

Trimpe created "Apple of my Eye," a sculpture in downtown Mount Clemens. A model of the sculpture is shown above.

Comment on this story
Send this story to a friend
Get Home Delivery

MOUNT CLEMENS -- At 1,000 pounds, 5 feet in height and length and more than 3 feet wide, its hard to miss Janice Trimpe's downtown Mount Clemens sculpture, "Apple of My Eye," depicting and old man and little girl sharing a game of checkers, but that's just how Trimpe likes it.

"I love to work big," said Trimpe, 60, whose first commissioned public art piece was a statue of former Dearborn mayor Orville Hubbard that she created for installation at City Hall in the late 1980s.

The Grosse Pointe Park resident's life-size work can also be seen on the street in Roseville, Mount Clemens, Sterling Heights and Flint. Clinton Township recently commissioned Trimpe to create "Sisters," a bronze piece portraying two girls sharing a book that was sent to the township's sister city, Yasu-cho, Japan.

"'Apple of My Eye,' has become a signature for Mount Clemens,'" said Jo-Anne Wilkie, executive director of the Art Center in Mount Clemens. "It tugs at the heart strings ... just a heartwarming piece."

People just love it. If you drive by right now, you'd probably see socks on (the girl's) feet. People put socks on her to keep her feet warm."

Trimpe, who works from her studio on Charlevoix crafting bronze statues and portrait busts, has created public art to accent historic and government buildings as well as downtown pedestrian malls.

Much of the time when cities approach her, Trimpe said they have an idea of what they'd like in a piece of public art, but leave the fine-tuning and creativity to her.

"You drill them on what they want ... ask a lot of questions," said Trimpe. Although gratifying, she said the entire process of creating the statues -- from small scale model to finished outdoor installation -- is lengthy, taking about a year to complete.

"It takes me four to six months, and the foundry four to six months," she said.

Trimpe, a Grosse Ile native, began pursuing art in the 1970s as an oil painter and potter before studying at the College for Creative Studies. Her career as an artist started when she started sculpting busts out of a Detroit storefront after leaving CCS.

"I raised my children on them," Trimpe said of the portrait busts. She estimates that she's created more than 200, including the likeness of former Michigan governor G. Mennen Williams, Chuck Muer, dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov and Henry Ford II.

After admitting she became "burned out" on the art form, she took a 15-year hiatus from bust-making and has recently returned to creating the pieces for clients who want their children or selves captured in clay, bronze or terra cotta.

The busts sell for between $1,500 to $10,000, depending on the medium and take two to three months to complete -- a fraction of the time it takes to work on commissioned public pieces.

In the meantime, she is working on a series of small nudes to be displayed and sold in gallery shows after she "retires" from bust-making and public art.

"I think I've got 20 years (of work) left in me before that," she said.

You can reach Lisa Martino at (313) 222-2717 or


 Neighborhood News 

  • Neighborhood News index for Wednesday, January 12, 2005
  • Children add personal touch as they aid needy
  • Ex-marine cop comes ashore
  • Artist dresses up towns with life-size sculptures
  • Macomb Township guard aims to win
  • High School Salutes: Young Athletes, James Courtney Dakota High School
  • Student of the Week: Clinton Township; Christina Hermiz, Clintondale Middle School
  • Correction
  • Meetings
  • News Briefs
  • Public safety
  • Reunions

     Sections for this date 

    Sunday, January 16, 2005

    Copyright 2005
    The Detroit News.
    Use of this site indicates your agreement to the Terms of Service (updated 12/19/2002).