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
"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
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,"
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
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