Frauenfelder miniatures offer a slice of Trinidad and Tobago culture
Inspired by the rich culture of Trinidad and Tobago, Tremayne Frauenfelder started creating miniature painted clay sculptures to represent the spirit of the islands. He replicates things such as panyards, traditional mas characters, colonial houses, the Queen’s Park Savannah during Carnival and poui trees in full bloom, or as he calls it "A Slice of our Culture."
One piece can take Frauenfelder a few hours, days, weeks or even months, depending on the subject and the amount of detail needed. The 42-year-old doesn’t shy away from making his pieces hyper-realistic and is determined to spend any length of time to achieve the look he is going for.
On his Instagram page frauenfelder_miniatures, he posts some of the sculptures he has done, including the fixtures that bring the pieces to life. On one of his Instagram highlights, he showed off an antique ceiling light which he completed at almost 4 am after working on it for hours.
Frauenfelder said although he didn't really have a love for sculpting and art, his parents and siblings influenced him to get into it. His journey to becoming an artist wasn’t a straightforward one.
“I grew up in a house that was conducive to creativity: my parents and elder siblings are creatives. I’m the last of six, so everyone else was already making things and doing art, and there wasn’t any shock when I picked up and started doing the same thing.”
His mother is a seamstress and his father is a carpenter, and they both created mas costumes for the primary school he attended, Mt Lambert RC. He would observe his siblings colouring and drawing, and his sisters even making their own dolls' houses. He said, with a laugh, "The influence to be artistic was clearly heavy."
Frauenfelder said he started sculpting in 2005, but had to stop because life got in the way and it became too distracting to continue. But when he resumed in 2010, he vowed then and there that he would never stop sculpting and creating.
Since then his work, produced in his east Port of Spain studio, has been featured in various exhibits and has been sold to people in Canada, the US and even Jerusalem.
“When the Royal Caribbean cruise ship came to Trinidad, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts reached out to me to commission a piece for someone in management. So that piece is probably travelling the world.”
For people interested in buying his pieces, he said the prices of his work vary, and range from $1,800 up.
As for the rate of his sales, he said, “They go quickly. They don’t really stick around and have a nice conversation with me any more. As soon as I’m done, it’s like, ‘Okay, bye-bye.’”
Asked if he would ever offer classes, he said, “I have thought about it, but I decided not to, because I don’t know how serious anybody would be to really want to put the amount of money, patience and time.”
He has offered three workshops before, but has come to the conclusion that in order for someone to properly develop the skill would require a college-course layout that spans a few months.
He said when he first started creating hyper-realistic pieces he was clueless, but during his research he found a favourite artist on YouTube. He advises young artists to do the same.
“If you had said to me as a child that one day I can live off my art and exhibit, and that people from different countries will contact me to do commissions for them, I would have doubted you.”
He tells up-and-coming artists: “Just do it.”
"Frauenfelder miniatures offer a slice of Trinidad and Tobago culture"