Tinker Toys and little boys

“El Rancho Del Nopal Electrico” oil, 14 x 22 in.

     The imagination of a child can take a simple object and remold into a completely different entity.  Communities for dogs, planes that turn into homes, boats that drive down highways and houses that fly are all examples of reality gone mad as we age and lose our sense of curiosity.

     Steve Frenkel has managed to keep this sense of intrigue and idiosyncrasy toward life and brings back the image-forming part of the brain that many thought was long gone to the pressures and realism that we thought had to be.  In the acrylic paintings of Frenkel, you will find yourself daydreaming of imaginary scenes that spark a deeply hidden sport known as bliss.

     Steve and his identical twin brother, Alan, were typical youngsters that would create small towns and envision situations to tell a story.  Frenkel remembers Gulliver’s Travels as a favorite imaginary game where society was full of Lilliputians and gentle giants.  “El Rancho Del Nopal Electrico” and “428 Agronomy Drive” are great examples of the mixture of realism and imagination. 

     Since his upbringing and schooling at the University of Michigan where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Graphic Design in 1965, Frenkel has been involved in graphic design.  Since 1997 when painting became his passion, he has spread his work throughout museums, shows and periodicals. Over 160 pieces now belong to private, corporate, public and museum collections across US states.  His first solo museum show took place in 2006 at the LaGrange Art Museum in LaGrange, Georgia where his work was first seen and admired by many.

“428 Agronomy Drive” oil, 16 x 16 in.

     Imaginary landscapes is the focal point of all of Frenkel’s work and started out using traditional acrylics in 1991 for all of his paintings.  Switching to Winsor & Newton’s Griffin Alkyd Oils for about eight years in the early 2000s was the paint of choice but then he moved back to acrylics in 2006.  A difference can also be noticed in the expressionistic tone during this time frame with a change to a more realism in the more current years. 

     The Maumee Quartet is a series of four paintings of a bridge in northwest Ohio that displays the fantasy of the theme instead of viewing a real place.  Fantasy isn’t just dragons and castles but a fictional way of entertaining the senses with realism as the basis.  Steve Frenkel does a superb job of unleashing the timeless imagination in all of us if we just allow ourselves to be free.

     Look for more of Frenkel’s work in New American Paintings and American Art Collector Annual or visit www.stevefrenkel.net for a series of paintings throughout the years.  His paintings can currently be seen at the Swan Coach House Gallary in Atlanta, Georgia, where “Little Things Mean A lot” is premiering through January 2011.   Artist Frenkel lives with his wife, Donna, in Marietta, Georgia, where he continues his work.

Print feature download: Portrait of Steve Frenkel-Georgia




Published by on May 2013. Filed under Archives, Art-to-Art Palette Journal, Cover Section. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Comments for “Tinker Toys and little boys”

  1. Steve Frenkel’s amazingly detailed surrealistic paintings take the viewer into a whimsical and fantastic world that is truly unique. His pictures can be appreciated on several levels: intricate composition, exceptional control and design, and of course the wonderful stories that get more interesting and involved as one looks at the work. There is something going on everywhere in Steve’s work, and it is all fascinating.

  2. This feature article brought back to my mind a picture of my Grandson Evan, who was 7 or 8 years old. When he came to visit, Evan would always bring his Legos. He had lots of Legos! I would watch him create and wonder: How does he know what pieces to use? I would often say to him, why don’t you sort them out into different parts and pieces so you will find them easily. He looked at me eye to eye and said “Grandma, I know my Legos.” He knew where to find each piece he used in this big case.

    Reading “A Portrait of Steve Frenkel” made me think of that experience with happy memories. As I viewed Steve’s paintings, I couldn’t help to think of when his creativity started with the same simple toys to spark the creative mind.

    Now 17, my Grandson is very interested in radio announcing and I can’t wait to see how his creative side will unfold in the future.

    I love the creativity of the painting “428 Agronomy Drive” because it makes me want to take a walk up that driveway and see what awaits behind the house! I also love the view from above the cotton like clouds.

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