David Trautrimas, The Spyfrost Project

“If I had let go, I would have killed two people.”

David Trautrimas

According to David Trautrimas, it all started with a broken vacuum cleaner. That is, his quirky preoccupation for turning ordinary objects into the most extraordinary contraptions. In his latest series, The Spyfrost Project, currently on show in the Empire of Dreams exhibition at Toronto’s MOCCA, Trautrimas has completely discombobulated a record player, a chainsaw, some microscopes, floor polishers, and a large potentially life threatening refrigerator.

Undoubtedly, the unveiling of the truth behind his cold-war tinged photos only contributes to their charm. Trautrimas admitted to me that a guest at the opening excitedly divulged that they had seen the very buildings in his photographs while riding the trans-Siberian express. The intense realism of these non-existent structural oddities comes from literally hundreds of obsessive hours tweaking minutia on his 24” apple monitor.

Throughout our discussion Trautrimas’ boyish face lights up at the chance to elaborate on his fanciful artistic inspirations. I invite you to imagine the artist as a child with a quiet, intelligent demeanor. The kind of child whose silence is one of a dreamer’s disinterest, broken only by one special topic of absorption. Judging from his art, this subject for him may well have been the idea of “the future.” That future that we all looked forward to with the flying cars and space age buildings fit for anti-atmospheric conditions.

It seems likely that these structures have been lingering somewhere in the artist’s imagination well before they were revealed to the rest of us. Adding to this impression is the look of age surfacing his architectures that comes from their past lives as more mundane devices. It is almost as if he is revealing to us a nearly concrete, now jaded vision of this past future from his childhood.

The solidity of these photos makes it hard to believe that these structures only exist in imagination. His chronic habit of radical distortion of scale forces him to take hundreds of photos with varying depths of field to preserve a unified illusion. At times he also adds actual architectural details such as doors and windows culled from an extensive catalogue of personal photos. The final re-purposed structure is laid overtop of the artist’s own masterfully rendered sky-scapes.

The desolate rocky wastelands housing his constructions also come from photos. These ones extracted from his amateur geological explorations of some of Ontario’s most beautiful panoramas. On this topic, Trautrimas once again reveals a childish glint in his eye. For that reason I found it unsurprising that the theme behind his newest project centers around geological core samples. The work, entitled Sweet Sediment, is a public art project funded by the “Build Toronto Mentorship Program.” It’s scheduled for installation in the Corus Quay at the foot of Jarvis in mid-July.

David Trautrimas is represented by LE Gallery in Toronto.

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