By ELIZABETH SCHAFER
Ingrid Tourangeau originally comes from Maine, and now resides in Shepherd, MI. Married, with a small child, Tourangeau now manages her time between work and family, and focuses on her art in her downtime. Studying Fine Art at the Maine College of Art, Tourangeau has moved on from her normal medium of paint to constructing miniature art made from cardboard, then making the miniature houses from an abundant amount of different materials. Locally she has had shows at Art Reach of Michigan.
What made you want to deal with miniature art?
I started making miniature houses in graduate school. One of my professors suggested it because I was already working with the house and the idea of intimate space as well as interior space. She had a magazine called “Works on Paper” and I think that’s where she got the idea of me working with cardboard. I did research on the miniature and on the doll house and found that these ideas corresponded well with what I was trying to accomplish through my art: a sense of reverie and daydream which is kind of an untouchable space or an “imaginary space,” which the viewer can’t physically enter but can envision himself/herself there.
How long does it take to create your “dollhouses?”
It takes quite a while, typically, two or three months. Now that I have a child it may take even longer.
Why did you choose paper and miniature construction as your muse?
I love using cardboard and paper because they are so inexpensive and mundane. I choose miniature construction because of the reasons outlined in the first question and because it is convenient for me to photograph. When I photograph them with my digital camera I can get them printed poster-sized and that creates the illusion that they are full-sized spaces.
Has this always been your favorite medium?
No, it’s only been since grad school. I used to feel that oil painting was my favorite medium. I like to be flexible and versatile. I like to use whatever materials seem appropriate to the content I am trying to produce.
Where can people see your art locally, or reach you for a purchase?
Alas, I do not have a steady venue as of yet. I have had a few shows at Art Reach. I have tried the Art Festival venue. I have posted things on Etsy.com. I Have a Facebook artist page where people can get ahold of me. I do private viewings of my art at my studio.
Yes! That is a good way to look at it. It is all about the dream-like quality of these spaces. I try to make spaces that I would love to be in.
Where does your inspiration come from?
In a word: life. I have made miniatures of places that I’ve lived. My barn was inspired by the Michigan countryside I see on my drive to work from Shepherd every day. A three-story loft was inspired by an architectural drawing one of my friends showed me about a very skinny but space-efficient living space. Currently, I am working on a greenhouse with Corian-sample countertops from Home Depot where I work.