Henry Kupjack, or Hank to his friends, has pretty much had one job all his life; continue the artistic output and hallmark of quality that was begun by his father, Eugene. Hank’s innate talent was so arch that his university professors at the UIC’s College of Architecture were skeptical , assuming his father’s studio must have had a hand in it. In truth, Hank’s father was perhaps his best trainer in all the arts and history.
No CGI. No 3D printers. No outsourcing. When you inspect the exquisite craftsmanship of a Kupjack miniature you are looking at an artwork that is wrought entirely by one pair of hands using tools that have been with us for over a century.
Because there are never replicas of people in a Kupjack miniature, the viewer is free to supply a narrative of their own construction. What happened moments ago in this room? What is going on beyond these walls? Personal memories, literature, favorite movies, family relics and stories passed from generation to generation all subconsciously collaborate to provide to the unique backstory to this ornate set.
This neo-classical library from Northern Germany circa 1820 is one of the latest works completed by Kupjack Studios. The classical design, marked by simple formal dignity, was a reaction to the empty grandeur of the recently defeated Napoleon.
This cowboy bar in San Francisco circa 1880 was adapted from a movie set design for 20th Century Fox by Ladd Hoffman, the artist’s great uncle. The film never ended up being made but the contents of this archetypical Hollywood version of a saloon were used many times over in an estimated 50 movies over the years.
No examples of this 18th century coffeehouse have survived in the real world, so this sumptuous interior is a conjectural recreation based on research. During the Ottoman Empire, each social class had its own version of this social meeting place, from a shabby stall in the Bazaar all the way to a private club. Starbucks doesn’t seem so swank in comparison, now does it?
A Kupjack miniature of a 1940s diner like this one was loaned to President and Mrs. Clinton and displayed in their private living quarters at the White House during their two terms there. A replica of an Army Air Corps hat and bomber jacket, WPA posters and like help to suggest the last edge of the cultural iconography of World War II before the 1960s replaced it with what we are all too familiar with today: interchangeable plastic franchised vulgarity with the food to match.
Viewers of Kupjack miniatures have often expressed being “sucked in” to the work. It is a heady experience that is reminiscent of a chapter right out of Alice in Wonderland. This storybook quality matched by the peerless historical research is why Kupjack miniatures fascinate audiences from ages 5 to 95.