About Hermann Trappman

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Florida natural and cultural history artist and painter Hermann Trappman has been traveling a road that has not only spanned from the New World to the Old World and back again, but back into prehistory itself. With years of meticulous study of Florida's original natives - or pre-Columbian peoples - he has been piecing together their lives and culture through his art.

Born in Rochester, New York, to a German immigrant family - he moved to St. Petersburg, Florida when he was eight years old. Curiosity and a taste for discovery naturally evolved into an fascination with nature and the world around him. Growing up in the Tampa Bay area and exploring the once-pristine landscape, finding unusual fossils and shell mounds that are so common in this area naturally led into a deep curiosity of his new home's past and about the people who once lived and thrived here.

As a self-taught artist, Hermann was naturally drawn to the old masters by their drama and their wonderful ability to tell a story. Over time he became attracted to artists who painted or sculpted stories with hidden or multiple meanings. In the late 1960's, he was fortunate to be able to study under and learn from the insights and experiences of artist New York-trained artist Henry Fink . In 1978, he traveled to Germany to visit family, and had the great fortune to study in the House of Art (House de Kunst) in Munich. This education in the arts was complemented by many visits the art museums of Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.

Having attended the Florida Anthropological Society annual meetings and working as an interpretative park ranger for 28 years, he has devoted his adult life to the study of Florida’s first natives. His artwork is based on hands-on experience - making and reconstructing the tools and weapons, researching the scientific data

related to early geological and historical records, and years of meticulous study and recurrent reevaluation of the known facts. Hermann's goal is to build our understanding of America's past and in particular Florida's original natives and their unique and distinct culture from the beginning.

"I believe that I have discovered a genuine Native American high culture here in Florida, a society which rivaled the Maya of Central America or the Inca of Peru," he explains. "The west coast of Florida and Tampa Bay was one of the world’s most plentiful estuaries at the time of discovery. The Native People would never have known hunger. Freshwater filled local ponds and streams. Generous forests grew into good building materials. The remains of Mound Key and the artifacts hauled out of Key Marco, by Frank Hamilton Cushing, are evidence of something far greater than our present interpretation of the Calusa and by inference, the Tocobaga. I feel that our Native People were a complex culture based on wonderful wood construction."

Through his art, he is trying to reconstruct some aspects of Native American life and culture, what it might have been like, and more importantly - what lessons might be learned from it.

Hermann and his wife Elizabeth Neily started Florida Frontiers in 1998 when they started publishing the magazine, Florida Frontier Gazette. He was awarded two Individual Artist Grants from Pinellas County Cultural Affairs Department. He was commissioned to do some of the artwork for the DeSoto National Memorial in Bradenton, who also arranged a show and book signing at the South Florida Museum. His work can currently be seen in the Florida Museum of Natural History's traveling exhibit, Tusks! - Ice Age Mammoths and Mastodons.

Recent Commissions

Sarasota County - Indian Mound Park Educational Signs

City of St. Petersburg – Maximo Park Educational Signs

DeSoto National Memorial – Florida DeSoto Trail Kiosks

DeSoto National Memorial Junior Ranger Book

Florida Public Archaeology Network Crystal River Archaeological Site Kiosk

Recent Public Appearances

Collier County Museum, lecture: Obscured by Time Naples

Museum of Florida Art and Culture, Avon Park, lecture: Obscured by Time, Tampa

Sacred Lands Preservation and Education Center, Whispers on the Waves, St. Petersburg

Tampa Bay History Center, lecture: Obscured by Time, Tampa

Traveling Exhibits

Obscured by Time: the Miracle of Florida

Collier County MuseumMuseum of Florida Art and Culture,

South Florida Community College, Avon Park

Tampa Bay History Center, Tampa

Weedon Island Preserve, St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg Museum of History

South Florida Museum, Bradenton (partial exhibit)

Miscellaneous Shows

Calusa Days, Randell Research Center, Pinelands

Old florida Festival; Collier County Museum, Naples

Anthropological Society Annual Meeting, Pensacola

Dade Battlefield State Historic Site, Bushnell

Growing Greener, Gulfport

Traveling Lectures

Pinellas’ Original People

Ancient Lives: Native American and Spanish Contact Period

Living in Paradise: Medicinal and Edible Plants of the Tocobaga Indians

Birth of the Sun, Earth, Moon, and Florida


The Art of Hermann Trappman

Hermann discusses his work and influences on location around Tampa Bay area.

Chickasaw.TV: De Soto Series

For more about Hermann’s Programs

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Environmental Educator

Living History Interpreter