The word “Tramp” is short for trampen, a German word which means apprentice. Tramp art is a folk art and a tramp artist was typically a man of Germanic tradition. Tramp art was made in Europe and the U.S. primarily in German communities. The objects of art were made into utilitarian objects with materials that were readily available.
In the U.S., from 1860 to 1920, artists disassembled wooden cigar boxes into strips of scrap wood. The wooden cigar boxes were made from cedar and mahogany. The artists layered the stripes of wood, which were decorated with “v” shaped notches and formed the layers into small 3-D pyramid shapes. The art form slowed as wooden cigar boxes were replaced with paper boxes.
Examples of Tramp Art can be found in Europe and America. Small boxes, mirrors and frames are typical examples of this folk art.