Florida’s Eric Shupe is happy to take your everyday flatware and turn it into a fantastic, one-of-a kind sculpture.
The artist: Born in Baltimore, Shupe traveled across the country with his father living in unique environments, like a treehouse in redwood forests and a tiki hut in Hawaii, before they settled down near Gainesville, Fla. Shupe credits his father with exposing him to various art forms and encouraging his creativity.
The business: Eric Shupe Collection is based in Hampton, Fla. Shupe started creating his sculpture about 20 years ago. Not until 2015, did the self-taught sculptor start publicly displaying it. Shupe works out of a newly built studio on the side of his house.
Inspiration: Two spoons that looked like the back of a woman’s legs. Shupe saw what he could do with common household utensils.
The goods: Sculptures, often life-size or larger, are composed of upcycled forks, knives and spoons of all sizes.
The materials: Stainless, sterling silver and silver-plated flatware. Also brass flatware from India. Though Shupe uses mostly stainless, he will incorporate sterling in a commission that includes the family’s heirlooms.
Source of materials: Donations. Sometimes boxes of flatware are delivered to his home. Other times, he discovers little bags of flatware in his mailbox. Many people drop off flatware at his art shows.
What’s popular: Angels and horses ($6,500 to $18,000), depending on the size and number of figures (sometimes as many as 10) within each sculpture.
Other favorites: A simple figure of a single woman ($6,400 to $9,500), often described as strong and sensual.
Unusual request: Create a three-headed winged dragon (using 62,300 pieces) as a chandelier for a home. The wing span had to be five feet, four inches: the height of the husband’s wife.
Other fun requests: Two scuba divers swimming with a humpback whale as an anniversary gift for a couple who have homes in Florida and Colorado. Also an eagle that incorporates five generations of sterling within it.
Big break: Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum purchased two large sculptures several years ago. A six-foot horse was shipped to its franchise in Canada. A 13-foot mermaid went to Ripley’s museum in Amsterdam.
Award: Sculpture Award at 2018 Spectrum Miami, a juried, contemporary art show held during Miami Art Week each December.
What’s new: A horse series with Nefertiti, the Egyptian Queen. Also a six-foot Pro-Street Chopper with mermaids.
Where to buy: Typically, only at art shows. To commission a piece, visit ericshupecollection.com
Get social at: Eric Shupe Collection on facebook and instagram.