Artist Upcycles Classic Wrecks Into Functional Pieces
For some, the next stage of end-of-life classics isn’t a rebuild, but rather a reutilization of their classic lines and beauty. Jake Shelton is an award-winning hot rod artist who creates car sculptures and functional automobile art, www.jakesheltonart.com. His pieces have been used in the Ironman 3 movie and sold to famous personalities.
“Eighty-thousand dollars for a bed may seem steep,” said Hollywood producer T Michael, “but not when it’s made out of a Lamborghini.”
Shelton’s “Car Crash Sculpture” for Ironman 3, which graces Tony Stark’s mansion, was constructed from wrecked remains of Monaco Formula-One racecars from Ironman 2. Four Shelton works have also appeared in J.J. Abrams’ Revolution, the NBC television series, including the 14-foot cross created from junked car parts.
Shelton regularly haunts auto boneyards for “The Bodies” - hoods, fenders, rooftops, trunks, and engines - that he “upcycles” into functional art for a select cadre of hot rod enthusiasts - rock stars, rappers, R&B artists, celebrities, athletes, and classic-car aficionados in the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
“No car part is beyond hope,” he said. “I especially love to work with cars that have history with their owners, or a client who has a specifi c car in mind, like a make / model / year that means something to her or him.”
“All of my art comes from deep love of Hot Rods and Kustom Kulture,” added Shelton, citing his immense respect for Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, George Barris of the Barris Brothers, the late Dean Jeffries, the late Larry Watson, Red Harden, and Robert Williams, as well as infl uences of Surf culture, the Lowrider ethos, Polynesian and Tiki art, and Punk Rock roots. “To take a piece of a thing that used to go fast and make it go fast again is feeling that the energy of the road is still in that fender, hood, front clip, door, whatever it is - and it’s waiting for me to make it fast, cool, and beautiful again.”