Shipshewana Antique Auction Seller Creates Mindblowing Metal Art

Post Date: Jul 28, 2023

I had the amazing honor of visiting with Michael Vargas, Antique Auction seller at Shipshewana Trading Place Misc. & Antique Auction. Michael has been selling since early 2022 and shares an amazing story of his creativity and how it all came to be!

Michael has an amazing talent for creating metal art and has sold items at a variety of markets and events in the Ft. Wayne area where he is from, but had gotten towards what he thought was the end of the life of his unique trade. He had always heard of Shipshewana Auction and thought he’d give it a try selling here.

As a first-time seller, he did all right and continued to come back and was received by buyers really well. He shared "some weeks are better than others, and that’s the nature of an auction", but overall did much better than he expected, so he has continued to sell his one-of-a-kind treasure here regularly.

He’s been creating Scrap Metal Art or Industrial Art for 5 years. His 1st piece of art actually coincides with his sobriety date. He started making lamps and it has spiraled out of control since then. He added "It’s what God made me to do and I’m lucky because not everyone gets to find that thing that’s like... Wow, this is what I am going to do for the rest of my life!”

Some of what keeps me going and creating is the sheer satisfaction that some of my pieces bring to those who find them and bid on them at the live auction. That’s the joy I get when people are elated and blown away by a specific piece they just have to buy!

So how does he come up with these?

I’m creative in a mechanical sense, but most of the time, it’s my little girl who brings some of these ideas to life with her ideas. While he has had to tell her to slow down on how many unicorns he can build, she still keeps the ideas coming and helps him with the never-ending ideas. Some of it, he’s made more than once and he tries to make each one a little better and different with each build.

His favorite subjects are motorcycles, guitars and horses. He’s actually made a playable guitar in partnership with Sweetwater and continues to master his craft that began as a therapy for his sobriety. The joy he gets from sharing his talent with individuals who can enjoy it for a lifetime is as rewarding as the selling of the items themselves. He is fulfilled in an occupation he loves to continue to develop!

Where Does He Find All the Scrap Metal?

He finds items at garage sales, junkyards or anywhere he can dig up some old scrap metal and sells the finished art at the antique auction, flea market, swap meets and just anywhere he can find buyers interested in his trade. Each piece is hand crafted, engraved, dated and signed by Michael.

If you are interested in seeing more of his work and bidding on them, look for his pieces online to preview photos or stop by Shipshewana Misc. & Antique Auction Wednesdays to see if he's around. He's a joy and would love to share his work with you any time!

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