From the gutters to gallery space - | WBTV Charlotte

From the gutters to gallery space


We've all heard the saying that one man's trash is another man's treasure, but how about treasure that has been found in local gutters and is transformed into well displayed gallery art?

A well guarded secret is hidden inside of North Charlotte's Moore Place.

The first floor unit isn't just home to William Pumphrey, but it also houses a collection of his hand made nautical creations.

Pumphrey's passion for military ship building has lasted for nearly 20 years.

"I love the weapons of war, but I don't advocate war," he said.
Detailed and intricate best describe the work, but materials are very basic.

Pumphrey told WBTV that it begins with ,"a long empty card board box."

The work includes stoppers from sinks, and the housing off of a lawn mower engine.

Ships on the water take up the most space in this cramped apartment, but he's also focused on things that fly like a World War One Red Baron Plane.

" It starts with empty towel rollers,"Pumphrey said." These are two slats from wooden Venetian blinds type deals."

Art springs to life and evolves from discarded items he's found in the street through personal experiences.

Hardship has not hindered his craft.

Before moving to Moore Place, William Pumphrey was homeless for 14 years.

Caroline Chambre is the director of the housing complex which is run by Charlotte's Urban Ministry Center.

She said, "William uses art as an amazing outlet to express himself."

His work has also found prominent shelf space in the office of urban planner Michael Gallis, as well as in gallery shows in Atlanta and Chapel Hill.

So where does the inspiration come from?

Pumphrey said, "Love of the Navy. Love of art. Love of pure creation."

It is a love that has many of his pieces signed, sealed, and set to sail.

He has sold pieces that range in price from 50 bucks to more than $1,000.

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