Big Chief

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177 votes 36 comments

Sundie says: An assignment. A ceiling tile. A turkey. A business. Creative businesses start in creative ways. Vintage Sculpture started with my husband, Brad, and I in 2000 with an assignment from our son Tucker's 2nd grade teacher.

Tucker came home with a Thanksgiving assignment to make a turkey as a family. He decided he wanted to make his bird out of the vintage ceiling tin we were making into boxes and selling at our local farmers market.So our family worked together to make a ceiling-tile gobbler. He turned in his turkey and came home with an A and five orders from teachers and parents for more!

That turkey has led us down many roads. We love our crazy life of creating and selling the art we fashion out of cast-off and vintage materials, the truest form of recycling! We relish the fact that we get to do what we love everyday and it supports our passion of collecting and us!

We find inspiration everywhere, from the piece of metal the kids pick up while walking down the street to stopping at little hole-in-the-wall joints to search out vintage treasures in antique stores and flea markets to being inspired by fine art museums.
License plates, vintage ceiling tin, bottled caps, game pieces, face hand carved on wood
Sundie Ruppert
Upcycling Design Challenge

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Emily, UncommonGoods

October 16, 2013 02:17:53 PM

Who knew a 2nd grade project would be the inspiration for such a creative business that produces such beautiful home decor? We think Big Chief is bold and fun wall art. Would you hang this on your walls?

Vote: Thumbs up!

October 17, 2013 10:00:41 AM

Brad & Sundie's work is exciting, lively, rich, and tickles the senses. That it's made by two great folks makes it even better. My opinion? I recommend including Big Chief as an uncommon good, and, look for more Vintage Sculpture pieces to to include.

Vote: Thumbs up!

October 17, 2013 10:28:31 AM

Vintage Sculpture is uniquely American, fashioned by an amazing husband and wife team!! They also have a great sense of what sells... You won't go wrong including them in your catalog!!

Vote: Thumbs up!

October 17, 2013 10:32:06 AM

I LOVE Vintage Sculpture's art. We have several pieces. Sundie and Brad are so talented and I am always amazed at what they come up with next. So cool!

Vote: Thumbs down!

October 17, 2013 10:51:55 AM

Ive seen this work in person and its marginal. I have seen missing or broken pieces on their work. Would not purchase.

Vote: Thumbs up!

October 17, 2013 10:57:48 AM

Sundie and Brad are hardworking artists with an immense focus on family. They are the best of the best and their artwork speaks to it. You'd be LUCKY to have a piece of theirs in your collection.

Vote: Thumbs up!

October 17, 2013 11:42:51 AM

Amazing art from amazing people. I would definitely order!

Vote: Thumbs up!

October 17, 2013 11:42:51 AM

Amazing art from amazing people. I would definitely order!

Vote: Thumbs up!

October 17, 2013 11:43:45 AM

Amazing people amazing art!


October 17, 2013 12:35:20 PM


Vote: Thumbs up!

October 17, 2013 01:23:55 PM

carol, i am sorry you feel that way about our work :o( where have you seen our work? we take great pride in our art which we call found object contemporary folk art. when you are dealing with vintage and found objects you are going to have irregularities and imperfections and we feel those things make each piece we make even MORE unique...not broken.

Vote: Thumbs up!

October 17, 2013 01:38:39 PM

thanks for all the kind words!! please keep sharing with your friends! we are in 2nd place as i type!!!


October 17, 2013 01:44:38 PM

Two very talented people who have such great imagination to come up with all their beautiful work. Big Chief is awesome.

Vote: Thumbs up!

October 17, 2013 02:09:27 PM

Awesome sculpture!! Great colors and detail. Super fun!!

Vote: Thumbs up!

October 17, 2013 05:47:37 PM

I've been a fan of Vintage Sculpture's artistry for years. I have several of their original ceiling tile box planters - they always draw compliments! Their work is unique - true Americana. Big Chief is definitely an UncommonGood that I would love to hang on my dining room wall. No doubt they'll have other wonderful pieces that will be perfect in youir catalog, too.

Vote: Thumbs up!

October 17, 2013 06:51:23 PM

Amazing, interesting and super creative!

Vote: Thumbs up!

October 17, 2013 06:53:48 PM

Amazing, creative, and fun- this is art in it's purest form!

Vote: Thumbs up!

October 18, 2013 12:38:29 AM

WOW CLIFF!!! thanks for taking the time out of your around the world adventure to vote for us!!! love reading the entire family's blog posts!

Vote: Thumbs up!

October 18, 2013 01:33:39 PM

It is a great design and I like it. I would not buy it though as it would not fit with our decor by any stretch of the imagination.

Vote: Thumbs up!

October 18, 2013 01:35:12 PM

I might consider a turkey design for the holiday season......if the price were not overly prohibitive.


October 18, 2013 06:12:43 PM

If you incorporate OK license plates into this design, I guarantee you'd find a huge following here. Trust me. I'm an Okie. :)

Polly Hitt
Vote: Thumbs up!

October 19, 2013 10:40:06 AM

The Rupperts create Extraordinary pieces of art!

Vote: Thumbs down!

October 19, 2013 11:19:57 AM

Redface and cultural appropriation are offensive. Did you just print out some clipart, color it RED and slap on some scrap metal? This is terrible.

Vote: Thumbs down!

October 19, 2013 01:53:56 PM

please do not support redface art. this is incredibly offensive and tasteless

Vote: Thumbs up!

October 19, 2013 03:12:28 PM

dee and cindy, i am so sorry to hear that you are offended in anyway by our art. we by no means feel that what we do is offensive. our new line of "ICONS" is based on images and people that have inspired and influenced us throughout our lives and the indian chief is just ONE of many pieces in our collection (it just happen to be the one that uncommon goods chose to feature for this contest). we have always been honored when people talk about how our art makes them smile, or gets them through a difficult time in their lives so your comments come as a complete surprise. we feel the natives of our country are amazing and resilient individuals with rich cultural traditions that have stood the test of time and we honor them. i don't see how that is offensive. we also have a cowboy, buffalo, cowgirl, because they are all iconic symbols of American heritage but ironically, we have never heard a single complaint from them.

Vote: Thumbs up!

October 19, 2013 04:43:34 PM

Awesome awesome piece. Love the use of recycled pieces and attention to detail. Colors work together well. And after browsing the all the comments I would say to Dee and Cindy, does this make famous photographer Edward Curtis a racist for shooting beautiful photographs of the vanishing native american ways, thus honoring them and their heritage. Or Korczak Ziolkowski's Family for giving blood, sweat and many years of their lives to create the Crazy Horse Memorial and once again honoring the native americans. I don't think so. I see no racism or defacing of the culture done here either. Just another way to show a portrait of a proud, honorable man and the people that were here before all of us. Nice job Sundie.

Vote: Thumbs up!

October 19, 2013 09:37:34 PM

It's been so much fun to watch Brad's and Sundie's artwork grow over the past 20-some years. I've seen this in person and it is intricately detailed and magnificently done--just like all their work. To top it off, they are caring, loving, and giving people who share their talents over and over and support many school and community efforts. They never cease to amaze me and it's been an honor to call them my friends.

Vote: Thumbs down!

October 20, 2013 02:33:29 AM

I'm sure Geronimo, himself, would be holding his head high and proud for being brought back to life, honored, and embodied by the wasteful lethality towards future generations: the white man's genocidal forces of alcohol and automobiles. not. Oh yeah, happy Thanksgiving turkey. Gobble Gobble.

Vote: Thumbs down!

October 20, 2013 02:00:23 PM

I find this quite offensive and in poor taste.

Vote: Thumbs up!

October 20, 2013 11:10:39 PM


Vote: Thumbs up!

October 21, 2013 02:27:09 PM

Carol, Dee, Cindy, Death and Tee, just wanted to let you know that the Gilcrease Museum at the University of Tulsa carries our Native American pieces along with an unparalleled collection of Native American artwork and artifacts and we are honored to be a part of their museum. I don't know what more approval and acceptance you can get as an artist for a culture you are honoring than that

Vote: Thumbs up!

October 21, 2013 03:05:22 PM

Love it!


October 21, 2013 04:04:23 PM

Hail to the Chief! go Sundie and Brad!!

Vote: Thumbs down!

October 21, 2013 11:30:53 PM

The Indian chief motif is inappropriate. You took one of the most cliche depictions of Native Americans and found a way to profit off of it. The fact that (in the comments below) you note that you do not see any difference between this piece and pictures of buffalo and cowboys speaks volumes.

Vote: Thumbs down!

October 21, 2013 11:41:27 PM

I love recycled art, but am a bit tired of the using of the American Indian as inspiration. I am a lover of modern art.

Vote: Thumbs up!

October 22, 2013 09:56:28 AM

Your art and your inspiration are beautiful. I find it very sad that so many people feel the need to jump on the political correctness bandwagon with absolutely no regard for the artistry. You have taken an iconic image and recreated it with beauty and dignity. I vote Thumbs UP.

thanks for commenting