MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — If 2020 has taught us anything, we occasionally need a getaway from reality — and Mankato artist Eduardo Ek has certainly found his happy place.
In an old building, and down an equally old set of stairs, you will find colorful canvases that offer an escape to somewhere else.
Ek’s love for painting began in high school. It’s a hobby and passion that he’s passed on to his kids, including son Justin.
“We’re painters by trade, so we have a natural aptitude to make and do stuff,” Justin said.
That aptitude now extends well beyond oil paints and brushes.
“All of the sudden I was flipping through YouTube channels and I walked into this silver pouring thing,” Eduardo said. “Like a duck to water, I got sucked in.”
He began buying silver shot, heating it to nearly 2,000 degrees, and then pouring and molding it into bullions. He does what’s called graphite molds and sand casting. And when he gets going, silence is not golden. The studio gets loud.
“You have to be a little bit mechanical sometimes,” Eduardo said.
It only takes a few minutes to make a piece. The finished product is stamped, cooled and buffed. And while Eduardo keeps some of his favorites, this type of artwork is rare, so collectors are constantly calling.
“You’re not really throwing away your money. You will always have the value of silver,” Eduardo said.
For Eduardo, the hobby has become a silver lining during a year that could use a few more silver linings.
“It’s unique. It’s like awesome. It’s not mass produced. It’s pretty much one piece at a time,” Eduardo said.