A fourth-generation builder, Mark Jupiter was practically born into woodworking. However, it was Mark's first professional experience designing and building a timber frame home in the Catskills that Mark really gleaned his skill set. Today he uses those skills to create handmade furniture using reclaimed materials.
Name/Location: Mark Jupiter/Brooklyn
Where did you grow up? I was born and raised on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
Where did you study/train? I learned what I do as a result of being a 4th Generation NYC Builder. My great grandfather taught my grandfather, my grandfather taught my father and so on. Given this, growing up I constantly found myself taking on projects that I had no idea how to do and learned most of my trade by fear and shear necessity.
What was the first thing you made and sold? Being a bit of an extremist I decided to launch my artistic career by designing and building a 5,000 square foot timber frame home. I literally sold everything I had in the City, bought some land up in the Catskills and spent the next two years of my life personally constructing every inch the house. No one in my family had ever built an entire house before and I knew that it would give me the opportunity to learn everything I still needed to. This house was the most expensive ever built in the area and sold for more than any other ever had. It was the most self evolving experience of my life to that point and represented the spring board for everything I am doing now.
Who is your design idol? Though I am much more spiritual than religious, I think I gotta go with just saying God. Pretty incredible stuff!
Where do you find inspiration? Simply put my inspiration comes directly from the materials that I work with every day. Whether it is the ancient redwood reclaimed from a 100 year old NYC water tower or a massive old growth spalted maple toppled by a recent storm, dealing with reclaimed woods gives me the opportunity to use some of the worlds greatest species that simply don't (and shouldn't) exist in the world of commercial lumber. I just finished a custom conference table for one of my clients made from a 5 x 8 foot single slab of oak. This tree must have been 400 years old and was one of the most beautiful live edge slabs I had ever seen.
What's one thing you wish YOU had made or designed? Such a hard question! I would say the answer to this question changes every time I see a piece of furniture that I am completely blown away by.
What's your advice for a designer/maker just starting out? Be strong enough to follow your own heart, but smart enough to listen to what people think of it.