Eric Kraft, Salesman
In our charter advertisements, we urge customers to “try before you buy.” In the case of Mirage Manufacturing’s salesman Eric Kraft, it worked a little differently—more like “try before you buy in.” In 2005, Eric and his family chartered Mirage’s factory boat Semper Fi for a week. It happened that Eric was selling his
Gainesville Mercedes dealership and was casting about for a new and more satisfying career, something to balance his other vocation, crafting marine motif metal sculptures.
The next thing we knew, Eric was on board selling boats and helping to develop Mirage’s innovative CruisePro trawler training program. He was also looking for a break in Mirage’s busy production schedule to begin building his own Great Harbour N37. Why not? He had already built a fully-functioning radio control model of the boat and called it Yellowfin.
Eric spent his youth on boats in the Potomac and Chesapeake throughout the 1960s and 70s. When his family moved south, Eric expanded his boating experience on the waters of South Florida and the Bahamas. During the 1980s, he spent as much time as family and the car business would allow participating in sportfishing tournaments and scuba diving. These were the twin passions that would later inform his art.
Eric began making copper sculptures in 1974 while still in high school and had spent a portion of one summer training under renowned master copper sculptor Kevin Jenkins. His early works were abstracts and wall hangings that he sold for spending money during his high school and college years. For the next 17 years, the artwork went onto the back burner as Eric raised a family and pursued a career in the automobile business. In the late 1990s, he converted part of his barn into a studio and returned to sculpture, this time concentrating on wildlife and images of the sea.
His work is recognized nationally, and can be found at major art festivals and shows throughout Florida. He is a member of the Worldwide Nature Artists Group and you can visit his website at www.EricKraftCopperworks.com.
Eric has been married to Cinda for 25 years. They have two children. Lauren, 21, is a senior at Florida State University and Lee, 17, is a high school junior.