Beloved by his patients at Laureate Medical Group for his energy and engagement, Scott Shulman spends what free time he has in his lower level workshop amid shelves of his mini Home Depot. Shulman, who claims that he cannot draw in a traditional way, is imagining and executing repurposed and often odd materials, like garage door fittings, into giant-sized sculptures, sophisticated furniture, rockets, sparkling fish, and anything else that can be lacquered, nailed, layered, twisted or even envisioned into art.
“He gets a lot of really nice feedback on his work, which fuels his creativity,” said Shulman’s wife, Rhonda Taubin, a brain injury doctor at the Shepherd Center. “In terms of the things he has made for our home, we basically have the same taste. I thought the 600-pound media center was pretty major.”
Alongside fluffy and friendly Bernedoodle Juno, Shulman said, “I watch HDTV to learn what design ideas NOT to do. When any projects go awry, they get discarded into an awaiting Bagster in my driveway.”
Step into Shulman’s world of hearts, old sewing machine parts, garage door gaskets, corks, deck screws and soda cans, not necessarily in that order.
Jaffe: Elaborate on what is actually going on behind the scenes in your modern Dunwoody home.
Shulman: I am interested in putting different material and textures together to use or give away. I don’t sell my pieces as I do not want my hobby to become a “job.” I first have the idea, then go about designing it. Each project runs about 30 to 60 hours of my spare time. For a guy, it’s fantastical that I lean towards hearts, love and floral patterns.
Jaffe: What happens in your lower level workshop?
Shulman: I am coordinating at least three projects at once. Here you see my two adjoining rooms with thousands of nails, play sand, hot glue, acrylic paints, and drill bits all categorized. Then there’s MDF [medium density fiberboard] used for smooth surfaces, and play sand to create surface texture. I am also accumulating empty LaCroix cans for one project, and corks, which I am individually dying red by hand, for another.
Jaffe: What are your forays into crafting furniture?
Shulman: For the 19-foot-tall great room wall, I constructed a 10-foot media stand out of seven poles, each made from three 2-by-6-foot boards. It’s extremely heavy, and I had to have four others help me install it.
I envisioned this odd shaped triangle for a powder room sink console made from MDF, textured faux painted drywall mud, and cherry wood. The red line was a last-minute design touch and fix for a slight miscalculation.
When my sons were younger, I designed themed rooms for them. One was outer space with a rocket ship out of electrical tape and cardboard piling forms. The other was very industrial-looking, created around workshop tools with a level and open end wrench hat rack; a miter saw clock; a toothbrush holder made from progressively larger putty knives and yellow and black construction tape; and a blue roofing tarp over a 2-inch dowel with ball peen and claw hammer ends for a window treatment.
The coat rack at the front door was built for its utility out of concrete, wood and metal.
For the kids’ bar mitzvah favors, I made 13 acrylic layered Lazy Susans for the adult guests.
Jaffe: Describe your self-portrait collage and the circumstances behind it.
Shulman: Initially I made it as a donation for an auction for the MJCC Habima [Theatre] program.
When my mother-in-law pointed out that it was subliminally about my own life, I pleaded to buy it back from the winning bidder. You can see my stethoscope and banana mouth, chewing gum teeth, paint brush eyebrows, cell phone (on which I am always talking), cars, watch, trips to Arizona, Judaica, and, of course, my receding hair style. Somehow none of this was intentional.
Jaffe: What is the message within your fitness room?
Shulman: The workout equipment is in the center. I created the orange stripe along the walls in a zigzag pattern to mimic the path of life’s ups and downs. The thinner black line shows the path we actually take. There are bumps in the road, but we hopefully get to the “ultimate good.”
Jaffe: How are you filling the walls of your medical offices?
Shulman: The Laureate Medical Group has been nice enough to let me fill many of the office’s blank walls. There are currently 38 pieces in four offices. I am working on four major pieces now for our Cherokee office and one for our Forsyth office. The 2,700 varied red-hued corks will fill an 8-foot heart encased with garage door insulation gaskets. Note that there will be two errant, lone, lime-colored corks just to add interest.
Jaffe: What are the most unusual, “out of the box” works you’ve created?
Shulman: The 6-foot-1-inch pill-laden man covered with expired medicines and various pharmaceutical paraphernalia.
In the lower level is a map of the U.S. that I composed with 25 pounds of used commercial sewing machine parts a patient gave me. It’s very heavy and one of my few horizontally-oriented projects.
Jaffe: This 6-foot pill conversation piece is….
Shulman: I call him “Pharma Man,” a mannequin where I have placed 3,000 real expired pills in the corresponding place in the human body and alongside the organs where they are used. Note the antidepressants Lunesta and purposefully misplaced male brain.
This cannot be displayed in a public place because of my liability and people trying to steal the Viagra.
Note in the recently published “2019 Readers’ Choice Awards” Best of Jewish Atlanta, health and wellness/family physician/internist category, Laureate Medical Group took first place, and Shulman separately scored third place. Double honors!