When Frank Miranda moved to Florida at the age of 18, he had no clue that ocean driftwood would set the path for his future. As a young boy, Frank played amongst the sawdust-covered floors of his father’s woodworking shop. He observed his father transform raw wood into useful and beautiful items. Young Frank, inspired by his father’s magic, began to construct animals out of the piles of scrap wood. When visitors to the shop began to offer him money for his creations, he was thrilled.
Realizing he could make a living creating art, Frank, who is completely self-taught, launched into his own business. Gathering driftwood from the beaches around the Gulf Coast of Florida, he carved the animals he saw trapped in the wood. He whittled birds, lizards, fish, snakes… no piece was ever the same. Setting up a studio in the Clearwater-Largo area of Florida, Frank devoted himself to his craft. For the next 40 years, he traveled to art shows throughout and beyond Florida. Though he was given commissioned work, Frank’s original pieces, especially his birds, were a hit.
In his off-time during his travels, Frank attended estate sales which led to several unique collections including historical padlocks from around the world, disturbing items representing man’s cruelty to man, medical ephemera, and taxidermy. His friends and clients dropped into his studio, which had transformed into an unofficial oddities museum, to see what new items were on display.
After decades of traveling to art shows, Frank came across the Oddities television show, which featured the now-shuttered Obscura Antiques & Oddities shop in New York City. Frank had an epiphany. His time on the road was coming to an end.
In 2012, Frank, who sees beauty in the abandoned, bought a Victorian-style house in a seedy section of Largo, restored it, and opened Oddities and Antiques. His art studio, or as some people call it, an oddities museum, is filled with carefully curated items from across the globe. Walking into the store, you might as well be entering the home of the Adams Family. Along with out-of-this-world pieces from oddity artists, Oddities and Antiques is filled with vintage clothes and costumes, fantastical framed photos and art, astounding taxidermy, dark art paraphernalia, wacky toys, medical quackery, disturbing dolls, circus memorabilia, funeral displays, carvings that have to be seen to be believed, fraternal items, unbelievable jewelry, items from sci-fi and horror films, insect collections, articulated bones, specimen jars filled with biological wonders, cryptozoological gaffs, and the list goes on and on. Best of all, Frank takes the time you need to share the background of each item. The store also features Frank’s metal fish sculptures which are breathtaking to behold.
Frank says his favorite aspect of owning the stores is watching the reactions of unknowing walk-ins who are so shocked when they enter through the front door that they freeze for a moment before fleeing in confusion or fear. He knows, when that happens, he’s done something right. Oddities and Antiques is a direct extension of the artist Frank Miranda and his slight obsession with the dark side of humanity.
Know Before You Go
Frank’s Oddities and Antiques is generally open Thursdays - Saturdays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Make sure to check his Facebook page or call the store to verify the hours of the day prior to making the journey.