Martin Ulman dis­cov­ered his pas­sion for 3-​​D art in the 1960s while wan­dering through an aban­doned train depot near East Boston, where he found a work­shop filled with all kinds of inter­esting arti­facts. He snatched up a handle, a round plate and sev­eral others objects and brought them to a body shop, where they were welded into a fig­urine of a soldier.

At the time, Ulman was an avid painter, but this moment shifted his artistic inter­ests for­ever. “When I got to that third dimen­sion, I never turned back,” Ulman explained. “It was clear that sculp­ture was what I was going to be doing.”

Now, North­eastern Uni­ver­sity is the ben­e­fi­ciary of Ulman’s incred­ible work. This month, Gallery 360 opened a new exhibit, “Sea­ships Air­ships Space­ships,” fea­turing a daz­zling dis­play of sculp­tures he’s cre­ated with “found objects” com­piled from combing through junk­yards, flea mar­kets and the Internet.

The exhibit runs through Aug. 20.

To build a series of his­tor­ical sea­ships — including a British slave ship and a Chi­nese trea­sure ship — Ulman used a range of dis­carded wood, including lob­ster traps, fur­ni­ture, a cigar box, an ironing board and cable drums. To assemble his air­ships and futur­istic space­ships, he used clever com­bi­na­tions of items such as fire extin­guishers, metal egg beaters, nut­crackers, light fix­tures, ice skates and even a pizza cutter.

Ulman said col­lecting unwanted arti­facts and incor­po­rating them into his work has granted them a second lease on life. Over the years, he has added to many of his detailed pieces with new gems from his relent­less searches. “I love eBay,” he said. “You can find all sorts of great stuff there.”

Ulman has worked in the archi­tec­ture industry his whole life, but notes that sculp­ture is his true pas­sion. A life­long Bostonian, he was born in Mat­tapan, lives in West Rox­bury and has an art studio in Roslin­dale. His wife, Judy, works in the university’s Art + Design depart­ment in the Col­lege of Arts, Media and Design, and his son, Michael, AS’00, grad­u­ated with an art degree.

Does Ulman draw inspi­ra­tion from the trea­sures he uncovers, or does he search for com­po­nents to build what’s already con­cep­tu­al­ized in his mind? He said it varies from project to project.

Some­times you find a piece and say, ‘I know what that looks like,’ and I’ll build off of that,” he said. “Other times, you’ll have an idea for some­thing and you’ll have to go searching for pieces to bring it all together.”