Something spoke to my soul and I knew I wanted to be a metal sculptor the moment I saw the woman welding giant angel wings in the movie Cast Away with Tom Hanks. I saved my money and in the fall of 2007 I went to school to learn how to weld. In 2008 I was hired at a custom fabrication shop where I worked for four years before I was able to save up enough money for a down payment to purchase a home, for the garage. Nine months later I had saved enough to purchase welders and tools for my home studio and I quickly went to work designing and creating anything I could think of. I left the fabricating job that I loved to work for myself as a full time metal sculptor on September 1, 2014.
My “master plan” for becoming a full time artist had been to acquire 12 months of income so I could pay all my bills for a full year even if I didn’t sell anything, which I thought would be highly unlikely. Between my savings, my 401k that I cashed in, and a personal loan I took for $6000 the day before I quit, I had the 12 months income I felt was necessary to create my art empire.
For the first 9 months I sat alone in my studio, (1 car garage,) creating art and questioning the sanity of leaving a high paying, secure job that I had truly enjoyed. I was creating art that I loved but after 9 months of welding art 8-10 hours a day 7 days a week I had only earned $425. I had sold my motorcycle, two boats, and all of my waterfowl hunting gear and still only had $35 left in my bank account. I was well on my way to losing my house and my sanity.
Having an undying belief in myself and my dream was the only way I was able to come back from that low. I knew in my heart that creating metal sculpture was what I was supposed to do with my life, I just had to figure out how to make it work for me. I began researching the business side of art. I started learning everything I could about how to sell and market my art online, in galleries, local stores, and at shows. I joined a local entrepreneur group and started learning about business from local business owners and entrepreneurs who started with nothing and built their dream into multi million dollar businesses, and then I connected with other artists who are on the same mission as I am.
Today I am living my dream life! I have created metal sculpture for people in 6 countries, my art is featured in 3 NY galleries, and I am paid to travel to shows and weld my sculpture live. I have started a second company, Dirtrocker Nation, a blue collar clothing company focused on providing high quality shirts for welders and I spend most of my days creating custom sculptures for my clients.
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