Welding is often thought of as an industrious trade, one that helps to brings together the components of other goods, rather than being an end-product itself. While this is an accurate view of much of the work that welders do, it risks overlooking an interesting aspect of metal fabrication: the creation of metal art.
Every welder has a story of how they joined the trade, and metal artists are no exception. Diesel, a self-taught welder based in Canada, works a day job in machine shop, but was inspired to start welding by a metal artist: “The reason why I took up TIG art welding was a guy named Mattia Bross. I had seen one of his art pieces and was so amazed. I started talking to him. He gave me some tips and inspiration. So I bought a TIG welder and got started on my journey.”
Diesel’s story shows just one of the many routes that aspiring welders and metal artist can take. Diesel tells YesWelder: “I have never been to school for welding. I literally turned on a welder and started welder. I obviously was really bad at it, but with a lot of repetition I started to pick up a little.” Not only did Diesel pick up welding, he now does it full-time, and hopes to turn his side-gig of metal art into a full-time career.
An important matter for any potential artist to consider is the space they want their work to occupy — both in the literal and figurative senses. If you’re looking to get started in the world of metal art, two questions you may want to ask yourself are “What kind of art will I make?” and “What kind of business will I run?”.
To help answer the former: welders can create endless types of art. Diesel’s Instagram feed shows his work is primarily in a two-dimensional format — his niche is TIG welding detailed images, including animals and logos, onto a flat surface. But there are other options open to welders, who also create sculptures and contribute to multi-media artwork.
On the light is Diesel's friend, on the right is Diesel.
The great thing about the business of metal art is that it is open to both full-time welders and artists. If you’re a welder looking to take up more creative work, take your time in testing out different applications of your skill. If you’re an artist looking to work with metal, start small by learning to tack together pieces of metal before laying beads.
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One such way to start small and work towards specialising in metal art is to work part-time. Diesel, for example, does his metal art on the side: “I do have a full-time job at a machine shop where I am the main welder, a general machinist, and also do all the mechanical work there,” Diesel tells us, “I have opened up my own company called Tig Devil based in Canada. This is something I do on the side, with the hopes for it to be my full-time gig.”
Diesel’s full time work has also complemented his part-time art in the sense that the two have allowed him to adopt different skills: “I use MIG and stick welding at my workplace, and very little TIG welding when called for. I love all processes of welding. But my favorite is TIG.”
And so, Diesel’s business — Tig Devil — was born. Since then, he has gained over twenty-seven thousand followers on Instagram, and his business has fulfilled orders ranging from birthday gifts to business signage.
His client's custom birthday present for her husband
Welders like Diesel are great representatives of a fascinating part of the trade which many might not immediately consider when thinking of welding as a line of work. Metal is not only a broad and versatile medium for artists to consider using, but it is also one that welders transform from raw material to artwork everyday.
Customer business customization
Thank you to Diesel for his input. Be sure to check out his work on Instagram.