Welding isn’t just for building things – it can be used to make beautiful art. These metal sculptures will change the way you look at welding. When we see pictures of welders, they’re usually working on a construction site or industrial facility. If you’re not interested in this type of down-and-dirty work, you may think that welding isn’t right for you. But you may be surprised.

 Welding isn’t just used to build bridges, skyscrapers, cars and ships – it can also be used to create beautiful works of art. Many welders create metal sculptures in their free time. Some have even turned their passion for art into professional careers.

 Here are some of the top metalworking artists in the world, and examples of their amazing work.

 Josh Welton

Josh Welton is an award-winning welder and the owner of Brown Dog Welding, which is a fabrication and art studio in Detroit, Michigan. His artwork often features some of his other passion such as cars, motorcycles and dogs. When he’s not making metal sculptures, Josh is a writer, podcaster and advocate for careers in the skilled trades.


Barbie the Welder

Barbara Parsons, better known as Barbie the Welder, started her career by taking a local welding training class. While living through many personal hardships, she improved her skills and began to make metal sculptures. She is now a professional metal sculptor with a large social media following. She sells her artwork on her website and Etsy, teaches welding art, wrote a book about her journey, and is a motivational speaker.


John Lopez

Born in South Dakota, John Lopez’s art is influenced by the animals and history of the area – from dinosaurs to cowboys. He often recycles pieces of scrap metal, old tools and other items to create his masterpieces.


David Madero

Based in Torreón, México, David Madero is a metal sculptor and the founder of Madero / Co. His work is featured as public sculptures and he’s been hired to make pieces for private clients.

Welding Competitions

If you want to show off and test your welding skills, there are also opportunities to enter welding competitions. 

SkillsUSA Championships

SkillsUSA is an organization that promotes many technical, skilled and healthcare careers. They put on national competitions for many skills, including welding, welding fabrication and welding sculpture. The SkillsUSA Championships start with local competitions, with winners advancing to state and then national levels. In 2018, more than 6,500 people participated in all the skills competitions.

Welding Rodeos

No, these rodeos don’t involve bull riding and calf roping. Instead, welding rodeos are events where individuals or teams compete to create the best art sculpture in a short amount of time. Often, there is a theme for the competition and participants are given a pile of scrap metal to make their creation. Welding rodeos can be found all over the country, often organized by a technical school.

How to get started

Learning how to weld can lead to a high-paying job in many industries. But it can also be a fun way to show off your creative side – and possibly even develop a full-time gig as a metal artist. 

This article originally appeared on WeldingDigest.com

View more article and videos