Sometimes welding can just be fun. Welders basically get to wield bolts of lightning to fuse metal. That basic fact is pretty awe inspiring, and for passionate people like 23-year-old Chicagoan Richard Lauth, it’s also pretty inspirational. The young welder has recently made a name for himself selling art and decorations online. However, Lauth’s medium of choice isn’t a paint brush and canvas; it’s a TIG welder and metal. After looking through some of the pieces on Lauth’s website, you might be inclined to think his tool of choice is a lightsaber.
Lauth’s unique fusion of welding, art, and pop culture has set the internet abuzz. Some of his most memorable work includes Star Wars characters, The Minions, the Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland, Iron Man, and even the Chicago Blackhawks logo. If a detailed metallic portrait of the Jedi Master Yoda is not really your thing, not to worry. Not all of Lauth’s works are based on popular culture. He also makes sculptures of everyday objects like bicycles and dragonflies.
The artist sells his work through the online storefront website Etsy, where you can check out and purchase his pop culture creations. This isn’t the first time we’ve highlighted the artistic side of welding. Earlier this year we featured the Junk-to-Art Movement and another welding artist from Dallas named Cynthia Daniel. And next month we’ll be spotlighting two more artists who have found unique forms of expression through welding.
Why the emphasis on creativity? Regular readers may recall our report on the concerns parents have about their children choosing a career in welding and manufacturing. Chief among those concerns is that welding and other manufacturing work might not be as stimulating, engaging, or fulfilling as other career options. However, artistic welders like Lauth and Daniel show that passion and profits are not mutually exclusive propositions.
As new technologies make complex manufacturing processes easier to grasp, creative manufacturing is only bound to increase. Already the design freedom of additive manufacturing has blossomed as curious consumers have experimented with 3D printing to generate models of their favorite pop iconography. Even Disney has jumped on board, combining laser scanning and 3D printing to offer fans the chance to enlist as an Imperial Stormtrooper or encase themselves in frozen carbonite like Harrison Ford in The Empire Strikes Back.
These uses of 3D printing may seem frivolous compared to the technical advancement it has brought to the industry; and melting Darth Vader’s menacing mug on a metal sheet may not seem like everyone’s artistic cup of tea. Yet pieces like these, be they pop-art or more traditional sculpting, speak volumes against the stereotypes that plague our industry. So let’s tip our hats to welding in art, creativity, and all the forms of expression that manufacturing evokes.
AWS Learning: If you’re looking for more ways to get involved in the industry or expand you’re welding career, check out our other blogs, podcasts, virtual conferences, online courses, and digital tools designed to help you grow and succeed.