Take a Chance on Yourself: How to turn your hobby into a full-time gig!

Metal artist, Darrell Olsen shares his history as a production welder, what fabrication tools are his favorite and how he turned his hobby into the career of a lifetime.

Have you ever had to convince your family that you aren’t crazy for wanting to quit a well-paying job to pursue your hobby full time?

You haven’t?! Well, neither have we but we just met an incredible metal artist who did just that!

Say hello to Darrell Olsen, a talented TIG welder from West Yorkshire, England.

Hone a Skill

Before Darrell became a full-time metal artist, he found his passion for welding at the tender age of 16. “I became an apprentice Coach Builder when I left school and did a limited amount of welding but I was very interested to learn more once I qualified as a coach builder.

From there, he began working for a company building staircases and performing general fabrication. And for many years to follow, built new and refurbished old heavy goods vehicles. “I thoroughly enjoyed the variety & different challenges the job gave me.

Take a Leap of Faith

Darrell worked on various fabrication jobs for many years before finding his love for metal art. “The metal art started off as a hobby but grew into the full time job I have today.

How did it become a full time job, you ask? Besides hustling at craft fairs and art shows, thanks to a little online community called Instagram, Darrell can sell his art worldwide.

He also has a support system backing him the entire way. Well, maybe not from the get-go…

The hardest moment was convincing my family and friends that I hadn’t gone insane, quitting a well paid job to weld cutlery together! I’m pleased to say I now have their full support!

The Way of The Welder

What’s Darrell’s preferred way of welding?

I love TIG welding but also like MIG. With the sculptures I make, I find the TIG cleaner & neater to help me achieve the high quality finish that I strive for.

When it comes to Darrell’s tools for completing his metal masterpieces, he relies on his trusty TIG welder and uses tools from Dremel, Bosch and Esab. “I find they are good quality & reliable. I’m really enjoying improving my skills with them.

So how does Darrell weld like a pro?

I watch YouTube videos & pick up tips from my welding friends on Instagram.

Speaking of Instagram…

I greatly admire House of Chop for his skills & general positivity amongst other inspiring people I have met through the welding community on Instagram.

Who else does Darrell admire?

My Dad, a retired engineer, passed on many skills to me as I was growing up & even to this day!

Speaking of passing on skills, what advice does he have for other welders?

My advice is always work safe, stay humble & practice makes perfect! Be open to new ideas & never stop learning! I think the best path for success is to gain hands on experience, qualifications & be the best you possibly can be.

If Darrell wasn’t a metal artist, what would he would be?

I feel that I’m on the path I was meant to be on & can’t even consider any other possibility – although I’ve always fancied being a rock star!

All Good Things Must Come To an End

We’d like to give a huge thanks to Darrell for taking the time out of his busy metal art making schedule to share his story with us. To learn more about him and check out his incredible work, visit @olsen_metal_art on Instagram!!

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