About Me

Hi there! My name is Clinton Carlson, as you see by my web blog I am a Recycled Metal Artist. That means I Only use recycled metal for my sculptures. Every piece, every chunk, every screw, nail, bend of wire was either thrown away in the trash, donated to me, or found by me. I love to recycle; I was recycling before it was cool, way, way, way before.

  • How did you discover metal and what made you start sculpting it?

I started welding in 9th grade and I just loved it! I went to Running Start in High School where I went to Green River Community College welding program.

  • When did you begin to see things in scraps?

Ever sense I was a little kid I collected random junk and just pieced it together.

  • Why scrap metal and not new? 

Every part has a story, I love telling those stories. Not only that but you can find some really unique shapes in old broken things. Shapes that you couldn't create with a new piece of metal. I like giving the old parts a new life as something special.

  • How do you start a piece? What is the process for making a sculpture?

If I am making a sculpture for a customer I want to know what it is for, who is it for, I need all the information. If I am just making a sculpture for myself, I will make a really ruff sketch and just kinda wing it.

  • How has your sculpting changed over time?

Each time I work on a project I learn a new skill. I find a way of making something better or easier for the next project.

  • What kind of research is needed to create a piece?

I need to know what the client wants and I work with the design with them. I want my clients to be a part of the process. I am not a mind reader, so the more a client is willing to participate in designing their sculpture the more I can understand what it is they want and the happier I can make them with the finished product. I don't however give sneak peeks, only in special circumstances.

  • Where do you work and what kind of tools are needed to sculpt metal?

I work at my parents home in a converted dog pen. I know it's a little funny sounding but it doesn't matter to me where I work as long as I can do what I love to do. You can see the cramped space in some of the Seattle Space Needle pictures. It is bigger than the 10 X 10 pop up tent I was working under for a few months. There are a lot of tools needed to work with metal. A welder and a grinder are the most important. Other than those, a torch (which I currently do not own, I am borrowing one from my client's father. That's the one you see in the pictures.), a chop saw (also don't have), an air compressor for air grinders (also borrowing), and a good large dry work space (also do not currently have a lot of).
If you notice I don't have a lot of the tools needed, but I still find ways to make my sculptures. Nothing will stand in my way from doing want I love.

  • Can you use any scrap metal or do some things work better than others?

I usually use steel, I don't have the equipment to weld other metals yet.

  • How many pieces do you think you have created? Where are they now?

I think I've made around 25 pieces so far? I don't know, I make so many things I forget what I've made. My family has a few of the sculptures I've made, but most are donated to non profit organizations, or given away. I do sell some every once and a while. I want to do this for a living so I got to say I would Love to sell more. =)

  • Is it challenging to create a piece by request? Why?

It can be but I always try to plan out each piece for at lease a solid hour. "An hour of planning will save you four hours of backtracking."

  • Since you sketch your ideas out first, do you create in any other mediums besides metal?

I can. I also make things in clay and wood. I love making pottery. I want to learn about making things in glass. I have a goal of making sculptures with each element in them, but thats not until I have the tools and skills necessary.

  •  How long does a piece generally take to create?

It can take up too 100 hours or as little as 8 hours; it all depends on the sculpture and the client.

  • Who are the artists you admire most? Why?

Greg Bartol. He was in the Army, then he was a SWAT team leader at the air port. Now he is the busiest metal artist I know. He is EVERYWHERE! He knows everyone! Not to mention he is one of the best metal artist out there! The work he does blows my mind, and thats saying something. He is the nicest, most encouraging guy you will ever meet. He was the one who really got me started on making metal art. He is always at Green River Community College weld shop, if you are ever there stop by and met him, he will change your mind about what you thought you could do with metal.

  • How did you get involved with the Maple Valley Arts Commission?

I know Greg Bartol who is a member and a metal artist.

  • What has been the most difficult part of creating your sculptures?

Time and money. I work 40hours a week and that only leaves the weekends to working on everything else including my art. I also do a lot of donations.

  • Do you have a long term goal for your work?  What is it?

I want to do it for a living. I want to sell my work to people in other states. I want to make metal art 40 hours a week!

  • What do you dream for yourself and your art? 

Having my own shop and gallery. Having my art in parks and on building fronts.

  • What advise would you give young artists starting out?

NEVER STOP! Make art because it makes You happy. It does not matter what other people think.

Questions curtsy of Michelle B.

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