I am almost embarrased to write that I hadn´t heard of “Barbie the Welder” until I saw a post in a facebook group named “Metal art World” that I recently joined. I just thought that the things she created was really heavy so I sent her a message. It wasn´t until after the reply I saw that this was a celebrity kinda´ in the Metal sculpting art world. A genre of art I´d say that I myself “belong” to. So I went from happy to very excited and a bit nervous too I guess. I am honoured to present to you, Barbie The Welder:
Me: Hello Barbie, please introduce yourself. Who are you? Where are you from and what do you do?
Barbie: I’m a full time metal sculptor, published author, and advocate for the skilled trades from Erin, NY
[I didn´t ask for her real name and I could not find it on any of her pages or medias…according to wikipedia it is Barbara Parsons…]
Me: When did you start to work with metal and to weld?
Barbie: I stated welding back in 2007 after seeing the woman welding giant Angel wings in the movie Cast Away starring Tom Hanks.
Me: When and how (and the why´s too perhaps) did you figure out that you wanted to turn your metalcrafting skills into art?
Barbie: I knew I wanted to be a metal sculptor as soon as I saw that woman welding. I learned to weld so I could become a full time artist.
Me: You have quite big followings on social medias (25 K on facebook, 70K on insta and over 20 K subs on youtube). I haven´t yet had the time to look at more than some of it. But I am very impressed, and not only by the well deserved number of followers but by the amazing content. How much of your time do you put on these platforms and which of them you like the most?
Barbie: I spend 3/4 of my time working in my business (making sculpture) and 1/4 of my time working on my business (social media, branding, marketing, content creation, advertising, emails, ect) I love each platform I’m on for different reasons. Facebook let’s me connect with family and friends and large groups of people who love welding and metal art like I do. Instagram loves the arc and sparks and badassery. LinkedIn allows me to be inspirational, youtube let’s me teach and TikTok enjoys my shenanigans and Badassery!
Me: What is the most important factor when it comes to becoming a successful artist you´d say? (by successful I mean that you can at least live off the income from your artworks).
Barbie: Passive income is the key to an artists success, and to get passive income you need to understand not only how to create sellable art you also need to know how to brand, market, and sell.
Me: When one look at your gallery, me at least, I almost drop my chin when I see the pricetags. Not that I don´t think they are correctly priced (…don´t get me wrong here, take in to count I´m from Sweden AND this is textformat so it´s kind of hard to get the “feeling” right with the questions maybe.). How do you “work yourself up” to those pricetags, how and when can you price your art with what feels right for you, what they are worth in your own mind?
Barbie: Those sculptures are one of a kind so in all actuality they’re priceless, nothing else like them will ever exist. I started by selling mass produced sculptures that were anywhere from $15 to $45 and pushed myself hard to improve my skills and eventually started only creating one of a kind sculptures. As my skills improved I attracted bigger clients and bigger price tags. My passive income streams that I created along the way allows me to create only what I want, say no to any jobs I don’t want, and put whatever price I want on available sculptures. It’s about honoring your skills and time spent accumulating those skills. In the beginning I gave many sculptures away because I didn’t know my value, today I do!
Me: Related to the last question, what are your highest priced work of art that you´ve got sold? Tell us about it.
Barbie: A $25,000 statue for a park honoring first responders.
Me: I probably will look back at this interview and regret what I did not ask and perhaps be embarrassed of what I did ask…but, anyway…I ask many of my interviewees to ask themselves one question and to answer it too. So, I give you this “task” too, go ahead, ask yourself anything!
Barbie: Favorite book?
Barbie: The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday (its brilliant advice on overcoming challenges)
Me: Now, you get to ask me a question. No more than fair game after what I´ve made you go through.
Barbie: Who has been your favorite interviewee and why? If you could meet any artist who would it be?
Me: Maybe this may come out wrong or look like Im sucking up or that I am “starstruck”, but I don´t care. I must be honest and give that to you. For more than one reason. Off course one of them is that it´s really, really fun and also very exciting to get to publish a big name here. But also because I feel that I got some important information out of it. I feel that the tips you shared will absolutely help me a great deal and for sure anyone else who´ll take them to heart so to speak. The other part of the question…as for who I´d like to meet…I don´t know if you meant that I get to choose from amongst my interviewees only or just any artist, but regardless I think I´d choose Wes Leonard. It would be so cool to spend a day together with him in his workshop and to cast some metal with him! With this said, I would like to add that I have interviewed many really great artists and that I have enjoyed texting with all of them. Some stick out though. I believe that it would be really fun also to hang out with Bernadette Maurice Dennis, she seems to have a great deal of humor…
Me: Last but not least, where can we find your work?
and @barbiethewelder on all your favorite social channels.
Barbie The Welder
Metal Sculpture Design & Creation
Connect with me on Your favorite social channels @BarbieTheWelder
View my gallery or request a commission!
The most irreverent self-help book in the world! 👉🏻 https://amzn.to/3qBpkxc
Tired of being a starving artist?
Me: Thank you Barbie for your time. It was great fun and an honour for me to present you to my readers. I wish you all the best in the times ahed. Ride on and Heavy Metal!
Well. Thats that folks. Now you know what to do. Order the book and start reading. I will definately do that. I´ll get both Barbies own book, but also the one she recommended, The Obstacle Is The Way, it inspired her and that´s gotta be a waterstamp for high quality reading I believe.
Below you see some examples of Barbies stunningly cool and beautiful metal art. Don´t you just want to learn how to weld?