Rediscovering a love for fabricating metal art sculptures with a Dodge SRT Viper ACR.

Following a medical procedure to help alleviate years of arm pain, Detroit metal fabricator and welder Josh Welton has reignited his passion for creating metal art sculptures. Photos by Josh Welton

The analogy isn’t unfamiliar for me to make, so forgive me if you’ve heard this before. Many people say life can be like a roller coaster, with slow rides to the top and very quick drops back to earth.

For me, life is more like a series of roller coasters that get more gnarly and scarier and faster every day, and they go up and down independently from each other. The peaks and valleys are happening at the same time. My mind will be on some incredible opportunity while in the background it’s worrying about my family’s health issues, or financial stresses, or work relationships. I’m simultaneously standing on the mountain top and praying in the lowlands. It starts to mess with your psyche. Certainly, many of you know exactly what I’m talking about.

While my writing has evolved and grown in a positive way, my day job has become increasingly frustrating. And my life as an artist has been a struggle. Part of it was unavoidable due to health or logistics caused by events outside of my control, but that struggle certainly slid into a self-imposed sanction. Whatever spark of inspiration that kept me creating new sculptures at an intense clip for eight-plus years was gone, and it had been for a couple of years.

This summer I’ve been on medical leave for two months; first to get the neuromodulator implanted into my spinal cord, then to let it settle in while scar tissue grew to secure it, and lastly to make programming adjustments. The procedure ultimately began to help with the pain.

Now I’m cleared for work, and with merely weeks to prepare for this year’s SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show in Las Vegas, I forced myself out to my shop to sculpt.

My first project was going to be a piece I’ve been wanting to do ever since I drove one to Las Vegas and back for SEMA in 2015: a Dodge SRT Viper ACR. Despite the small scale, it was a daunting project. But I figured once I dove in, I’d have no choice but to finish it.

Turns out that not only was I right, but it ignited my passion for the art that had been dormant for the last few years.

We often talk about work ethic, but it’s difficult to go all-in when the passion is gone. As the piece took shape, I couldn’t ignore the excitement I felt; I was creating, and evolving again.

Back are the long days burning candles at both ends, and it feels good. My arms are still in some pain, but the implant is definitely helping to the point where I can put in the hours it takes to work multiple full-time jobs.

The Viper piece is another milestone sculpture.

Rediscovering a love for fabricating metal art sculptures with a Dodge SRT Viper ACR.

Josh Welton crossed an item off his bucket list by creating a sculpture of a Dodge SRT Viper ACR.

It sold before I finished it, but I’ll still have it on display at SEMA. I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out, which you can see in the photo gallery. It marks the crest up and over an incline of my life’s “artist” roller coaster.

Hopefully this one stays up there for a while.

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