EL CENTRO, Calif.–From a typical viewpoint, it’s hard to see the field of welding and fabrication as an art, because the conventional idea focuses on the production of industrial parts. “Most people see it as an industry, and it is,” says Scott Baker, a welder and fabrication foreman for EW Corp. in El Centro. “Even for me it’s hard to see it as a craft sometimes.”
The industrial side of the welding and fabrication business has long overshadowed any notion of welding as an art. When a typical bystander walks into a fab shop, there isn’t much in the way of traditional art—drab pieces of metal, drills, and complicated machinery take up most of the space. Those in the fabrication world are usually not the type that are into the arts. In fact, West Coast Choppers CEO Jesse James, one of welding’s most famous faces, is known as a tough-talking bad boy. But the guys wielding those fiery torches on sheet metal
at shipyards and auto body shops are not just a bunch of gearheads–they are artists with a passion and creativity as ancient as metal working itself.