- Associated Press - Sunday, April 12, 2015

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) - Welding may run in Jaramie Ross’ blood, but turning pieces of scrap metal into works of art is all his own.

“My grandpa was a foreman over the welding department at a company in Trumann,” Ross said. “He taught me to weld at 16, and I’ve been welding ever since.”

At 16, Ross started working nights, weekends and summers at Roach Conveyers in Trumann.

The 33-year-old Ross was born in Jonesboro and grew up in Trumann. A graduate of Trumann High School, Ross went to ASU-Tech for auto mechanics and auto body. He completed his program but never practiced the trade.

“I had a friend that started a fabrication business and stayed with him almost five years until he closed his business. That’s kind of when I started this stuff.”

That was 2010.

“I built my first sculpture in 2010,” he said. “It was a duck that I gave as a gift. From there, I started getting more and more requests by word of mouth.”

A love of art coupled with the ability to weld sent this 20-something on the fast track to artistic success.

“I’ve always like art, you never really see anything out of metal,” Ross said. “It’s neat to take nothing and make something. It’s so much different than woodwork. I take sheet metal and start cutting and shaping and building.”

Ross was happy to show the scraps of metal he turns into pieces of art.

His work has evolved over the years and grown more complex, the Jonesboro Sun (https://bit.ly/1xCOMFS ) reports.

“I had a booth at the Big Buck Show in 2012,” Ross said. “I made a life-size eagle for it. It has an almost 6-foot wingspan.”

The daunting eagle hangs from the rafters of this artisan’s workshop.

Ross pointed to a work on progress - a long straight piece of metal.

“Right now, I am working on this for the United Way. It’ll take me the month to finish, but it’ll turn into a piece of abstract art. I’m loving it because there isn’t a lot of people that ask for that.”

Since starting, Ross said his favorite sculpture was a fairy he made to be auctioned off at the Junior Auxiliary Charity Ball.

“It was the biggest, most time-consuming piece I’ve ever worked on,” Ross said.

In 2013, Ross began building custom furniture for Swank-Uncommon Home Decor in Jonesboro.

He credits a lot of his success to local Dr. Charles David Cesare, who invited him to participate in the 2013 NEA Baptist Foundation Art Slam.

“Dr. Cesare invited me after seeing my art at Swank,” Ross said. “He bought my piece ‘River Monster’ that night, and has been a loyal supporter and customer since. He by far has the most pieces of my work.”

Ross hopes to move away from furniture pieces and into total custom artwork within the next three to five years.

“I’m proud of what I do,” Ross said. “But I love being able to envision something and seeing it become a reality. Or someone showing me something and me being able to take their thoughts and make it into a custom piece of work. I love that they’re satisfied with the art they receive.”

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