Radcliffe Man Goes from Welder to Full-Time Artist

RADCLIFFE, Iowa  —  For many years, Larry Pearson worked as a welder at an industrial plant. He began his welding career in 1979, and shortly after realized he could weld just about anything–even ideas he came up with. He began doing little projects with metal art on his own time.

Ten years ago, he went full-time as a metal artist. He’s welded giant statues for customers in Arizona, as well as Ankeny and other places around Iowa.

Currently, a life-sized horse is coming to life in the middle of his shop.

“This is a Pegasus that I’m working on. It started out as a horse, but sometimes things change,” said Pearson. “This is my model, it’s a quarter horse. This is the only time I use a computer, I enlarge this on the computer and graph it in 12 inch by 12 inch graphs.”

Pearson has been asked to judge a Skills USA contest for metal art on April 27th at DMACC in Ankeny. He will display the Pegasus there on the campus during the competition and also has other plans for the Pegasus work.

“It’s gonna be used more as a sales tool to generate more business,” said Pearson. “I want to get into more atriums, Las Vegas, New York, I want to get into the big cities.”

Pearson is not trying to relocate there, though. He moved to Radcliffe a number of years ago from his hometown of Ankeny and says his neighbors in the town treat him well. If he needs a forklift, the guys at the local elevator will come over to help him. Likewise, if they need something welded or cut, he’s there to help. Pearson said people in town helped him land his current shop location right by the main entrance to town and Highway 175 in Hardin County.

He also knows his works take more time than most people know.

“On average it’s about an hour per piece, and you can see how many pieces I’m going to have,” said Pearson. “The way I always look at it is every weld is practice for the next weld. Even your guy welding brackets all day, that’s an art, not everybody can do it.”

Pearson welcomes school groups and visitors to his shop. As long as his truck is outside, he’ll be there. He also likes to encourage young welders who want to do art.

“I recommend a full-time job, do this at night, do the art shows, get your name out there. It’s all word of mouth and your skill,” he said.

If you like more information on Pearson’s Artwork, click here.