In this article I want to introduce you a little more to José from Belize, whom we mentioned in our artist stories section a while ago. José is a mechanic by trade and owns his own small car and truck repair shop. Having followed his father and taken over his business he was able to create a reasonable living for him and his family.
However, the local economy has been suffering for many years now and it became increasingly difficult for him to provide for his family.
His schooling and education background is remarkably good and above average for his country. He finished school and then went into a formal technical school for welding training. His dad had already taught him all there was to know about the mechanics of cars and trucks, but he still thought it was important to have a formal certification in welding.
It was through the technical school and his welding training tutor that he discovered more than just how to repair metal panels on cars. Something woke up an artistic streak inside him and he took advantage of all the scrap metal at the school to practice his new trade. At first it was just making small toys out of all the discarded pieces of metal that he would bring home to his little brothers.
But then he started making the most wonderful pieces of art that ranged in size from just under a foot to 12 foot tall metal sculptures. He’s back yard at home soon became filled with amazing art and some locals started showing some interest.
I happened to stumble across his work through a friend who had spent some time in Belize as an accountant. By pure chance he noticed some of the art and immediately put me in contact with José.
Since then we have become quite close friends and I hope to go and visit him this year. The biggest problem for us now is that the large pieces of art that could make him a lot of money are very difficult to get shipped here to the US.
Between shipping costs and customs problems both in Belize and the US it has proven very difficult to make work. The smaller metal work has become very popular in our store and our ecommerce site, which is a great start for him.
What still surprises me is how a career in welding and metal work was meant to start out by repairing cars and trucks, but now he creates custom artwork for people here in the US. With your help and by sharing this story you can really make a difference to José and his family.
Also, if any of our readers are experts in international shipping and customs, I would appreciate some advice. Just use the contact form above or call into our store and we might be able to work something out that will help bring some of the larger metal work over here.