ADDRESS Interview with Shaun Bird of Birdman The Welder.
Define your craft in 3 sentences or less. We build a variety of things and work in several mediums, but our passion is furniture and our dedication is metal. We strive for clean, sharp, straight lines and create simple, modern, yet bold and unique pieces.
Describe your creative process. Most of our projects are custom, one-of-a-kind pieces. Our creative process usually starts with collaboration, as we work very closely with our clients during the design phase to reach their project goals.
When it comes to the build, although we’ve been known to mix mediums from time to time, the passion our team has for metalworking is strong. Metal is something that appears to be difficult to work or manipulate and although the process usually starts with intense, sometimes savage processes like cutting, heating, hammering, it also leads to more mild processes like sanding, blending and polishing processes. It’s sounds weird to say it, but working in such a cold, rigid medium can somehow feel warm and soft.
We usually build an entire project in house, but also love creating and working with other local makers and finishers. We pride ourselves on the ability to be a one-stop shop, but don’t shy away from reaching out to others in the community who specialize in their own crafts.
Collectively, the Birdman team has a lot of experience under our belts, but we continue to learn, try new processes and collaborate. Sometimes we don’t always agree on the creative or the process, but because we all excel in different areas it actually makes for a great balance, and some of our best projects are the ones where the designs essentially build themselves through the process.
Where do you find inspiration when experiencing a creative block? Much of our inspiration comes from world travels, historic architecture and ancient designs/processes.
Whether it’s the street art in London or the brutal wrought ironwork in Italy, the sharp and massive steel structures in New York and Paris or the hand carvings in Hawaii, travel inspires us, drives us and revitalizes us. We take tons of photos and when a creative block hits, a fresh look over those shots usually does the trick.
What advice would you give to young designers / makers / artists / creatives aspiring to make it in their field? To start, you have to be willing to hustle and grind. Plain and simple.
If you’re doing that and you see growth, dedicate yourself to that growth. Make goals, ask questions, collaborate, do what you have to do to push forward.
Our final piece of advice is with respect to frame of mind – stay positive and grateful throughout. Take the time to appreciate where you’re at and how you got there and more good things will come.
What’s your dream project? We see a lot of our projects as an ideal backdrop for all kinds of art, but have huge love and appreciation for street art in particular. It seems to be a growing scene in Vancouver, we are surrounded by so much talent in this beautiful city and would love to collaborate with a street artist one day. The dream is to bring the absolute rawness of steel together with the rawness of our city streets.
What design trends are you excited about? As metalworkers, we are obviously really excited to see metal being used in interior architecture more now than ever before. And not just because it’s our business, more so because people are actually coming to love metal as much as we do!