In continuation of introducing the Greensburg community to local creatives and people we find interesting in our area, we chatted with Michael Riggs, a welder, business owner and artist.
The month of April brings blossoming flowers, outdoor picnics, Easter bunnies, and National Welding Month. The nationwide emphasis placed on welding this month is meant to encourage us to reflect on the contributions welders have made to our society, as well as inform others about the many opportunities offered by this profession. It’s only fitting that we interviewed someone who lives and breaths this profession.
Tell us about yourself.
I was born and raised in Greensburg, Pa, but spent 13 years in southern California where I learned to weld in my uncle’s shop in East Los Angeles. In California I met my beautiful wife Adrienne and we’ve had four wonderful children. I’ve always been an artist at heart and I create metal art using repurposed materials. Since moving back to Greensburg in 2017, I opened Riggs Custom Welding and Fabrication LLC, which is a mobile welding business. Being a small business owner and artist, I plan to create, fabricate and weld my business into success.
What made you want to get into welding as an art?
Welding has always been an art form to me. From the design, fabrication, welding process, its amazing to see the end result. Being an artist is something I always was. I used to draw a lot and have felt creative in ways and I found a way to repurpose old materials and use them to create my metal art.
What are some of your favorite pieces you’ve done?
I wouldn’t say I have one specific favorite. They all are special to me. They all mean something different. The reactions I get whether they are commissioned pieces or gallery pieces is what I do it for.
What are you hoping for in the future with your pieces?
I hope people enjoy them. I hope to have bigger better pieces featured in or around the city or other cities. I hope my business can grow so I can continue to have the resources to make these pieces as well.
Do you have any upcoming exhibitions?
Other than the 2nd Annual ArtsWalk this Saturday, no. I hope to finish a few pieces to be able to feature in a couple local establishments.
You’re featured in this year’s ArtsWalk, why do you like to be a part of events like these?
Being a part of the arts walk is a great way for me to share my work, advertise what I can do, and support other artists and local businesses.
What do you like about Greensburg?
Its a diverse town full of history, art, music, sports, and entertainment. I feel like our town has a lot and a lot more to offer.
What would you like to see different of change in Greensburg?
There isn’t much I would change. However it would be great to see more business open and fill the vacant buildings downtown. Possibly a facelift while maintaining history at the same time.
Riggs has done work for a wide range of people in many areas, including community members, the City of Greensburg for the Veteran’s Memorial Pool, Bar Marco in Pittsburgh, and the Funnel Cake Men. His mobile welding business makes it convenient to travel to businesses, homes and organizations for many projects. He also commissions art pieces and is known for his beautiful copper roses. (pictured left)
You can view some of this art pieces at the 2nd annual ArtsWalk on Saturday, April 27 in downtown Greensburg featuring a new piece at DV8 Espresso Bar and a temporary piece, a horseshoe cross, in the Art in the Alley next to his ballerina butterfly installation. Check out the full ArtsWalk schedule and other locations you can see Riggs’ work during the event.