Paul Mears

Welding Artist and Business Owner
Iron Art of La Jolla, Calif.

“I was at Dallas College in the early ’90s taking general courses when I walked down the hallway and into the Welding Lab. I was in a welding class the next semester and fell in love with it. I’ve always been artistically inclined, but I never thought I could make art my business. If art comes easily to you, you think you shouldn’t be making money at it — you think you should be in accounting or something.

“Welding is so much fun — it’s dangerous and exciting. Dewayne Roy is one of the best instructors you could ever want. He’s not only knowledgeable in the field, but is so upbeat and willing to show you everything he can. He’s always guiding and encouraging, never critical, and he loves it when you’re working to your creative potential.

“What I most love about what I do is that there’s so much spontaneity and creativity involved. So many times, you have plans on how something is going to turn out — but something else happens, and you not only adapt to that, your mistake becomes a bit of creative genius.

“If you were an accountant and made a mistake, you’d have to stop and correct it. As artists, we don’t have to do that — we can take change and run with it to make even bigger magic. My work is all about helping people find the artistic expression they’re looking for in metalwork for their homes, and there’s a lot of room to make magic.

“I learned all of my welding technique in this program; Dewayne was very thorough in safety and applications. For instance, if you need to know how to attach copper to steel — he knows how to do that and can show you. He can tell you what machines and equipment work best to get you the best result, and he’s very creative in his own right. He also thinks outside the box — that’s a very exciting part of the program.

“You know you love something when you can’t wait to get to class to learn more about it, and then you don’t want to leave when class is over.”

Paul Mears was working as a restaurant manager when he read “The Artist’s Way,” by Julia Cameron, a workbook aimed at removing blocks to creativity. “By the sixth week, I was exploding with art,” he says. After taking welding classes at Dallas College​, he moved to La Jolla, Calif., and opened his own metalwork business, in which he specializes in decorative iron artwork such as balconies and gates.