Eric Harristhal is the man behind Dos Pistolas Metalworks, which creates incredibly unique works of art. Every piece is one-of-a-kind. Eric opened his one man shop for fun, and has welded himself into a nice business making stunning pieces that show off his amazing craftsmanship.
Where are you from? Growing up, what did you geek out on? What comics, tv shows, movies, characters were you into?
I am originally from Minnesota, but currently live in Texas. When I was a kid, I geeked out on G.I Joes, He-Man, Batman, and baseball cards.
What are you geeking out on now?
I might actually be a bigger geek now, than I was as a kid. My favorite TV show is ‘Gotham,’ and I love all the super hero movies coming out these days. I love ‘The Big Bang Theory’ and anything Tim Burton. I’ll also play “geeky” card and board games with my wife.
How long have you been welding? What made you decide to start welding?
I’ve been welding for about a year and a half. I wanted a BBQ pit, and decided to try to make one myself. I found an ancient stick welder on Craigslist and some steel from the scrap yard. I created a BBQ pit that I still use to this day, and was hooked. I went back to the scrap yard and found I could weld and reshape objects that others threw away into pieces of art.
How did you learn the craft? Is this something you taught yourself?
I taught myself to weld in my home garage. I learned welding with the help of YouTube and hours of trial and error. A classically trained welder would probably tell me I’m doing it wrong, but I have taught myself the techniques that work for what I do.
You create everything from furniture pieces to unique lamps to fire-pits to Edward Scissorhand gloves! How do you decide what to create? Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I make things that I am passionate about. If the piece is something I am excited about, it really shows in the finished product. I have a completely unrelated day job, so I don’t have the time to make everything I’d like, so I try to really make sure I will enjoy creating the piece I do decide on. My inspiration comes from everything from a movie I’m watching or even a suggestion from an Instagram follower. I love getting suggestions from others, it makes me think and do research which will also spur new ideas.
I’m sure it varies a great degree, but how long does the average piece take?
The time really does vary a great deal on the piece. The amount of time doesn’t necessarily depend on the size of the piece, but on the amount of detail.
What’s the hardest or most challenging piece you’ve ever created? What made it so difficult?
I have two pieces that really stand out to me as my Achilles Heals. Those two pieces are an Iron Man helmet and a Storm Trooper helmet. Both pieces are oddly shaped and need to be perfectly symmetrical. I won’t put a piece of art out there that I am not proud of. Not too long ago, I started an Ironman helmet and really liked the way it was turning out. I posted a progress pic of the helmet on my Instagram. After several more hours of work, I was very unhappy with the progress. I tried and tried, but just couldn’t get it right. I moved on to a new piece and hoped nobody would notice, which I can laugh about now. Well, of course I got called out on that one through Instagram. Eventually I had to reveal that I was so unhappy with the Ironman helmet that I chopped it up and saved the steel for a later piece. I haven’t tried the Ironman helmet since, but I think I’ll need to try again soon.
What has been your most favorite piece that you’ve ever created?
I think my favorite piece is the Dr. Finklestein from the ‘Nightmare Before Christmas.’ He is my favorite because I remember the long hours I put into him, and I was happy with the way he turned out.
Besides welding, what else goes into making each piece? Sewing? Carpentry?
TIG welding is my welding process of choice. I also use some rudimentary black smithing techniques. My wife, Charista, is also vital to Dos Pistolas Metalworks. Charista has done all the sewing and all the shipping, I really couldn’t do it without her.
You have over 28,000 followers on Instagram. How has your life changed since the creation of the website, your shop, and your popularity on Instagram?
One thing that comes with a large number of followers, is also the number of haters. I just figure that means I am doing something right, and I know it isn’t possible to please everyone. 99% of my social media interactions are positive, and I try to find humor is any that aren’t. Like I said earlier, I also get many useful suggestions from my followers and I try to respond to every message.
Where do you sell your pieces?
I sell most of my work on Etsy, occasionally on EBay, or through direct messaging on Instagram.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a Jack Skellington right now. He is probably my favorite character, and ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ is certainly one of my favorite movies.
You’ve been very generous with your time! Thank you for this interview, and we look forward to seeing your next creations!
Be sure to check out the various Dos Pistolas Metalworks websites: