Updated: 5 days ago
Shawn Lowery aka “Mr. Sawbladehead” is a second-generation welder, audio engineer and drummer for the 80’s hair metal band, Nova Rex. He’s lived in Florida for the past 20 years and didn’t move here to become a metal sculptor but that’s where his passion has led him to in his free time.
When he’s not performing with his band, Shawn is creating heirloom functional artwork and stage props for rock n roll royalty and other clients. He has made custom pieces for Head and Ray Luzier from Korn, Alice Cooper, Queensrÿche, Kamelot and many more. He takes pride in making one-of-a-kind pieces that have sentimental value to both him and his clients.
He credits his father's influence for his success as a welder. He recalls moving to Florida and his dad telling him to take the Lincoln SP-100 (light duty welder). Shawn didn’t use it for years and then just felt drawn to sculpt one of his treasured pieces, “The Life Tree”. This was a sculpture that he had envisioned from the time he was a child. He would often listen to music and draw stage designs with aspiration to one day create his visions. He specializes in modern, hand sculpted steampunk and gearhead, industrial style functional pieces. These include custom furniture, mic stands, guitar racks, etc.
Shawn recalls building the top rack of his life tree in his buddy’s driveway in the middle of the Florida Summer, no forge, no torch, just his SP-100, a 4 1/2" grinder, chop saw and an 18" piece of 1" pipe that he named the "MFT" (multifunctional tool that he used to hammer and bend the decorative solid rods with). He says that back in the day, machines were built to last and were often passed down generations. Lincoln caught wind of his sculptures and were impressed with his welding technique, that he had been able to do everything he did with the light duty machine that wasn’t even rated for the work he had done. An interesting fact about the life tree is all of the different textures that appear in the sculpture. Shawn explained that his father would purposefully mess with the welder and gas bottle so he would learn how those things affected his welding. After learning how to weld, then he was able to purposefully create imperfections for the superficial layer and give more depth to his work with a variety of textures.
Right now, he has multiple projects he’s working on. He’s building an Autism sculpture for Autism Awareness month and also what he calls, “the world's largest and most expensive guitar rack”. This is something he’s creating for a previous client, this will hold 21 guitars. It has a gothic vibe with a stained glass look, but everything is metal, it has hidden casters. He anticipates having the project done in May, so stay tuned for an episode on Weld.com.
In 2015, Shawn lost his father to a cancer that had spread throughout his body, to then only be diagnosed one year later with stage 4 thyroid cancer. After being misdiagnosed and experiencing fatigue and other symptoms, Shawn went to the Moffitt Cancer Center where they performed a 10 hour surgery to remove over 100 tumors throughout his throat, neck and shoulders.
The Dr. has told him that due to the severity of the surgery, he would possibly not be able to drum or weld again. Shawn fought and pushed through surgery, radiation, treatments and 3 months of physical therapy, because he has too many dreams and too many things left to do in life. As of this past month, his scans are clear, and he is close to being considered in remission from cancer.
When Shawn was asked how cancer has changed his life, he said that he just tries to create moments and art as much as he can, anything that feeds his soul. He says you really don't know when your day is and always says when he plays a show, this is his last show. Something on his bucket list…to one day have one of his sculptures featured in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.
To see some of Shawn's work head over to his website at www.sawbladeheaddesigns.com and subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss any of his new episodes from Weld.com.
You can also find Mr. Sawbladehead on Instagram at www.instagram.com/sawbladehead_designs