Hipsters. Cool hotels. SXSW. All things you may associate with ATX…
Add rad rustic art to your list. ATX Frontporch’s Austin Lewis takes reclaimed wood from old barns and houses to craft unique decor and wall hangings.
“I’ve had a hammer in hand since before I could walk thanks to my carpenter dad,” says Austin. “What started out as a Sunday project on my parent’s front porch has now become my new passion.”
He adds, “My handy dad taught me how to work with my hands. My artistic momma taught me how to create beauty out of the least expected things. I have taken both of these gifts and started my own venture.”
When did you decide to start your business and why? In July of 2015, I decided I wanted to build something to put above my couch in my new place. Mom suggested a Texas so one hot Sunday afternoon in July I got out dad’s drill and jigsaw and started piecing together old barn wood to make a Texas sign. I was so proud of my creation, I posted it on Facebook. So many people requested them mom told me I needed to charge. And the rest is history.
What’s the story behind your business name? My name is Austin and all my friends call me ATX and this little adventure all started on my parent’s front porch.
Did you go to school or have professional training in your field? My dad is a carpenter so I’ve been around tools my whole life.
Is this your full-time job? No. My goal is that this will be my only career by 2017.
Do you have any employees? I’m a one man show.
What was the hardest part about starting your business? The hardest part has to be to make time to build. I have a corporate Monday through Friday job and I am also a photographer on the weekends. Somehow I pull it off.
Favorite part? When I find the unique wood and colors and piecing them together. All of my wood is 100% reclaimed and most is at least 75-100 years old. I love it because it makes each piece totally unique and impossible to duplicate.
What has been your proudest moment so far in your business? My proudest moment has to be my first art show I was asked to be in back in October 2015. My entire family and closest friends came to support me. My best friend flew in from NYC to surprise me and my 5th grade art teacher even came and bought a piece. All these people came to support me and see the art I had made with my own two hands. That’s when I knew this is totally something I could see myself doing fulltime.
Do you have any tips for newbies in the industry? Being I’m only seven months in, I still consider myself a newbie. I would say if you find something you are truly passionate about and find yourself even wanting to do it on your days off, pursue it. It doesn’t feel like work when you love what you are doing.
Any additional comments/stories you’d like to share? Everyone has their own strengths and everyone has their own career path. We are raised in a society that puts so much pressure on kids in that they HAVE to know what their career will be at such a young age. Who hasn’t asked child, “Sooo what do you want to be when you grow up?” We are expected to have our entire life planned out at the young age of 18. Here I am 30 years young and I’m just now finding my niche.
Find ATX Frontporch at our Dallas Flea Style show March 12th at Fair Park from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and online at atxfrontporch.com.