Erie Artist Creates Special Guitar for Luke Bryan
A man from Summit Township is living his dream. He was laid off as a welder at Erie's General Electric plant a few years ago. Now, he's in business for himself, creating amazing artwork with some of the skills he learned at GE. One of his latest projects has impressed a big-time celebrity.
Adam Stempka recently spent some time with country music superstar Luke Bryan at Bryan’s ranch in Nashville. Adam was invited to attend a fund raiser hosted by Bryan last October for the Brett Boyer Foundation. The foundation financially supports research to help children with Down Syndrome and Congenital Heart Disease.
"It was like hanging out with family,” says Adam. “Luke was there. Jason Aldean was there. Jon Pardi was there. All these people incredibly down to earth, wonderful people. It really was an experience."
Adam is the founder of a business called Metalheads. He creates wonderful artwork made of metal. Adam recently created a metal cello for motivational speaker and writer Brent Yates. Yates loved it. So, he commissioned Adam to design and build a metal guitar to be auctioned off at the Luke Bryan fund raiser. The guitar raised a lot of money for the foundation.
"It actually sold for $70,000,” says Adam. “$70,000 for one guitar. That was something I'm still trying to wrap my head around. Like, 'Thank you God!' It's been an incredible experience."
Adam's love of art began in high school, but he talked himself out of pursuing his dream of being an artist. Instead, he went to work at GE as a welder. He was laid off on three different occasions and had time on his hands.
"I had a welder and I had metal and different things out in my garage. Just for fun, I started to sculpt with it a little bit. I decided I was going to do a deer head. So, I did that and the joy that that brought to me stuck with me,” recalls Adam.
Adam sold the deer head online. The idea of sculpting for a living was born. His business is very busy, but Adam still thinks back to his days at GE. One of his old co-workers, Okie Emery, helped him with the metal guitar so it actually can be played. The journey from GE to Luke Bryan's ranch took a while, but Adam is definitely living his dream.
"It feels great,” he says. “It feels good to do what I love. I just feel blessed. I really do."
The guitar auctioned at the fund raiser sits on a stainless steel guitar pick. It's cradled against a rotating G-clef musical note along with a cowboy hat...both made of copper. It has 23-carat gold leafing. And...it lights up!!! Adam also made an identical guitar for Luke Bryan to keep for himself.