ST. JOHNS, MI — You’ve might have seen some of Ivan Iler's Sculptures around mid-Michigan. From Portrait of a Dreamer in downtown Lansing all the way to the Ledges out in Grand Ledge.
Now the metal worker and sculptor is showcasing his talents on the small screen.
The St. Johns artist is a contestant on a new Netflix show called Metal Shop Masters. Season one kicks off on Sept. 10 and is all about putting talented metal artists together and seeing who can come out on top.
"You're giving them certain things they have to work with and they have certain ideas of what they have to build and then they go ahead and build it," Iler said.
He says he was discovered to be on the show through social media. Someone saw his work and knew he had to have a spot.
"I thought it was a joke at first. I was like quit screwing with me. They were like, "No we're serious. We're going to fly you out to California and putting you on the show,'" Iler said.
With elimination on the table, sparks are flying, torches are lit, and the competition is on to see who will take home a trophy, $50,000, and a chance to be crowned the best.
According to Iler, you will be entertained.
"There are a lot of really talented artists there. Making a lot of really amazing things out of nothing. Just the materials in front of them," Iler said.
Known for his larger-than-life sculptures, Ivan says being an artist is something he's always wanted to do.
It started when he was a kid. Whether it was with Play-Doh or crayons he was always trying to make and create something.
"When I was in high school still I knew I didn't have the money for college and there wasn't really anything I could think of that I wanted to do so I actually became a tattoo artist. I did that for a few years," Iler said.
That didn't really work out for him. So he worked factory jobs, even at a gas station, and then eventually opened up a motorcycle shop.
"Seemed like a way I can do my artwork and still make money at the same time. I'm building metal things. I'm doing leatherwork. I'm painting and being able to create things," Iler said. "Then I started making sculptures out of scrap metals and putting them outside and from there it just kind of took off."
He even started winning Scrap Fest in Old Town. Fast forward to 2021, he's living his dream.
"The fact that somebody actually decided to make this show and then ask me to be a part of it and to get to put my stuff out there and let the world see what I can do...very humbled by it. It's going to be awesome," Iler said.