Artist Spotlight: Brad Trombley

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Hobbies are a great way to relax, escape from the world, and show your creative ability. They can be lots of fun and a special way to show someone you care when you make them a one-of-a-kind gift. This month, we’re featuring an artist who includes art as a hobby. Not only that, but he also has an ecommerce business, which could be considered a hobby as well — a hobby that pays! We want to thank him for his time, and feel free to share some art love in the comments below!

RevPub: What are the things you make/create?

So far, I enjoy making paintings using wood. I love being able to cut the wood in any shape and then painting the details on it. I’ve also done Perler Beads, but these are less works of art and more of following patterns.


RevPub: What do you enjoy about having art as a hobby, and do you ever sell your stuff?

I love having art as a hobby because it takes my full concentration. If I’m thinking about something else or stressing about something, my complete focus is on my works of art. I’ve never sold the stuff I’ve made for me, but I have sold stuff requested by other people.

RevPub: How do you get the ideas for your art?

Usually I get my ideas for wood by seeing a really cool picture and thinking, “Oh hey, this would look really cool in different layers of wood.”

RevPub: What’s your favorite thing you’ve built/created/painted and why?

My favorite thing I’ve created would either be a Playstation door knocker that I have hanging outside my room or my Majora’s Mask painting.

RevPub: What do you sell in your ecommerce business?

I mainly sell books, but I’m starting to learn more about VHS, DVDs, and CDs.

RevPub: Would you recommend others sell things on eBay/Amazon?

If you don’t plan on doing it as a main job, I would recommend selling on eBay for most people. It’s easier to learn, there aren’t nearly as much fees as Amazon, and the auction system for eBay is amazing if you don’t know how much you should charge people for something.

RevPub: What’s the coolest thing you’ve sold?

I don’t really have a coolest thing I sold. Most of the books are the same. I did find a book on How to Train Your Miniature Donkey that sold for about $40, which was pretty great.

(Photos courtesy of Brad Trombley)

Artist Spotlight: Chris Boehm

It’s our pleasure to spotlight Chris Boehm this month. Chris runs the Etsy shop Upcycled Marketplace, where he makes functional and attractive furniture from unused and unwanted materials. He works as an energy efficiency engineer and is active in the American Ninja Warrior world. We encourage you to check out his merchandise on!

Chris Boehm Rev Pub: What are the basic materials/tools you use?
The materials I use to build my projects are any unused, unwanted or scrap materials. My most popular materials are old pallets, cabinet doors, windows and old shelving.
I use a miter saw, table saw, circular saw, jig saw, random orbit sander, and a drill. I am slowly building my tool selection as I go. I started making my first piece with just a circular saw, and I’m lucky to say I still have all 10 fingers! Future additions will be a drill press, bench sander, impact drill and a scroll saw.


Rev Pub: What inspired you to start Upcycled Marketplace?
I grew up being good at making things with my dad. He taught me construction, furniture making, electrical skills – anything a modern-day Renaissance Man should know how to do. I have also always been interested in reusing materials when I can, and when my wife and I moved into our house, we needed some furniture. So instead of spending a lot of money on decorations and furniture, I decided to use free materials (pallets and discarded wood from my dad’s workshop) to make a bar cart, coat rack and platter centerpiece.

Rev Pub: If you could make anything, what would it be?
I have always wanted to make something that incorporates solar photovoltaic cells such as a coffee table or wall hanging that does something functional like charge your cellphone or power a clock.

Coffee table upcycled marketplaceRev Pub: What are the challenges working with recycled materials and wood?
The challenges with using upcycled or recycled materials are making the material look good enough to go in a house but still retain its recycled nature. Keeping the rustic nature of the material while still passing my wife’s inspection. It’s also challenging to maintain the recycled idea of project because it would always be easier to go to the store and buy what you need instead of finding it in a junk yard or the free section of Craigslist.

Rev Pub: Do you have any tips or advice for someone wanting to start a similar hobby/business?
Have a game plan for what makes your projects different (in my case, the upcycled aspect helps me stand out). Stay true to your game plan, and don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you work full-time like I do, don’t try to complete too many projects at the same time – take it slow and do one project at a time if you have to.

And be sure to check out this awesome video about Chris’ main project last year — a dining room table and chairs!