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Rustic Steel Creations

114 S. 12th Street
Tampa FL
Phone: 813-222-0016

Rustic Steel Creations specializes in polished steel mesh, etched plate steel, and painted steel plates, recycled metals and found objects for residential and commercial projects

Dominique Martinez has never taken the easy way out. Instead, he has worked hard in a number of different jobs, from antiques appraiser to venture capitalist, to get where he is today. Along the way, he founded Rustic Steel Creations and discovered his niche: making custom pieces of art from steel and iron.

Dominique was born in France and raised in New York. After dropping out of school in the 10th grade to support his family due to his father’s illness, Dominique found his way into the world of antiques as an art appraiser. This start in the art business taught Dominique how to assess and appreciate a work’s value. “I can’t believe I had this stuff in my hands,” he says about the experience. “$50 million worth of art has gone through my hands physically. That’s very rare.”

After a few false starts and some moves across the country, Dominique found himself working as a venture capitalist in Tampa. His friend had a metal working studio, and Dominique found himself inspired to work into the wee hours of the morning transforming pieces of metal. When he started taking afternoon naps in his office due to his late nights in the studio, he knew things had to change. He just didn’t know how. “ I knew I wanted to make art, I just didn’t want to become a starving artist.”

Dominique asked his boss for some time off, but his request was denied. That day he packed up his office and never returned. He found himself at a turning point, where he would often spend hours contemplating his next move.

“I didn’t know what I was going to do. I didn’t have an income. I had a $4,000 a month mortgage with all of my properties. I had no savings, no stocks, and I found the couch. One day I think I spent 11 hours all day thinking about my life.”

After much contemplation it dawned on him that his hobby of creating art in his friend’s studio was the answer. “I knew I loved working with steel because I saw what I could create. Once I realized what I could do with steel, it just fascinated me. That’s when I made the decision - that’s it, I’m going for broke.” His first commission, which earned him a little over $900, thrilled him.

It turned out to be one of the best decisions he’s ever made. And it taught him an important life lesson and provided a simple philosophy to live by. “The most important thing, it says it on my license plate, is do what you love, and the money will come. Because, if you chase after the money, it evades you.”

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