Clay Hoffman is one of the many wonderful personalities, who are part of Tennis Round, and in addition to playing tennis, he likes to build art from metal. Check out his cool YouTube video channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/artbyclay
Here’s his story in his own words.
“I had gone my whole childhood without every swinging a tennis racket. It was around 1976, after I had graduated from High School that I was at a neighbors garage sale, Pete had a fancy composite racket for sale and he told me “you will impress people just walking on to the court with this racket.” I purchased the racket for a couple bucks and headed down the road. As fate would have it, I stopped in at another garage sale and at this garage sale I found a paperback book on how to play tennis. Now I had a tennis book and a racket, my next step forward was finding some friends who played tennis. I was severely thrashed for the next couple of years until I got my game together. I will never forget this game I won, the other guy got so made at losing he smashed his racket on the court, breaking the frame. Now many years later, I have had many excellent matches with many excellent friends. I am not a super competitive person, but it is a lot of fun to get out there and mix it up.
About the same time I started playing tennis, I started metal sculpting. After High School, I took some welding classes at the local community college. A friend helped me get a job welding in a factory making wood stoves. This friend had a welding set at home and he let me come over and work at making metal sculptures.
My first sculptures were little motorcycles that had spinning wheels, and rotating front forks. A neighbor liked my metal work and commissioned me to make a tree-scape for over his fireplace. I made a couple practice trees and got his okay to make a forest of them. Around this time I entered my practice trees in a local art show. I received first place for the nonprofessional sculpture category. So here I am, I got a paid for the commission, and I received a first place award at the show, I figured fame and fortune awaited me in the art world. Now over 35 years later I am still chasing the dream of fame and fortune, it always seems as though it is just around the next corner. I have achieved many personal successes, one of which is where I teach children in schools how to draw cartoons, and how to make wire frame sculptures. I have a web site http://www.ArtByClay.com that is in desperate need of major updating. There are a couple nice pictures of some of my earlier work, but nothing has been uploaded for many years. If you want to see the really new stuff, you need to come over for a studio tour.