Why not do both - explore both options and continue to develop both skills. There is nothing wrong with learning as much as possible and continuing to develop all of your talents. Welding is kind of difficult when you first begin (especially if youre starting on oxyacetylene - but all forms of welding present their own challenges in the beginning - I promise it gets easier). Learning these skills may have application to your artwork later if you enjoy making 3D sculptures. There are a lot of interesting things you can make as a result of being good at welding. Welding is really the doorway into fabrication - if you end up liking it, you should continue to learn more tools - how to finish metal and maybe even try wood. Fabrication for professional artwork is a huge career field. The more materials and skills you have the better. Does this sound like something you would enjoy? If so, I would keep up both. The more skills you have in the art world, the more competitive and valued of an asset you become! If you really are unsure, maybe look into different companies that need good welders and fabricators. Here are a few you can check out:
Technique Architectural Products: https://www.techniqueap.com/ They built the ball that drops on New Years in Pittsburgh a couple of years ago!
Atomic Props: https://www.atomicprops.com/portfolio/
VStar Entertainment: http://www.vstarentertainment.com/portfolio
All of these require welding skills and more! You're starting young that's a huge benefit. Entry level pay for these type of jobs are around 15 dollars an hour, given you have the skills required. If you want to learn more, you can probably learn a lot at a local Makerspace and learn even more about the benefits of learning all these skills!
Initially when I started out in art, I really only worked with drawing and painting. When I discovered 3D art everything changed. If you enjoy drawing, no one says you have to stop drawing -even if you are welding. You can do both. Both require practice. I encourage you to stick with it and talk to people in the sculpture field (especially if you do not want to do functional welding) to learn more about all the amazing things you can do if you continue to develop your skills in working with steel (and maybe aluminum and bronze and maybe even other materials).
I wish you the best and I hope you stick with both and seek to learn as much as you can and gain as many skills as you possibly can.
Heather recommends the following next steps:
- Check the websites I suggested
- Think about what you might do and what other skills might interest you!
- Visit a Makerspace in the local area (just google Makerspace and the name of your city)
- Keep asking questions!
- Dont give up!