Bridgeport artist shares his story of turning his life from gang member to artist and business owner
A Bridgeport man has defied the odds by leaving his gang life and a prison sentence behind to pursue his dream.
Byron Troy Bigelow is the owner and artist of Steeling Roses. He manipulates metal into sculptures, creating something new - similarly to his life.
"My connection to my then and now because the steel, like it bends but you can never really break it," Bigelow said.
He led a dangerous life on the streets of Bridgeport. The street life caught up with Bigelow - an incident in Fairfield changed everything.
In 2011, Bigelow was arrested and convicted of first degree assault, and a judge sentenced him to prison. He spent 18 months inside the Bridgeport Correctional Center. When he was released, he was determined to stay out of trouble.
"I came home and I finished probation and I was working I'm like, you know what? I can do better," Bigelow said.
He picked up the pieces and began focusing on his art and a new business.
"I registered Steeling Roses as an LLC. And started grinding, popping up on celebrities and giving them pieces of art and just networking, I started networking different. And that energy I was putting into the streets, I put into my art," Bigelow said.
He says he is now focused on enjoying his life, and less focused on things he cannot control.
Bigelow sells his art worldwide and spends his time mentoring youth in Bridgeport with his project Less Guns, More Roses.
Steeling Roses is leading an exhibit and talk on Saturday called "Exploring Racism in the Art World." It will be held at 6 p.m. 148 Beach Road in Fairfield.