We had the good fortune of connecting with Rex Covington and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rex, what do you attribute your success to?
Having grown up in La Jolla, California, a sleepy conservative town in San Diego, I certainly had a lot reasons to dream of “making it” big in the city up the coast. Los Angeles had an irresistible allure with its cutting edge industries in acting, music and art. These were all things I was intrigued by, so as soon as I was able to, after finishing college and the death of my father, I packed up and moved North to pursue a new life with a creative future in whatever medium I could muster. In those early years, it could have been anything. I was a graduate Drama student from SDSU, an enthusiastic singer/songwriter on my guitar (which was stolen on the first day in LA), and an artist at heart with little training but a lot of expressive desire. Well, I waited tables for 6 years and nothing fell into my lap. One day however, out of the blue, the Executive Chef shouted out that he wanted a volunteer to make ice sculptures for the Sunday brunch. I leaped at the chance, and after a couple months of learning the craft, the beginnings of my creative future started to take shape. I worked hard at it, chasing any jobs I could get, and the physical labor required was just fine because I was getting by with my own creativity. That was 1985, before cell phones, web pages or social media. Trying to grow this specialty business was hard, no doubt. I knocked on doors, showed my photo album, and hustled any gig I could. Needless to say, I continued to wait tables and even started a band to see if music might happen. I had a lot of fun, but a recording contract was not happening. As is was, an eventful setback occurred that rocked my world; I was fired from my waiter job and left with very little income to survive on. It turns out that it was the best thing that could happen. My business (and survival) training kicked in, and I doubled down on my art. The yellow pages proved to be a small windfall that pushed me a bit, and my interest in the film and TV industries opened other doors for “on set” ice sculptures. Slowly, my good reputation was growing. I also took work as a faux painter for a few years to get me through. It was around the mid 90’s that the world began to open up. Web pages were starting out, and my picture based art form was perfectly suited to that kind of marketing. To Hell with the yellow pages, this was far more reaching and it was the push I’d been hoping for. I began educating myself for business (small business services which are free) with an eye for growth, and in 1995, I launched laiceart.com, my first web page. In 2003, I started an ice house with freezer, office and ice block making equipment. No more buying ice blocks, I was a manufacturer! In 2012, I invested in CNC equipment that allowed me to perfect logos and graphic image reproduction. I also brought my son in, Barrett Covington, to become a partner and future artist. Things have grown to make LA Ice Art a solid, go to source for high end ice sculptures throughout Los Angeles and beyond. Looking back now at the path of success and the factors that were so important in my case, I realize that learning the business and marketing side were important to be sure, but the intangible personal traits were truly more valuable. Having the desire and persistence, with a detailed and perfectionist approach really got me there. Striving to be the best takes extra effort, and doing that in something you love is how time stands still, like heaven on earth. My advise is to do what you love, and always do your best. Success will surely follow. Rex Covington, owner and artist at LA Ice Art.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Ice sculpting is a delicate 3D medium done mostly with a chainsaw. It’s fragile like glass, heavy, and slippery.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Los Angeles is a big diverse place. My favorite places are private beaches, off the beaten path eateries and clubs. So sorry, but for me these are private, and the uninitiated will have to explore on their own.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Credit to the artists and creatives that I’ve met through my travels and life. Every person you meet is a source of knowledge and inspiration.
Ice work by Rex Covington