There is an impressive talent being built right in Sunset Park.
Sixteen-year-old Gabriel Pena, a local resident that attends Sunset Park High School, has a talent and passion for building impressive handmade pieces of furniture. And his skills just keep getting better and more recognized, thanks to his YouTube Channel, “The Boss Workshop.”
“I started building things when I was around 11,” said the 12th grader. “I started building small skateboards similar to Tech Deck Handboards, and I started ‘The Boss Workshop’ when I was 14. I like the idea of taking an idea and starting with nothing and turning that idea into something.”
At a young age, Pena was enamored with fixing various pieces of furniture, but his real motivation came when he wanted to build something from scratch. “One day I decided I wanted to build a computer desk for myself and I wanted to integrate the computer into the desk,” he said, who was self-taught with help from internet articles and videos. “I went on and built it and then after that, I decided to start my own channel to show off the stuff I build so people have an idea of how to do it.”
Pena’s father played a big role in his love for building. “I started working with my dad when I was young and he worked as a locksmith outdoors and I learned a lot from that,” he said. “He taught me a lot of the simple skills that I still use today. Working with wood is very difficult to learn. My dad didn’t really know much about it so I kind of had to teach myself that.”
Although he was inspired by various YouTube channels, Pena discovered that there was a lack of in-depth videos that help teach beginning builders. “When I first started building my desk, there was some other stuff like it but the videos weren’t very detailed,” he said. “They showed pictures. I put a camera above what I’m working on so people can see everything so they can get an idea of how the whole process works.”
With the countless videos and channels on YouTube, it’s difficult to generate a dedicated following. However, Pena has managed to garner a lot of attention. “One of my favorite moments so far is creating the channel and seeing it grow over the last year and a half,” he stated. “When I started, I had zero subscribers and one person a week watching my videos and now there are about 30,000 people a month watching my videos. It makes me very happy.”
It can be daunting to put your work on the internet, where viewers can be merciless. However, the challenge didn’t faze Pena. “I was confident because it’s a big community and if people are watching my videos, chances are it’s because people are interested so I thought there was nothing really to be scared of,” he stated. “I just keep putting more stuff out there so there is more of a chance of people seeing my videos and get pulled in by them.”
Pena typically posts videos once a week, or once every two weeks if the project he is filming is bigger. “So far, my most watched video was a wrench holder that I built for my workshop,” he said. “It was a simple cleat that holds all of my wrenches at the wall and I believe it had 60,000 views most likely because it’s a simple thing to use and its something that everybody needs and everybody can use if they have a workshop.”
His work has become so popular that he is selling some of it around the neighborhood. “At first I was doing stuff for myself, but now I’m getting people around the neighborhood that want my stuff and now that people are seeing in internet and articles,” he said. “They’re contacting me from different parts of Brooklyn to build them stuff.”
Brooklyn’s very own prodigy!