The first time she forged steel, Corrina Sephora knew she wanted to work with metal. Now the Atlanta metal artist, once called the Queen of Forge, is known for her one-of-a-kind sculptures and mixed media paintings.
The artist: Born in New Hampshire, Sephora started welding at age five with her father. Her interest in art continued through high school, where she studied printmaking, ceramics and jewelry making.
On the move: Sephora headed to Boston and graduated in 1995 from the Massachusetts College of Art & Design (MassArt) with a double major in metals and sculpture. During her college years, Sephora also spent a week at Maine’s Haystack Mountain School of Craft, where she first forged steel.
After college, she moved to Atlanta and pursued her own version of a journeyman apprenticeship, working with artists and companies that specialized in metalwork.
In 2005 she earned a master’s degree in sculpture at Georgia State University (GSU). While continuing her art, Sephora teaches metal and welding workshops.
The company/studio: Corrina Sephora Studios, founded in 1997, is currently based in the Goat Farm Arts Center in Atlanta’s West Midtown district. The metal artist also has a home studio.
The goods: Abstract and symbolic sculptures ($1,300 to $40,000) for public and private settings and mixed-media paintings ($1,200 to $9,900).
Inspiration: Universal and personal themes of transformation in the journey of life.
Imagery often used: Boats, ladders, flowers, trees and water. Also abstractions inflluenced by the sun, moon and universe.
- The 68 circular forms in various sizes from “Between the Deep Blue Sand and the Edge of the Universe” exhibit at Mason Fine Art in Atlanta.
- Sculptures with tree forms, ranging from wall-size to large outdoor public sculptures ($5,000 to $40,000).
- Works on paper, especially from the series called “Lunar Studies in Time” ($1,200 to $2,300). Some were purchased for a retreat in Costa Rica.
Other favorites: The gun transformation series ($900 to $2,500).
Unusual request: To transform an AR-15 rifle into a sculpture. The request piece came from an Iraq vet who wanted to make a statement about AR-15 rifles in the hands of civilians shortly after the Parkland (FL) High School shooting in 2018. More small and large gun transformation sculptures followed.
Big break (s):
- Singer-songwriter Elton John purchased her first gun sculpture (Gun Bouquet 1) after seeing it in a film.
- Actress Jane Fonda commissioned a piece for her daughter’s home in Atlanta’s Grant Park.
- Solo show at Mason Fine Art, a contemporary gallery in Atlanta.
Claim to fame: When she opened her studio in 1997, Sephora was one of 50 women running a metal sculpture and blacksmithing studio in the country, according to Modern Masters TV show that filmed a segment on her in 2000 for HGTV
Awards/honors: Many, including artist in resident programs, grants and:
- 2020 Best in Show for Scattering Dreams at the Sinclair Galleryat the Arts X Change in Atlanta.
- People’s Choice award for Outdoor Sculpture Competition in Ocala, FL .
- First Place at City of North Charleston Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition & Competition.
- Best in show from Annette Cone Skelton of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia MOCA for a juried exhibition at GSU.
Permanent displays: In Atlanta, the Promised Land gate at the Martin Luther King National Historic Site, the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, King & Spalding law firm and Temple Sinai.
What’s new: Experimenting with fire paintings. In the process, hot pieces of metal gently touch the wet surface of thick paper.
- Being flown to Chicago this month (September 2020) as a finalist to present her plan for an outdoor sculpture in the new Arts Plaza at the Freeport Art Museum
- A show at Spalding Nix Fine Art Gallery in Atlanta, July 23 to Sept. 10, 2021.
Get social at: CorrinaSephora on facebook and corrinasephora.metalartist on instagram.