We had the good fortune of connecting with Corrina Sephora and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Corrina, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
My first day of Art School (Massachusetts College of Art, Boston) we were all in the Auditorium in a welcome to the school, with guest speakers, and one of them stood up and said “1% of all Art School Students will go on to make a living practicing what they studied while at Art School….” Making a living as a full-time artist was a risk, but I heard that as a challenge and I have made a living as an artist for over 25 years now. When I opened my studio 1997, I was one of 50 women in America with a blacksmith shop/metal sculpture studio. It was shocking to learn that but it has driven me to share my knowledge with others. Don’t get me wrong, there have been plenty of ups and downs, although being a woman and an artist has been a risk…it has also been very rewarding!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I was raised with the philosophy…”you can do whatever you want in life, if you just set your mind to it!” My Father was a bohemian, zen rebel from NYC who was all about charting your own path in life and defying all limiting beliefs or historic role models. With that philosophy in the back of my mind it kept me going forward, I never gave up on my dreams of being an artist. Being a metal sculptor and mixed media artist has allowed diversity in my work, there’s a spiritual aspect to the art work. It’s full of socially conscious and subtle undertones with our relationships to the environment and the human condition. When I first started working as an artist I was working out of a house in the basement, and backyard with a tarp over my forge area. One of the biggest challenges was acquiring equipment. I was working for 3 different shops, slowly building up studio, and one day there was a lady that was looking for someone to commission a piece of metalwork. I took on the project and had to apologized for the time it was taking because I didn’t have a fully functioal studio yet, and mainly worked in the evenings. From that moment onwards it gave me the confidence to work on my own and build my own studio. I’ve learned the value in having a community and building up your network. My current studio is at the Goat Farm Arts Center with a whole community of artists. To date I have permanent works at the Martin Luther king Historic Centers collection, the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, and works in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia, and private collectors such as Sir Elton John.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The day would start with a morning sunrise hike at Arabia Mountain or paddle boarding near Stone Mountain. Brunch would be at Whiskey Bird in Morningside and visit the Morningside Farmers Market to get some fresh vegetables; I also love Kale Me Crazy. The afternoon would be at the Atlanta Botanical Garden then go to the Atmosphere french restaurant in midtown. The evening would consist of gallery visits including the gallery that sponsors me, Spalding Nix, MOCA GA, Sandler Hudson, Whitespace, Marsha Wood and Hathaway Contemporary. Dinner would be at the Naan Fine Dining which is a Thai fine dining, in midtown.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are many people in my lifetime for whom I am grateful for the support and guidance, starting of course with my dad, who instilled in me whatever you dream of, you can make it happen as long as you set your mind to it, and in my mothers words she would say “Do what you love” and ” beauty will save the world!”. Idealists indeed who raised me to forge my own way in the world beyond any confines, inward or outward. My art teachers played big roles in my life, starting in high school where my teacher, Mr. Marsette, would send my drawings, prints and paintings to the Boston Globe, Scholastic Art Awards, and encouraged me to go on to Art School for college…. Then one of my sculpture professors from undergraduate school, George Greenameyer, would be encouraging and was so knowledgeable about sculpture and all of the process, I took all the courses, then helped to teach them. I was always in the sculpture studio, and learned blacksmithing, hot forging steel around this time…they all called me QUEEN of the FORGE…so I made a crown and wore it for Graduation. When I was in Graduate school, my professor George Beasley challenged me to continue to focus on creating work with boats and nautical themes, after I created an award winning sculpture the Walking Boat… today I am so grateful to my studio assistants, Richard Pepe, Gabi Madrid and my office admin Iris Poole, and Jeff for helping me keep all of the balls in the air, projects rolling along, exhibitions going up and down, proposals and applications, keeping the finances straight, and the endless welding and forging classes for the community all taken care of. I am grateful to the Goat Farm Arts Center to have a beautiful studio to work in even if just for a little while longer…
Jerry Siegel, Terrell Clark, Corrina Sephora