Corrina Sephora (Mensoff) is as mysterious and exotically rebellious as her name implies. With local Judaic masterpieces and a wild variety of media, this artistic free-thinking maverick remarked, “I don’t conform to an archaic model of the constraints of what women’s work could or should be, since I’m working with metal, welding, blacksmithing and building large-scale sculptures. I have a quiet spiritual side that prefers to walk in the woods, or at the ocean and spend time in my studio.”
Also known for her messaged paintings, Sephora creates astral imagery with textures and dusts from remnants. Her collections include the out-of-the-box “The Alchemical Divide,” “Blood of the Earth,” “Dreamscapes,” and “Between the Deep Blue Sea and the Universe.” Her work sells from $50 to $200,000 and resides in collections from Elton John and Jane Fonda to Temple Sinai and the Atlanta Jewish Academy, in steel, copper, bronze, brass, stainless steel, or dust from her studio merged into her paintings.
Jaffe: How did you get started in such challenging arenas?
Sephora: I was born in a log cabin to some free-thinking Jewish parents. I started welding in my father’s studio at five, then watching my stepdad and my retired sea captain in the Royal Dutch Navy grandfather build miniature boats. I went to a Waldorf school and learned to create with my hands, painting, drawing, fibers, and woodwork, as well as dance and language. In high school, I began making jewelry where metalsmithing and art fused. I’ve sheared sheep and spun wool, made dyes; and looms were my first “machines.” I have a double major from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in metals and sculpture.
Jaffe: Is welding traditionally men’s turf?
Sephora: As a sculptor, blacksmith welding is a process I use. In my 20’s I was a certified welder. All of my welds were run through an X-ray machine to check for pin holes. I worked at a shop with over 200 employees as the first and only woman ever hired as a welder.
Jaffe: Divulge why you interpret lunar and scientific images.
Sephora: After my mother succumbed to cancer, I started looking at cell shapes. The last thing she said was, “I’m sending this prayer to you from the moon.” Then, she went to sleep watching the moon rise for the last time over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in her New Mexico back yard. I felt that the astral images were a portal to this mysterious place…the cosmos, the afterworld, and by painting them, I got to imagine my mother’s new environment. This kept us connected.
Jaffe: Elaborate on your “star struck” work.
Sephora: [Jane] Fonda and I met in early 2000s through an artist friend who was re-doing the interior of Jane’s daughter’s Grant Park home. She commissioned me to create a sculptural fireplace screen and determined that Vanessa and I would become friends, which we did. Elton [John] has one of my Early Gun Transformations made out of an AR -15 shortly after the Parkland shooting. It’s a bouquet of flowers made from the barrel of a gun. There was a film made about using guns and gun transformations in artwork: “Sephora and Guay Explore Gun Debate Through Art” (2019).
Jaffe: You’re all over the city. Of what pieces are you most proud?
Sephora: “The Walking Boat Sculpture,” “Where Have I Come From, What Will I Leave Behind?” are my favorites. I’m proud of my work at Temple Sinai and the Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change. I recently created a sculpture for the Freeport Art Museum outside of Chicago, “Bridge Beyond Time.” I received a national call to create this piece, so that was a milestone.
Jaffe: What works of others do you treasure?
Sephora: I have contemporary works from Michi Meko, Mildred Thompson, William Downs, Lucinda Bunnen, Martha Whittington, Scott Behr, Eric Waters, Jiha Moon, Purvis Young, Estaban Patino, Hope Cohn, Linda Mitchell, Steven Anderson, Justin Rabideau, Julie Ann Ward, Lavanya Challah, Asha Greer, Jeanette Dorsey, Terri Dilling, Meagan Mosholder, Karen Tauches, Gabi Madrid, and my aunt, Susan, and lots more…
Jaffe: Share your Judaic inspirations.
Sephora: I created the door for the ark of the covenant and the menorah wall at Temple Sinai. More recently, a large stainless-steel menorah at Chabad Intown on the Beltline. I created the Holocaust Memorial at Atlanta Jewish Academy and a series of outdoor botanical pieces at the Davis Academy Outdoor Learning Center.
Jaffe: What’s the oddest thing you’ve ever created?
Sephora: Once, someone broke a leg in a car accident and wanted a pendant made from the titanium leg rod. Recently, I had a commission for a sculpture made from the titanium from their handicapped dog’s wheel cart.
Jaffe: What’s next for you?
Sephora: I will have work in a show at Spalding Nix Fine Art, and at the Swan Coach House Gallery, “Little Things Mean a Lot.” I have a show slotted in January at the Reeves House Gallery in Woodstock and a 30-year retrospective exhibition at a Fulton County gallery in spring. I will be a part of a group show at the Chastain Arts Center in May. I currently have two works in outdoor exhibitions at Marietta Square, and a large outdoor sculpture in Kennesaw at the Smith-Gilbert Gardens. I have been offered an exhibition at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens (Gainesville). I would like to have my work in museum exhibitions like the Whitney Museum of American Art and at the Venice Biennale.
Jaffe: Dish on your arm tattoo.
Sephora: It’s transitioning into a butterfly because I lead transformational courses globally. And it needs a new life…
For Sephora’s classes and access to her work, visit www.corrinasephora.com.
- Chai Style
- Marcia Caller Jaffe
- Corrina Sephora (Mensoff)
- The Alchemical Divide
- Blood of the Earth
- Between the Deep Blue Sea and the Universe
- Elton John
- Jane Fonda
- Temple Sinai
- Royal Dutch Navy
- Massachusetts College of Art and Design
- Sangre de Cristo Mountains
- Early Gun Transformations
- The Walking Boat Sculpture
- Where Have I Come From
- What Will I Leave Behind?
- Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change
- Freeport Art Museum
- holocaust memorial
- atlanta jewish academy
- Davis Academy Outdoor Learning Center
- Spalding Nix Fine Art
- Swan Coach House Gallery
- Reeves House Gallery
- Chastain Arts Center
- Smith-Gilbert Gardens.
- Atlanta Botanical Gardens
- Whitney Museum of American Art
- Venice Biennale
- Michi Meko
- Mildred Thompson
- William Downs
- Lucinda Bunnen
- Martha Whittington
- Scott Behr
- Eric Waters
- Jiha Moon
- Purvis Young
- Estaban Patino
- Hope Cohn
- Linda Mitchell
- Steven Anderson
- Justin Rabideau
- Julie Ann Ward
- Lavanya Challah
- Asha Greer
- Jeanette Dorsey
- Terri Dilling
- Meagan Mosholder
- Karen Tauches
- Gabi Madrid