Tom Corbin.

“From left to right: initial molding of Venus and Mars Tables (male and female figures, covered in lavender mold material), Bikini Bunnee clay in progress, Girl on Swing clay maquette, Flower Study wax maquette. Blank primed canvas is stapled to wall awaiting inspiration. Generally, I have 3 to 4 projects going simultaneously. Blame it on ADD or a short attention span. In any case, I jump from project to project, letting some to simmer over days to weeks. Others finished in an afternoon.”

“Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. No, not a wedding, just my studio. A wide array of drawings, books, completed works and some never to be completed works litter one corner of my studio.”

“The Portrait Wall” I attend a painting group each Monday night where you have to complete a portrait in an hour. Evidence of this is hung on my studio wall. Some weeks are a success other weeks…just a good experience.

“I visit my desk periodically during the day. Perhaps to scan my Google calendar, a quick review of my week’s to do list via yellow legal pad or a mild groan as I fill out a workman’s comp audit. I try to keep my time here at a minimum. It is a nice desk, though.”

Tom Corbins introduction and subsequent career in sculpture has been based more on serendipity than calculation. Born in Dayton, Ohio in 1954; Tom’s early fascination in art was inspired by his mother, an art teacher by trade. Despite studying painting and drawing at Miami University, Tom’s original career pursuit was Business as an advertising executive. Tom’s first brush with the third dimension came in a chance meeting with a bronze sculptor in 1982. Classes with this sculptor led to a deepened interest in bronze casting and thoughts of a career in art. In 1986, Tom left the secure confines of his advertising agency job for the unpredictability of life as a full-time sculptor.

Now in his second artful decade, Tom’s work appears in over 20 museums, galleries and showrooms. Individual collectors include Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emeril Lagasse, Jack Nicholson and the late Frank Sinatra. Public installation sites include the United Nations, The Kauffman Foundation, Paramount Pictures and Florida State University.

I was initially attracted to the physicality and the dynamic nature of sculpture…

FROM YOUR DESKS: Bikini Bunnee is entirely cool. How did that work come about?

TOM CORBIN: Bikini Bunnee is an amalgam of two themes. The female form has been the primary focus of my art for years. The bunny head hides the actual expression of the individual which is then left up to the viewer’s imagination and interpretation. The bunny theme has been used in many ways and serves as an icon with multiple meanings from ancient to contemporary time.

FYD: Do you look at sketches as your sculpt?

TC: I use small sketches to develop ideas for sculptures and paintings. Once I decide to progress with an idea, I will produce a clay maquette (clay model) for a sculpture or a more developed colored sketch for a painting.

I love our new space.

FYD: How do you choose your subjects in your paintings; is there a human feature you look or feel drawn to?

TC: It seems that I tend to gravitate to the individual human figure in painting. This stems from my approach to sculpture. I would like to experiment with much more comprehensive painting compositions in the future.

FYD: After 23 years at the River Bottoms, does it help to start in a new milieu?

TC: I love our new space. We moved in to this 9,000 square foot 1912 firehouse in November of 2009. The First floor is studio, workshops, packing and storage. Second floor is offices and gallery. I’m very excited to have an outdoor sculpture garden where I can showcase larger pieces.

FYD: You are a Midwest native. How do you think the Kansas City art scene stacks up to other Midwest cities? 

TC: I grew up in Dayton, Ohio. Graduated from Miami University and moved to KC. I’ve been here for 32 years. The art scene in KC doesn’t take a back seat to any city in the Midwest. It’s very vibrant and continues to grow. A lot of venues to show work and much more affordable to set up a studio here than on the coasts.

FYD: What is your own personal favorite work (which you created)?

TC: I can’t pick one. Some I consider to be more successful than others. I don’t think I have made my favorite piece yet.

All apologies, Kate must now boast, one as a native Kansas Citian and two as old neighbor of Tom’s. She owns “Girl Waiting” and waits to collect more. If you would like to learn more about Tom’s work; pick up his book as an excellent introduction.


2 Comments For “Tom Corbin.”

  1. Jenny says:

    one of my favorite posts so far…

  2. chris yarrow says:

    very cool. great interview. big fan of site .

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