ABOUT THOMAS COFFIN AND JULIA KING
Born in Lawrence, Kansas, Thomas Warner Coffin comes from a diverse cultural background. His heritage includes a mix of Native American tribes and early western frontiersman and pioneers from Kansas and Oklahoma. He attended the Institute of American Indian Art in Santa Fe, and received a B.F.A. in Sculpture and Painting from the Kansas City Art Institute.
Early works while living in Santa Fe, working as a supervisor at Shidoni Fine Art Bronze Foundry, concentrated on cast bronze stylized figurative sculpture utilizing inlaid precious metal plating fusing his knowledge of jewelry making learned in junior high and high school. The sculptures were cast in small editions, shown in galleries in Santa Fe, Los Angeles, Aspen, Dallas, and are in private collections throughout the United States. In 1988 he received a commission to sculpt four life-size bronze figures, "All American Family", for the headquarters of McDonald's Corporation in Chicago.
In 1989 he moved to New York City and continued to work with the bronze figure. Projects involving architectural restoration with one of only four companies authorized to work on landmark and historic buildings such as Carnegie Hall, The Audubon Society Building and The Pierre Hotel influenced the direction of his work. He began using architectural inspired and abstract motifs using cast concrete, cast aluminum, bronze, stone, oil painting, and mixed media. These influences appeared in later commissions. In 1994 he designed and constructed Native American inspired architectural elements for the entrance of the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian in New York City. In 1996 he won a commission to create and build a monument for Route 66 for the New Mexico Arts Commission and New Mexico State Highway Department in Tucumcari.
In 1991 he began working with artist Julia King designing and making gilded cast stone, ceramic, and wood objects and art furniture. Their first collections were launched by Henri Bendel on Fifth Avenue and Archetype Gallery in Soho. The artists were married in 1992, and went on to be represented by galleries across the country and in British Columbia. In 1999 they remodeled a mid-century home in Scottsdale as a showcase for their works and built Coffin & King Studio on the property, where Thomas developed a body of abstract paintings and sculpture. Recently he has begun a series of mixed media dioramas inspired by his childhood fascination with history museum diorama scenes. A product of years of mastering many techniques, and the culmination of observations during years of traveling across the country and around the world. Events throughout his life including his rigorous Catholic upbringing in Kansas and his interest in history, along with his awe of nature's fury in the form of storms are evoked in this new series of works. He is currently represented by POP Gallery in Santa Fe.
Julia King learned photography as a child under the guidance of her father, one of the Time-Life nature photographers. She grew up living between the differing worlds of Manhattan and Santa Fe, New Mexico. During this time, Julia traveled the United States extensively with her environmentalist parents as they worked on landmark books and documentary films on wildlife and ecology. After her father's death, she studied with master printer Karl Kernberger in Santa Fe.
Julia began her career in the visual arts while working as an editorial assistant at Cosmopolitan Magazine, learning the ropes from encouraging editors and photographers. Editor-in-chief Helen Gurley Brown gave Julia her first assignment as staff photographer. Her portraits of Cosmopoiltan's editors and editorial assistants were put on permanent display in the magazine's lobby. Moving on to pursue fashion, advertising, portrait, and fine art photography she lived and worked between New York City and Santa Fe. Her first one person exhibition was in 1984 at Jean Cocteau Cinema Gallery in Santa Fe, and she was represented by Neo Persona Gallery in Tribeca.
In 1991 Julia began working with sculptor and painter Thomas Coffin in New York City, designing and making gilded cast stone, ceramic, and wood objects and art furniture. Their first collections were launched by Henri Bendel on Fifth Avenue and Archetype Gallery in Soho. The artists were married in 1992 and went on to be represented by Tesoro Gallery in Los Angeles, Motif Gallery in Chicago, Virtu Gallery in Dallas, Luna Felix in Santa Fe, Ferrra's in Phoenix, Arlene Bujese Gallery in East Hampton, and galleries in Asheville and Vancouver, British Columbia. Coffin & King were commissioned to create exclusive designs for Henri Bendel, I. Magnin, Fellisimo, and Japanese department store Takashimaya. Their works were featured editorially in House Beautiful, Town & County, Harper's Bazaar, The New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine, Chicago Magazine, Dallas Magazine, and Western Living Magazine in British Columbia.
In 1999 they remodeled a mid-century home in Scottsdale, Arizona, as a showcase for their works, and built Coffin & King Studio on the property. Julia began working on abstract paintings in mixed media and oil on panel. She has recently returned to her roots in a new photo-based 3-d mixed media series inspired by the surrealist imagery of black and white avant-garde films from the early to mid-20th century. Creating her own narrative and imagery she is attempting to capture a moment in time like a single frame from a film scene. In another series she is reinterpreting and incorporating her late nature photographer father's images into three-dimensional works. Infusing bits and pieces of nature and wildlife into layers of color and mixed media materials.