Dream big and heavy
Hired by the Fulton County Daily Report immediately after high high school, he spent 3 years working as a daily photojournalist. Most of the time taking pictures of lawyers at law firms, but also finding himself on the floor of the Democratic Convention in 1988 and on the scene of a federal prison riot before being of legal drinking age. He moved to New York City after being accepted to the Cooper Union and graduated with a BFA in 1993. His thesis project at Cooper was a huge human powered wing flapping machine shown at Socrates Sculpture Park. This project earned him a 15 month artist-in-residence position at the park and taught him to simplify the mechanics. While there, he built a caretaker’s house in the park and built Finnibar, Allegrow, Belltower and started on Antelumpen.
A brutal winter, the relocation of good friends out west and the logistical/financial impossibility of building large scale sculpture in New York City convinced him to move to San Francisco. In San Francisco he worked in commercial construction honing a broad set of skills as well as building Assagai. Immediately after going to Burning Man in 1996, he quit his job and acted on a chance to build sculpture at an old iron foundry and coke plant turned into a gravel quarry in Birmingham, Alabama.
He set up shop in the former locomotive shed and was soon invited to build a solo show of large works for the Birmingham Museum of Art. The show, Industrial Jungle, featured three large interactive works and caused a stir due to their scale, materials and mostly their hands on, kinetic aspect in a formal museum setting. The museum purchased the largest of the works, Antelumpen, with the help of Dr. Sam Barker.
The continued patronage of the remarkable Sam Barker helped Coffin complete several large commissions before moving back to Atlanta in 2000. In Atlanta he purchased a large warehouse at an artist co-op, the Bcomplex.
From Atlanta he has built multiple public commissions as well as building Rockspinner, Temple of Gravity and Colossus for Burning Man. In 2006, the Coffin’s moved to Zürich for a year to enable his wife’s phd and complete a commission for the Technorama Science Museum in Winterthur, Switzerland.
In 2009 and 2010 he taught a summer sculpture courses at Sabanci University in Istanbul.
In May 2011 he installed Colossus at Bay Area Maker Faire.
Early 2012 he received approval for the build phase of Flock, a private commission in the hills of beautiful Napa Valley, California. This project is projected to be installed around the end of 2012.
Coffin has just been awarded the commission to build a work for the “keyhole” at Burning Man, the work is an exploration of extraordinary radial inertia.
There is also a dream that would be nothing short of magic.
He is married with two children.