Larry Corey, 45, artisan who created unique works from discarded metals

December 03, 1997|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,SUN STAFF

To Larry Corey, no piece of metal should have been scrapped. Every hubcap, every cigar tin, every discarded LTC appliance shell had its place -- and often found its way into his sculptures and wall hangings.

Mr. Corey, 45, who died Sunday of a heart attack at his Maryland Line home in northern Baltimore County, collected old, unwanted metals to mold and weld to create his unique style of art.

"They're [sculptures] just something that came to his head," said his wife, the former Connie Sheaffer, whom he married in 1975. "I just heard him out on the patio working on one, one day. They're really quite unique."

His creations ranged from 1 foot to more than 3 feet high and had a different appeal to each who saw it, friends and relatives said. One of his favorites was a sculpture called Gulag -- a Russian acronym that means prison -- and is made of ceramic tiles and several metals, including a Prince Albert cigar tin.

Although he had requests to sell his works, he either kept most or gave them as gifts to friends.

Mr. Corey, who owned a graphics design business in Baltimore County, was also accomplished in realistic and abstract painting and photography.

But he seemed to most enjoy making metal sculptures. One of his favorite places to find materials for his work was at the dump, where he'd locate some "good finds," his wife said.

"His style was with bent, rusted metal that he pulled together in a way that was beautiful," said Kathy Metcalf, a friend. "He was a guy who was macho on the outside but soft on the inside. His work was not inspired by others."

Bob Cooke, a longtime friend, called Mr. Corey a "true artist" who used often unorthodox methods to achieve "one-of-a-kind" results.

"He was very creative in every aspect," Mr. Cooke said. "He took ordinary things that he'd find and pull them all together."

One of his techniques to obtain a worn and weathered appeal in metals was to leave them in the rain, friends and relatives said. "He wanted them to look rusty. They were rusty after they were left outside," his wife said.

A native of Philadelphia, Mr. Corey studied art at Millersville State College in Millersville, Pa., and worked as an art director for advertising agencies in the Philadelphia area before he moved to Monkton in Baltimore County in 1986. He moved to Maryland Line, a small community near the Pennsylvania line, in 1992.

He worked as an art director for several local ad agencies before he started Corey Advertising Design in 1993. His one-man graphics design business worked with companies to produce brochures and print and electronic advertising.

A memorial service is scheduled for 10: 30 a.m. today at Mission Helpers of the Sacred Heart Convent, 1001 W. Joppa Road in Towson.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Ian Corey of Maryland Line; a daughter, Sara Corey of Maryland Line; his mother, Helen Winter of Lansdowne, Pa.; a brother, Bruce Corey of Lansdowne; and a sister, Barbara Blake of Lansdowne.

Pub Date: 12/03/97

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