O'Rafferty High Senior Class of 1965
Michael Magnotta

(Updated May 21, 2015)

I retired from the Federal Courts in 2007, and began making metal sculpture shortly thereafter. I show in galleries and exhibitions throughout the state, currently in St. Joseph and Hastings, as well as Charlevoix. (see examples below)

My wife, Joan, and I have four wonderful grandchildren. We also realized a full circle this Spring when we bought a duplex in San Diego to spend the winters and entertain family.

I hope all of my classmates are happy and healthy, and wish them all the best!

Silver Moon


Rodney's Bass 

Sea Spray


Space Time


Sun Dancer

Chinese Guitar

Artist's Statement

My journey in the arts began some 30 years ago in photography - B&W, Kodachrome, 35 mm, 3x5 format, SX 70, etc. I loved the medium but wanted more texture, size, and input. Architectural studies in the New School of San Diego broadened my artistic horizons - materials, space, shape, form, design, construction. The imaginative use of these constructs, as exemplified by architects I admired, inspired me. The Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi, beauty in the imperfect, the worn, informed me. In what felt like a natural progression, an outgrowth of interests and skills, I began welding in 2008. Long infatuated by this process, the first glimpse through the lens of a welder’s helmet of metal fusing together brought a thrill unsurpassed.

My sculptures begin with a visit to the metal yard. From rusting piles of industrial detritus I carefully cull the shapes and forms which speak to me, giving those chosen a respite in my studio, where, slowly, those shapes are reborn, bringing new life to old iron.

Previous Info:

Greetings to all…and kudos to GK on the development of this site!

After working for the State of Michigan for fifteen years (Ingham County Probation), I relocated in 1987 with my new wife, Joan, to beautiful San Diego. We had vacationed there and fell in love with southern Cal. Segued to the Federal Courts working in the Southern District of California, where much of our work concerned aliens and drugs. Became a supervisor in the office, rehabbed a few homes, did some voice over work, and studied architecture at the New School there for two years. Loved the California lifestyle and the multiculturalism of the area. Alas, aging parents and a young daughter brought us back to Michigan in 2002. I transferred to the Grand Rapids federal court office, then to Lansing, from where I retired in 2007. Joan worked as a Reading Recovery teacher in San Diego and then the Waverly School District, retiring in 2008.

My eldest daughter, Alisa Galazzi, lives in Orleans on Cape Cod, is the Executive Director of the Cape Cod Alzheimers Association, and the mother of three beautiful daughters, Francesca, Michela, and Eliana. We visit regularly. Her sister, Anna, lives in Grants Pass, Oregon, graduated from college two years ago and just completed an internship with the Ashland City Attorneys Office. She will be joining her husband in Germany in September for a year where he is temporarily working. We plan to visit. My youngest, Andrea (21), is slowly amassing credits at LCC, intent on transferring to a university. Needless to say, I am very proud of each of them and am so thankful for their good health and fortune. I would be remiss if I didn't also mention our two cats, 18 and 14, and our beagle, Slick.

Loving retirement and have been pursuing metal sculpture…check out my web site: web.me.com/magnottametalart. Joan and I live in a beautiful mid-century modern home in East Lansing, which I completely restored. We have a "modular" home in Venice, Florida, where we wintered the last couple years. It is for sale as we want to head West again to our friends in San Diego, at least for the winters. Between yard work, tennis, working out at the MAC, metal work, travel, volunteering at the Red Cross, caring for pets, having fun with my wife and daughters and granddaughters… life is good.