Joseph Perrin was born on December 6, 1923, in Tucker (DeKalb County). After serving in World War II (1941-45), Perrin studied at the Ringling School of Art and the High Museum School of Art before earning a degree in fine arts from the University of Georgia in Athens. Perrin later received a grant from the Danforth Foundation, which allowed him to complete his postgraduate education in drawing, painting, and sculpture at the University of California in Los Angeles.
Perrin began teaching in 1950 as a professor of art at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. In 1953 he took an important career step by moving to Atlanta, where he established the School of Art and Design at Georgia State University. For the next thirty years, under Perrin’s leadership, the School of Art and Design flourished and grew from serving forty students into a prestigious program of thousands.
Perrin also served as president of the Atlanta Arts Festival and chair of the MARTA Arts Council. He helped plan Underground Atlanta and designed the West Lake MARTA Station. Perrin’s paintings are included in the permanent collections of the Carter Center and High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Coca-Cola Company, and the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens. He died in 2014 at the age of ninety.
Perrin’s works Chroma (1974), Chroma #160 (1989), and Space Station III (1989) are part of Georgia’s State Art Collection.