#44: Katie Hoffman
A member of both CORE New Art Space and Zip 37 Gallery (for the time being), Denver painter Katie Hoffman is a familiar face on the co-op scene in two arts districts, beloved for her works exploring the subjective and the otherworldly in swatches of pastel and jewel colors. People fall in love with her beautiful and dark, mythologically powered paintings; in a town with a vast range of styles, hers is truly unique.
What inspires Hoffman in the studio and in the world? Continue reading for her answers -- all as unique as her fairy-tale imagery -- to our 100CC questionnaire.
Westword: If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?
Katie Hoffman: If time travel was an option, I wouldn't want to confine it to one artist. I'd hop in the TARDIS and gather Van Gogh, Goya, William Blake, Henry Darger and Francis Bacon. We could all paint together in a modern and fully equipped studio/asylum, and it would be interesting to see what the earlier painters made of the new technologies available to them. Darger wouldn't have to spend his whole paycheck on resizing photocopies anymore. Could be great fun. But Bacon might get so catty that it could also end in tears. Or a bloodbath.
Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
I'm intrigued by almost anything Miranda July does. I think her work approaches the world with love, expansiveness and curiosity. Even when it fails, it's good. I'm currently following her "We Think Alone" project, where I get to read other people's e-mails on particular topics. Little surprises everywhere and the satifying sense of snooping on strangers.
I'm also fascinated by English artist Keaton Henson, because he uses his heartbreak and neuroses as a wellspring for beautiful songs and because he answered his last couple of interviews entirely in drawings rather than words. I wish I'd thought of that.
What's one art trend you want to see die this year?
I don't really know what the trends are, as I don't pay much attention to fashions. There are a couple of things I find annoying, though, and I wrote a long crotchety Andy Rooney-esque paragraph about it here and then deleted it. It wouldn't change anything and might hurt people's feelings or just make them annoyed. Nobody gives a rat's ass what I think about watermarks or giclees, nor should they.
What's your day job?
My day job is making art and dealing with the side of all of that which allows me to keep making art. But in truth, my painting energy picks up as the day dies down and it turns into night.
A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?
First I'd wonder if it was a Nigerian scam. Next I might have nightmares about Miss Havisham. Then I would like to buy a building and call it The Other Side Arts and hope that by some magic TOSA would really be back. I think its absence leaves a huge hole in the Denver art community. It seemed a place where all were welcome. My daughter and her JCOS classmates benefited enormously from Dylan Scholinski's open studios there, and they had such wonderfully bizarre open entry shows like The Potato Show. Remember The Potato Show? I never knew what I may see next at TOSA, but I knew that commercial viability would not be the defining factor.
On the selfish side, I'd take a room in that same building which I somehow miraculously bought, to be my own studio. Large, light and airy with few or no spiders. With a big sink. I've always wanted a sink. And my own printing press so I could make monotypes at 2 a.m. Plus a pony. I've always wanted a pony.
What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?
Buy original art. There are works so ridiculously affordable you can get them more cheaply than the mass-produced framed posters at the big-box stores. There is art to fit every taste and every budget in this city. And I know most of you have huge expanses of wall to fill. When I try to buy a new appliance or a piece of furniture, it's a project to get into it this old house. We have to remove mouldings and stairs. I figure they are making this stuff for your house, which is huge. Buy some art for your huge house.
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
I have so many favorites, some of whom have already been featured on 100CC. It makes me grateful to live here. This community is full of talent and goodwill. So many names come to mind, but If I had to choose one, it would be Alicia Bailey. Both for her own thoughtful and beautiful work -- it shimmers with quiet mystery -- and for the wonder of the exhibition space she created, Abecedarian Gallery. Every show I have seen there has been full of compelling work and exquisitely put together. It makes me wonder why I don't stop in more frequently.
What's on your agenda for the rest of 2013 and beyond?
I'm opening a show on September 20 with Christopher Fox at Zip 37 Gallery. I'm really excited for people to see Christopher's new work. He took a little hiatus from painting last year, but broke through that with a stunning new body of work just for this show, created while recovering from back surgery. The guy amazes me. Sadly, this will be my last show at Zip as I'm moving on at the end of October. I'm going to miss it.
I'll have a piece in Muses of Mount Helikon, the inaugural show at the brand- new Helikon Gallery & Studios in RiNo.
I'll continue to paint and have Fresh Art Studio #F in the Santa Fe arts district open to the public on most First and Third Friday evenings, along with my talented and charming studio-mate Kelly Payton, whose presence always cheers me up.
This fall I'd really like to get back into the printmaking studio at the Art Students League of Denver and make some more monotypes. It's a much different process than painting for me -- fast, fresh and high energy. I can finish something in hours rather than days or weeks. It takes me back to my drawing roots, too, and that always feels good.
Who do you think will get noticed in Denver's arts community this year?
I have no idea, but I can tell you who I wish would get more recognition:
Joe Higgins, the artist who taught me how to make monotypes, is doing remarkable work. Monotypes that reference the landscape with economy of form and an emotional resonance that make me think of haiku. While not without recognition at present, I believe his is a voice that deserves to be heard on a much broader plain. I hope he breaks out big this year.
Rolf Helland, who makes black-and-white drawings on stretched and gessoed canvas plus colorful paintings of natural disasters and tragedies that are eerily beautiful. If I could wish your mystery patron from question #5 on anyone, it would be Rolf so he could create art as his day job, do some self-promotion, and maybe even get a computer.
There are a couple of artists who regularly submit pieces to CORE New Art Space's juried exhibits that I am always excited to see walk in the door and look forward to seeing what they'll come up with next: Mary D. Ryan and Mona Crowe. Each seems to have developed a very personal art-making language, and I'd love it if either or both of these artists gets a solo show this year so I could be surrounded by a roomful of their strange and wonderful work. Visit Katie Hoffman online for more information. Throughout the year, we'll be shining the spotlight on 100 superstars from Denver's rich creative community. Stay tuned to Show and Tell for more, or visit the 100 Colorado Creatives archive to catch up.
Do you have a suggestion for a future profile? Feel free to leave your picks in the comments.
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