I am thrilled to announce my exclusive interview with incredible German based artist Cathrin Hoffmann! @cathrin.hoffmann
Her work has some of the strongest presence I have ever experienced.
We discuss learning to sculpt, solo exhibitions, podcasts, studio spaces and more.
“Figurative, Obsessive, Sensual”
Her high contrast works address human beings. What is is to be, society, humanity and behaviour. Her works are a visual narration, exploring inherent human mortal existence that every individual goes through.
“Right now my necessities for that are my drawing tablet and my computer in the first place and then my primary oil colors: Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Red, Burnt Umber, Ultramarine Blue and Titanium White. I mix almost everything out of those.”
I am very excited that Hoffmann has an incredible solo show coming up on the 14th October with a She Curates FAVOURITE supporter: Public Gallery! @public__gallery
Tell me about your artist story. How were you trained? Tell me about your journey to where you are now?
I am a self taught painter. Actually, I studied graphic design because I thought it was more reasonable. After working for 10 years as an Art Director I couldn’t go on and went traveling for 8 months and during this trip I eventually began doing art. Back home I quit my old job and started from zero. I experimented a lot and learned some crafting skills from YouTube videos.
What would be your dream project?
Right now I would love to learn sculpting. A dream project would be to create with a team a giant sculpture made of marble, steel or bronze, which would stand in public space
What is your studio like?
I start making ideas outside. Everywhere else but the studio. Absorbing as much as possible and making rough sketches. Then I take my sketches and refine them digitally with my drawing tablet on my computer and compose the painting. And eventually I reproduce the digital painting in oil on canvas. Right now my necessities for that are my drawing tablet and my computer in the first place and then my primary oil colors: Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Red, Burnt Umber, Ultramarine Blue and Titanium White. I mix almost everything out of those.
What do you listen to while you work?
I love listening to Podcast like „The Great Women Artists“ by Katy Hessel or „Talk Art“ by Russell Tovey and Robert Diament. Or simply music. My new discoveries on Spotify are Drab City, Wargirl and Sofia Portanet.
What does an average working day look like to you?
I try to be in the studio around 9 and 10 am. With a big pot of coffee I first do paper work and then I start to paint. Usually till 8/9 pm or longer.
Who or what are your biggest influences, and how do you find them? How do these come out in your work?
Artist that immediately pop into my head are Louise Bourgeoise, Egon Schiele and Francis Bacon.
When I saw works by them for the first time, it left an enormous impression on me, which I could not even classify at that time. It took years until my head also understood what I wanted. When I paint, I try to leave the same emotional traces that I get when I stand in front of one of their works.
" Figurative, Obsessive, Sensual "
Quick one, what 3 words would you use to describe your artwork?
Figurative, Obsessive, Sensual
What do you want your work to say CATHRIN?
Overall I address us as human beings. What we are and what we want to be. Our society and behavior regarding humanity. The questions we all have: WHY? The ambivalence between that knowledge of finite nature and the ignoring which is essential for our survival, hopelessness and humor. All those essential questions regarded to the current time we are living in right now. How does technology and progress change us in our social behavior? How does it transforms us.
CATHRIN, Tell me about your artistic process?
When painting digitally, I misuse an effect that adds the illusion of a third dimension only by adding light and shadow. This effect would follow every stroke I am doing and would also simulate carvings when I erase parts of the figure. It’s like painting and sculpting digitally at once. The blank photoshop window is my blank canvas. I would go on shaping and drawing as long as it needs until I can visualize the feelings and thoughts which I have in my mind. So I develop a lot of different varieties and only the one that arises an emotion for myself will be chosen and immortalized on canvas. All next steps are classical like an analog oil painter would also proceed.
COLOUR IS WHAT DREW ME FIRST TO STOP SHORT ON INSTAGRAM! SO TELL ME, What role does colour play in your work?
Since I put my focus on the figure, I try to create a high contrast through colour. I want to create depth through darkness and brightness. Rich colours often flatter the eye at first sight. They are attractive and open the picture before you sit down with the content. Colour is the first stimulus on a very emotional level.
CATHRIN, What are you most proud of during your career?
I am proud of myself that I had the balls to make the decision to make art. I also had many supporters like my boyfriend. But at the beginning I also had to endure many doubts from my direct environment. Of course this made me very insecure but fortunately I found my own way at some point. Careers go up and down and that's not what it should be about. I needed an overall purpose and have found it.
I WONDER, Do you ever feel nervous about parting with your work?
I was nervous in the beginning with my very first paintings but I have changed. Now it’s more like saying bye and going on. The only thing is, that I would like to see my paintings one day again in the future. Just one more time after they are gone. Maybe even after decades. I wonder how I would think about them then and what kind of feelings they would arouse.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I don't know. I think about a lot of things, actually. People always want to enjoy the feeling of security that they know or can classify another person. I think what everyone should always realize is that you can never fully know a person. You don't really know anything, and therefore you will always be surprised.
If you could have a meal with any artist from any time, what would the meal be and who would it be with?
I would like to have a mexican dinner party with Frida Kahlo in Mexico City with a lot of Mescal.
What is your greatest indulgence in life other than painting?
Hanging out with others having good food and drinks and music.
Favourite historical female artist?
Favourite current practicing female artists?
Annette Messager, Sara Lucas, Ambera Wellmann, Louise Bonnet, Christina Quarles, Tschabalala Self, Jamian Juliano-Villani, Nicola L, Wangechi Mutu, Tai Shani, Katja Novitskova, Tracey Emin and so many more!