October 3rd, 2019
Artist and designer Brian J Hoffman creates thought provoking pieces. Touching on the current social climate of the world using in your face imagery. The use of colours and pop culture characters makes the work hard hitting. Some pieces hit you instantly and other have a nice subtle meaning that really makes the viewer think. His bold line work and use of red catches your attention and pulls you in. Also mixing into his work is a strong propaganda vibe that plays well with his subject matter again emphasizing today social climate.
Where are you from?
I live and work in Boston, MA.
How did you get interested in art?
My parents signed me up for art classes at the Worcester Art Museum when I was young. Just seeing their collection, and learning about the artists and their techniques, stuck with me since. I've always enjoyed drawing and painting as far as I can remember, so my parents supported me with it.
How would you describe your style?
I've had some refer to it as Trash Polka. Most likely due to the subject matter and the black and red palette I commonly use. I'm not so sure though. I just choose a style that fits what I am envisioning in my head. Sometimes it's printmaking and sometimes it's digital collage.
What inspires your work?
It's easy to see the vintage propaganda poster work in what I do. I am drawn to the visceral boldness of black and red and graphic elements. A big inspiration also comes from retro art as far as the styles used, and messaging in all those old magazines, books, etc. Primarily, inspiration is drawn from the surrounding world mixed with much of my childhood memories and feelings. I'm also very reactive in my concepts pertaining to daily events and things that I need to get out of my head quickly.
What do you want people to experience when they see your work?
I always say the work is slightly subversive with a wink of humor or sometimes a hard truth. At least my truth. I'd like people to lose themselves in the concept and also the execution and details. I try to evoke a certain lightness at times, but always strive to have the work appear visually impactful, appealing, and polished.
What is your process for a piece from start to finish? How long does it take from idea to print on your site?
It's a very random process. It culminates with fragments of random thoughts, wordplay, and an ongoing library of reference in my head, on the Mac and on my phone. Almost as a sketchbook or journal of ideas work. For a printmaking style, I start black and white, then play with various textures which I build upon over and over. Usually the color red is an accent depending on the subject matter. I also like to throw in spray paint and distressed textures when needed.
Essentially, it's one big underpainting until things come together and details are added. For the digital collage style, it's a mix of random images and whatever I feel fits the piece. Lots of it is happenstance, but somehow magically makes sense in the end. I try to to think about it too much. I just let the brain take over and get in the zone. I bang most of the work out relatively fast, usually in a matter of days, but certain ones take more time until I get it right in my head.
If you had a time machine where would you go and why?
Tough question. From am artistic perspective, I'd say the 1950s because art was blowing up into the mainstream culture with the Abstract Expressionists all the way up to Pop Art in the 1960s. It seemed much easier to stand out and have a unique voice as a musician or an artist back then. The slate was clean to try anything and people seemed open to embracing new ideas, sounds and ways of looking at the world. I say this because everything is completely oversaturated in today's world and all efforts sometime feel like a flash in the pan without any longevity. You see or hear something, then you are distracted to the next thing a second or so later.
What does your work say about you?
I guess you can say I'm slightly cynical but have a great sense of humor. At least I think I do. I also like to evoke truth and genuiness in the work I do and my daily interactions with the world. Overall, I enjoy having fun, reliving familiar experiences, and spending time with my family.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
When you sleep what kind of dreams do you have?
I honestly don't remember my dreams anymore. It's been a long time since.
Is there a organization or group that you would absolutely love to create an illustration for or graphic?
I'm not sure. I purposely rarely take on commissions because I do Design as my day job. I like to create my personal art on my terms. But, I'm always open to new opportunities if they make sense for me.
Is social media a blessing or a curse for artists?
I have this conversation an awful lot. It's a double-edged sword and all comes down to how you embrace it. For me, the blessing is being able to reach and share to an audience consisting of the entire world and truly finding your niche. I also think it can be a very positive and inspiring thing. I spend so much time looking at artists and sharing their work. I've also met so many great people through social media and opened many doors for myself. Something I couldn't do without it. The curse? The curse for me is the constant negativity, never-ending political battles, and superficial shit that floods my feeds. That's why I don't spend much time on Facebook anymore. I started Instagram to see art all day long and lose my distractions to everything else that keeps me from creating it.
What pop-culture icon is your favourite to work on?
I can't choose just one because I enjoy using them all.
What's the best thing someone has said about your work that stuck with you? negative or positive.
I wish I could remember. Lol. Overall, people mentioned they enjoy the wit, attention to detail, truthfulness, aesthetics, execution, etc. Some get hung up on the political side of it (probably all my stupendous Trump pieces). So far, it's been overwhelmingly positive with lots of support from followers, galleries, collectors and the like.
Do you prefer Oreo or Fudgee-O cookies?