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american sculptor Elizabeth Featherstone Hoff

::: bio/statement
::: contemporary sculpture
::: artist interview


"If you want to have a long career then you must first and foremost love process. All else should pale in front of the love of what you are doing as you make your work."
Elizabeth Featherstone Hoff


Figurative American Sculptor Interview with a Sculptor


Elizabeth Featherstone Hoff


Elizabeth Featherstone Hoff Sculptor Interview - August 2007



+1 ::: Why are you an artist Elizabeth, and when did you first become one?

I think artists are born and not made. How much ability they have, and what they are able to do with it varies depending on the rest of the personality and probably the early circumstances of their lives. Some with very little ability are able to forge huge ,successful careers, while others with tremendous ability can not move ahead at all.
Thus it is that I have always been an artist . There were two seminal experiences in my early life that formalized this for me. When I was five years old, I had a little friend who lived down the street from me. Her mother was a professional pianist and teacher. There was a huge grand piano in their living room, and I vividly remember lying on my back underneath the piano and staring up at what I now know to have been a reproduction of Gauguin's painting FATATA TE MITI. His was the first invitation into the world I now inhabit. The second event took place several years later when I was looking through one of the many art reproduction books of my parents. I came across the painting by Siqueiros "Echo of a Scream" and was , as a child, terrified at the truth in it and pierced with the determination to try always to convey that truth.

+2 ::: Could you tell us some more about your sculpture?

In textbook terms, my work would best be described as contemporary expressionism, which loosely means artists who communicate personal vision by distorting color, shape, surface, or space in their work. It has been said of my work that it is the "inside out , rather than the outside in". The sculpture is almost always mixed media except for the "small works". The subject matter varies widely, although most of it addresses the human condition in one form or another.

+3 ::: My mother used to ask me Why the figures in my work are never smiling. How would you answer that question?

Hmmm, I hadn't really thought about it. I guess the most truthful answer would be that, although I have made some work that incorporates a smile, there is no particular reason one way or another. Unless I am making a "social statement" piece, I don't plan ahead much when I work. I just sort of follow where my materials lead me and try to understand what I have made after it is finished. And, I would have to say that a piece with a smile is a rarity for me. It has to do, I think, with a certain kind of tension. There are many wonderful classical examples of formal tension and a smile, such as Houdon's bust of Voltaire, but, that is obviously not the kind of tension in a piece that interests me a great deal.

+4 ::: What famous artists have influenced you, and how?

Sculpture: Hans Bellmer, Rodin, Juan Munoz, Germaine Richier, I love how each artist approached their work both technically and artistically. Studying them is a constant source of inspiration and knowledge for me.
Painting: Matisse, Gauguin, Picasso, Rothko, Matisse and Gauguin for color and line, Picasso for line and Rothko for color.

+5 ::: What other interests do you have outside of creating art?

I read voraciously, I love music of all kinds, watching films, and I love creating gardens.

+6 ::: What inspires you to create art and how do you keep motivated when things get tough in the studio?

Inspiration for me can come from innumerable sources. I.e.: Artists whose work I love, artists whose work I have just been exposed to, books, music, film, situations in the world.
When things " get tough in the studio"? I usually move to another medium when I hit the wall in the one I am working in at the moment. That almost always works for me.

+7 ::: How have you handled the business side of being an artist?

I made a decision early on to be scrupulously honest and always to keep the commitments I make, even those I might seriously regret. I also learned, early on, that not everyone else does the same. So, now, I just wait and see, and I don't get too excited until the talked about reality is concrete.

+8 ::: How would your life change if you were no longer allowed to create art?

I would be dead or in a catatonic state.

+9 ::: What's the best and worst parts of being a full time, working artist?

The very best is when you are "in the zone" and everything is working, the worst is that time is always and inevitably the enemy.

+10 ::: What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?

If you want to have a long career then you must first and foremost love process. All else should pale in front of the love of what you are doing as you make your work. That will sustain you over many an arid time vis a vis galleries, sales, and shows. Also, keep your eyes open for new products and techniques and always, always be looking at everything!



More artist information can be found at the website of the artist.. Elizabeth Featherstone Hoff
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