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Interview with Philipp Hofmann

November 30, 2011

Q: What is your inspiration?

A: My inspiration is to capture the feeling of our times in photography-based art and to conserve it in a contemporary medium that anyone can relate to. Transporting these individual and momentary impressions into public and private space to spark broader dialogue around the subject is my ambition.

The etymological root of “photography” means drawing with light, derived from the Greek words “phos” (meaning “light”) and “graphos” (meaning “drawing” or “writing”). The atmosphere of a space often changes over the course of a day and even more over time. When I take a picture, I look for the perfect light that shapes the scene and its setting, if only for a moment in time.

Q: What artists or movements do you see your work as being related to?

A: I see relations of my work to the school of Photorealism and different schools of photography, as well as mixed media contemporary art. My works can be best described as synthesis between digital photography and oil painting, which is why reason why I gave it the category name “Digitaloil.”

Q: Could you please describe your technique and process?

A: A photograph of a chosen and targeted motif or scene is digitally taken. The digital image is then post-produced. Various approaches are used including filters and different software to obtain the desired intensity of color, sharpness, depth, and sometimes blurriness. The finished images are then printed on a range of different media: archival ink print on canvas for the more painterly look and feel, metallic photo paper mounted to aluminum or translucent photo film in light boxes to arrive at a more universal, modern look and effect. In rare cases, the images serve as motifs for oil or acrylic paintings on canvas.

Q: How did you first get involved with art?

A: My parents, who collect art, exposed me from a very early age to both classic and contemporary art. As a teenager I was lucky to meet legendary artists like Christo and Helmut Newton. This left a lasting impression and interest with me. At age thirteen I started teaching myself photography after my mother had passed me down a SLR camera. The catalyst to start creating art, about eleven years ago, was the need for a birthday gift for a wealthy relative. I wanted the gift to be something unique that money could not buy…something I created.

Q: Do you have any formal training?

A: No, I am an autodidact. Since the beginning, passion has been my best teacher.

Q: Who are your favorite artists?

A: Helmut Newton, Slim Aarons, Christo, Peter Beard, Kate Waters, Edward Hopper, and Adolph von Menzel.

Q: How has your body of work developed over the course of your career?

A: While my body of work in the first years was mainly focused on social and lifestyle themes – driven by my own whereabouts – with heavy post-production of the images towards an oil and painterly look, I have since diversified my focus to architecture, cityscapes and landscapes which I finish more like classical photography.