Artist Katie Hoffmeier uses a fascinating creative process to produce vividly colorful, contemporary abstracts. Visit her website to see more of her art.
Most days, I don’t know what I’m doing; a result of my brain’s constant struggle to balance intuition and logic.
Some artists seek to exhibit, but I seek to explore. Instead of presenting the results, I want to ask the questions and let the viewer decide the answer for themselves. Each question comes as a result of my logical brain trying to interfere in my intuitive creative process. “How can I do this? What happens when I mix these? How will my audience feel about this?” Multiple questions asked simultaneously—a beautifully maddening cacophony. I’ve often likened it to having several apps open on your phone at once. Sometimes, it helps to minimize or close them altogether.
I put a lot of thought into my art, like working a jigsaw puzzle or solving a maze from the end. I start with a rough composition, choosing which shapes I want to use and how I want to layer them. Then I map out the best order in which to mask them off.
Technical, right? Yes, but intuitive work is equally important in my art. For my new series, String Theory, the backgrounds are entirely spontaneous. Each is painted with reckless abandon.
The layering, glazing, color selection and negative space play is all based on gut-instinct! There is a ton of brain work during the initial stages, but it’s mostly intuition towards the end. I strive for balance in the work that reflects my own balance. In that way, my paintings are self-portraits.
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Here’s how I do it. I create line drawings that I want to layer over a prepared background. Then I try them on for size, turning and editing the mockup until it feels right.
The blank canvas has never made me nervous. But covering up something beautiful, hoping to take it to the next level gives me pause. Imagine creating a vibrant, color-filled, texture-infused background—got it? Now, grab a paintbrush full of black paint and paint over most of it. It’s terrifying! Creating digital mockups gives me the confidence that my next move is the right one.
Some artists are opposed to technology and may consider it cheating. I did too, for a while. Being open-minded to new ideas and methods allows me to keep growing. Now, technology is an extension of my brain the same way a paintbrush is an extension of my arm.
I never want to get comfortable in my studio. I believe in constant exploration, discovery and self-imposed challenges. But I don’t believe in limits or impossibilities; it is a matter of determination and willingness to fail. I invite failure into my studio daily. Every failure has a success tailing not far behind.
It took me a long time to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, but having a process in place and knowing that I thought about every angle allows to make peace with the pieces. Now it’s less about the end result and more about the journey itself.
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