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Talk of the Town - Nightshift August 31 2005

Decatur artist Marirosa Hofmann works under the cover of night

"Red and gold are my favorite colors," says Marirosa Hofmann as she glances through the collection of canvases in her Decatur home, a weave of warm-colored decor and antique furnishing.

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Although young, this artist has developed not only her signature style — characterized by multiple layers of collage and painting — but also a savvy business strategy that has elevated her well above the common stereotype of a starving artist. Hofmann diversified her work for audiences ranging from wholesale art dealers to commercial retailers.

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To Atlantans she is known through local art shows and exhibits via restaurants such as Puda Vida on North Highland Avenue and the Cavern in Virginia-Highland. Hofmann took a further step in establishing her identity among Atlanta art connoisseurs by offering private commission work.

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Friends call her the "Vampire Artist," as Hofmann often works through the night until a skylight in her studio signals it is time to go to sleep. The hazy mist of the evening hours is reflected in her paintings: A series featuring bright leaves is subdued with a collage of overlapping dark tones, and nudes are wrapped in earthy colors and illuminated by candlelight, some adorned with angel wings.

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Creative Loafing: How would you describe the process of creating one of your paintings?

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Hofmann: Usually I put down the background and have no idea what I am painting. I first might clean off paintbrushes on the canvas. Then I might apply some paint on the canvas and then wipe it. Add some texture to it. I just keep adding to it and moving the canvas around until I see a figure or a face in it, and then I pull that figure or the face out.

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You do giclees for publishers. How does that work?

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I just did some tulips for the furniture company Storehouse. They liked some of my flower pieces but they wanted tulips because tulips are the big thing right now. So I designed that for them. If they like them, they will buy an entire edition.

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You mentioned one of your portraits was done as a commission job. Tell me how that works.

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People either come to my studio or look at my art and tell me things about the paintings that they liked, like the collage of papers. Then they'd give me color swatches from their house and I'd tack those behind my easel to work with. I don't promise that I will use them all, but they are there to see if they fit. For me it's fun doing commission.

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Any interesting anecdotes about you developing your style?

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I was in Catholic school for a few years, ninth and 10th grade. The art teacher there didn't like me because I always liked to paint nudes and she'd give me a litany about the fig leaves and all that. So I call it an escape from the Catholic school to go to art school.

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What is one of the hardest challenges of being an artist?

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One thing art schools don't teach is how to make a living as an artist.

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[mailto:cityhomes@creativeloafing.com]



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