NOWADAYS most of our surroundings remains obsessed with tension, and goes on cribbing how the digital Gen-Z constitutes to change our analogue past, this contemporary German artist Julius Hofmann focuses instead on his intuitions. In this interview he talks about the painterly origins & his aesthetics.
WHERE DO YOU COME FROM & HOW DID YOUR PASSION FOR ART WAS BORN?
JH: I grew up In small village in Germany, forrest, metal and 90es video games as escapism, Started drawing very early on as a form of calming distraction. Tried some stuff like graphic design and worked in hospital but couldn't get a grip. Finally found my place while studying painting in Leipzig from 2006-2011. It's indeed a passion for me, seems I am depending on it.
CONSIDERING YOUR WORK IN PAINTINGS CAN YOU ENLIGHTEN US A BIT IN THE MAKING PROCESS AND INSPIRATIONS?
JH: Its a mixture between calculation and intuition, and very important - routine and discipline! Generally it's process oriented. Things come together while working on it. Rarely do I get what's on my mind from the start, so motif and form transform in between,, - that's is what keeps me going, including the struggles, additionally i believe without a playful adventurous approach, the outcome isn't that entertaining.
IS THERE ANY PARTICULAR STORY BEHIND YOUR ‘WOMAN WITH LEMON’, (2021) PAINTING & WHATS THE IDEA BEHIND THAT CREATION?
JH: "Woman with Lemon" is based on the portrait painting of the 17th century. The face plays a subordinate role here and is practically non- existent.What interests me more about this picture is actually making the surfaces and structures have a haptic effect. My wife is very fashion-conscious, I don't really care. Nevertheless, I am fascinated when people think so much about their clothes and style. To me it often seems like the person is putting on armor. The dress in the picture is a mixture of armor and architecture. The chest area looks like it is molded in concrete. And the Fabric is definitely not smoothly flowing, maybe more carved in purple marble.
YOUR WORK REFLECT A BIT OF GROTESQUE & DARK COMPOSITIONS ON YOUR CANVASES. IN WHICH WAY DOES THIS COLOR PALATE DEFINE YOU AS THE DARKER SHADES DOMINATE YOUR WORK. WHERE DOES THIS CREATIVELY OF DARKER ATMOSPHERE COME FROM?
JH: Yes, these are paintings with an imprint of my mood I guess, sometimes don't really know what to think about life, can't find the ignorant but more healthy joy, sometimes it really is a burden, so I come up with these dark and absurd visions. Often I start in a kind of depressed state, force myself to do something. While getting materialised in the brushwork, the negative emotions losing their power, and instead I gain the feeling of control over them, which is quite amusing i find. Also the motif is only a vehicle and can have multiple symbolic meanings. The deeper more intuitive abstract language of of color, brushwork, composition on the other hand, is what I consider the strength of a good (independent of time and context) painting.
CAN YOU TELL ABOUT YOUR ART AESTHETICS WHICH ARE BASED ON VIDEO GAMES AND COMPUTER GRAPHICS THAT HAVE REMARKABLY SHAPED YOUR CANVAS ?
JH: The games l’m enjoyed during my childhood and adolescence where the pioneers of 3d graphics. It where exciting experimental and innovative times. 2 years could change everything, from raycaster with sprites to full polygonal graphics.
Interestingly - the Internet was in its infancy and was very limited, so everything happened on floppy disks or later on CDs, the waiting made it even more exciting. It also helped innovation that the studios where most often isolated and developed their own quirky and genius ideas instead of copying over and over again like in today's interconnectedness.
In hindsight these games where also great because of their creativity in simplicity, - imagination, story and atmosphere plus love for detail where the strengths - which you can't replace with processing power.Fun fact, Some of for me important painting influences pre WW2 like "Neue Sachlichkeit", cubism, figurative constructivism, share many similarities with character modelling of 90es games. Different intention- sure, designers where forced to simplify, - as opposed to the painters, but when you compare it really.
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Images provided by Julius