The exhibition SEVEN: A Peformative Drawing Project at the Montserrat Gallery was a perfect opportunity for illustrator Mark Hoffmann to spread his creative wings even further. Mark, along with six other artists, put their creative process on display by executing a large mural on one of the gallery's walls in an open studio environment. The mural itself was meant to be the "residue of an artistic performance." We found both the process and the final product pretty spectacular.
Mark Hoffmann's 'Men of Mountains' Mural
Close up of Mark Hoffmann's lettering
We chatted with Mark Hoffmann after the show...
i2i Art: How were you approached with this project?
Mark: Leonie Bradbury (the gallery director at Montserrat College of Art, where I teach) contacted me in the fall to see if I had any interest. They usually try to get one faculty member involved and thought I would be a good fit with the other artists.
i2i Art: Was this your first mural?
Mark: Yes, and it was quite overwhelming.
i2i Art: Tell us about the piece. What was your inspiration?
Mark: I really wanted to paint a giant horse and started to research. Somehow I ended up reading about the early exploration of what would later become the first national park of the U.S., Yellowstone. In my research I found the story of the Cook, Folsom, Peterson expedition to explore and survey the land. I thought this might make a fun image with them, a horse, and geysers. I also had a previous color palette worked out that I wanted to apply to the piece.
i2i Art: What was it like working on that scale?
Mark: Difficult. It's hard to get a sense of the scale until it is right in front of you. I found that I had to stand back and look at it a lot, otherwise I wouldn't take the scale into full consideration.
i2i Art: The gallery was open while you were working on the piece, tell us about the atmosphere.
Mark: As I was working, quite a few folks stopped in to look, but very few chatted with me. They later told me they were afraid to interrupt. I must look deep in thought when I paint. It was nice to have the freedom to paint and explore at that scale and really knock people over with an image.
i2i Art: Do you have any tips, tricks or lessons learned you want to share?
Mark: I realized that some of the techniques I planned to use are hard on that scale and surface. Use a paint with primer in it (I used house paints) so you don't have to apply it twice to get good coverage. Bring plenty of Aleve and Tylenol, the work can be a little back breaking.
Hyperlapse: Watch Mark Hoffmann's mural come to life
On view through March 28, 2015 at the Montserrat Gallery.
Mark Hoffmann offers a playfulness to his americana, folk art style. View Mark's entire portfolio.