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The Proust Questionnaire : Janice Hofman

Updated: Sep 3, 2021

A candid conversation with artist Janice Hofman about her life and creative process. Janice's art is part of the Maiden, Mother, and Crone exhibition on at Artful : The Gallery through September 18th.

What is your favourite quote?

"We meet no ordinary people in our lives."

C.S. Lewis

image: Janice Hofman 'Postmistress - She Imagined Herself', 2021, Mixed Media on Wood

What is your biggest indulgence as an artist? Supplies…I am an art and craft supply hoarder.

What feels important to you right now as an artist? Using art to express emotion and feeling as a way to heal and improve myself, and hopefully others.

Which artist - past or present - do you most admire? There are too many! Orly Avineri, Jane Monteith, Ana Zanic, and Sue McNenly.

Do you think any aspect of being an artist is romanticized or stereotyped? If so why? Yes, I think the stereo types of artists being "different/strange/special" are not necessarily the case, most artists I know and encounter practice daily, make mistakes, struggle and succeed the same ways that most people do.

Also, the limitation of “I can't draw” that most people place on themselves is heartbreaking. We all create something, and just because you can't draw something to represent a photograph, doesn’t limit you to not being an artist. It takes practice, learning and patience, and there are so many other ways to express your creativity. The expectations (internal and external) that we perceive limit our experiences.

How are you currently approaching your art? Currently - I would honestly have to say scattered - I am in the stages of thinking of a new series or idea, so there is a lot of trial and error…and overthinking!

What do you struggle most with with in creating art? Confidence, as with most things in life, not just art.

What is your greatest fear? There are three - explosions, bridges and being on camera; worst would be all three at once.

What themes or symbols are the most important to you as an artist? Why? Emotion, texture, colour.

What do you most love about your art? Expression, working though things, using it as an outlet for the random things that go through my head all the time.

Which words, colours or themes do you most overuse? Collage, scribbles and blue.

When and where in your life have you been the most content? Thats a tough one - there are few “where and when”

I always feel like I am out of place or mismatched with time and place. I do love New York, especially at night.

When and where have you produced your best artwork? Why do you think that is? I don’t think I have yet, but I am content with a lot of what I produced in 2020. I had the opportunity to slow down and work through something (there's still a long list - hahaha) during the first lockdown and throughout 2020. Image: Janice Hofman, 'She Loved' (detail), 2021, Mixed Media Handbound Book

What sort of art, that you have never created, would you like to try making? Glass blowing, or an interactive installation of some sort.

If you could change one thing about your art, what would it be?

Size, I would like to be more confident to work on larger pieces.

What is your greatest artistic achievement? Why, or why not, is this important to you? I don’t think I have reached “my greatest artist achievement” yet. I would have to say though, that the first time my mother referred to me as an artist, I felt a sense of achievement.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? I dunno, some sort of animated/cartoon creature ;-).

Image: Janice Hofman, "Journal 1 & 2", 2021, Mixed Media Handmade Scroll.

The Proust Questionnaire is a confessional of sorts, popularized by French writer Marcel Proust during the Victorian era. Versions of this questionnaire have been used by interviewers since; notably the back page of Vanity Fair and the Canadian radio program The Last Chapter.

"The private lives of geniuses are not a fault to be tolerated, as the young Proust supposed, but a resource to be extracted and packaged for public consumption." *

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