Maker Stories

Listen Up: A Chat with Spring Hofeldt

November 8, 2017

Back in 2015, we first spoke with artist Spring Hofeldt, who then remarked that she hoped her paintings would make others “chuckle, giggle, snort, laugh out loud, or smile on the inside.” Two years and one full collection later, the chortles keep on coming. This time, Spring is back with a series of suitably playful (and ever-so-slightly surreal) works riffing on four familiar phrases: “Listen Up,” “Take Your Time,” “Stay Sharp,” and “Remember Your Strengths,” each shown clockwise from top left below.

To honor the induction of this new group of works into our assortment here at UncommonGoods, we spoke with Spring a second time—about what inspires her, how she creates, and what she finds most rewarding about her career. Read on for more, complete with gorgeous views of the interior of her Brooklyn studio.

What inspired you to create this new series of works?

The small people [read: kids] of my home are constantly stuffing tiny objects in any vessel they find. I found the green enamel teapot with a toy sticking out of it on my dining room table, just a morsel of the object was peeping out the top, encouraging me to investigate… who/what could live in that small space? How large is the space below the surface? What does this odd pairing mean and how is it funny? Brainstorming ensued…

Here at UG, we know you as a painter. Do you ever work in other media?

Growing up with a mother as a quilter/sewer by trade I’m naturally drawn to work with textiles. I always have approx. 42 such projects in the works at home… misfit stuffed toys, overachieving costumes, upholstery material creations, etc. I’m always racking my brain for ways to marry my work and painting aesthetic to the growing stack of fibers. Currently I’m collaborating with an old friend who specializes in fashion embellishments. This new/additional creative direction to play and combine mediums, breaking outside my comfort zone, is very invigorating.

Your work often features familiar subjects—plants, animals, household items. How do you decide what to paint?

The subjects I find usually already have a great character, contour, or story behind them. Then I consider how to shape them into a concept or metaphor.

Describe your process for us a little. How do you get from an idea to a finished piece?

I set up the camera and tripod, some lighting if need be, and usually spend about one to three hours playing with my new finds. I start out with a solo portrait of one item from many different angles and backdrops, then juxtapose this with other quirky pieces that I think may play well. The objects are brought to life and conversations spark between the two or more objects. Photo shoots often end with an entirely different and/or additional concepts than what I had intended. From there I crop & tweak the images in Photoshop if need be and then print for reference. Finally, I crack open the paint tubes, bringing it to life with a brush on board, using very thin layers of acrylic.

What’s been the most rewarding thing about pursuing your career as a professional artist?

Exercising my strengths and imagination on a regular basis, and then in turn sharing it with others, hopefully bringing an added sense of lightness to their day.

See more of Spring’s playful paintings here »

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