Interview with Susan Talbot Hoffmann

Interview with Susan Talbot HoffmannImage courtesy of Susan Talbot Hoffmann

Interview with Susan Talbot Hoffman

Luca Curci talks with artist Susan Hoffmann during FRAGMENTED IDENTITIES, second appointment of BORDERS festival, in Venice on August 2016Susan Talbot Hoffmann was born on March 14, 1955, in Thibodaux, Louisiana. She loved to sketch the living things around her including her dogs and cats and the children she baby-sat. She attended St. Genevieve Catholic and Thibodaux High schools. She entered Nicholls State University under the High Ability Student Program at the age of 16. She illustrated her parasitology lab manual with organisms she viewed under the microscope. That manual was handed down from student to student. She enrolled as a Chemistry major and graduated magna cum laude in 1976. Her goal as an artist is not only therapy for herself, but also to provide the viewer with scenes of nature in all her glory.

 

Interview with Susan Talbot HoffmannImage courtesy of Susan Talbot Hoffmann

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Luca Curci – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this exhibition? How is it connected to the theme of the entire festival?
Susan Talbot Hoffmann –
Our world is fragile. In other countries, wooden structures are carefully preserved. Not so in the USA. Most of the fragile wooden homes of the Garden District in New Orleans, once considered to be some of the most beautiful in the world, are left to decay and disappear. The structures of these homes exist only in fragments of their former glory: as FRAGMENTED IDENTITIES. I have chosen the method of fragmented photo etching of thesehomes to present them to the world. They appear to be ghost-like, only partially printed in their entirety. Embossment of the edges of these etchings with fragments of the city of New Orleans emblem, the fleur de lis, serves to further identify these structures.

 

Interview with Susan Talbot HoffmannImage courtesy of Susan Talbot Hoffmann

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L.C. – What do you think about the concept of this festival? Inwhich way did inspire you?
S. T. H.  The use of existing architecture in artwork is a time-honored tradition. It serves as an often beautiful historical record. In my case, just in the time period used to create the artwork presented here, once ornate iron galleries that distinguished these homes such as those of the home at 2323 Magazine Street have been replaced with plywood. The Louisiana Purchase Apartments no longer flies its American flag, pictured here. Much of our reality today is a search for identity – religious, social, psychological, physical. In bits and pieces it slowly comes to us, if we are fortunate – in fragments. The Garden District of New Orleans comprises the area BORDERed by St. Charles and Magazine Streets between Jackson and Louisiana Avenues. Thus it is physically separated from the rest of the world as Borders do. It stands as a testimony to the American dream. Italian, English, Swiss, Greek and particularly French and Spanish show their influence here. Most of these homes have come to symbolize, in the present-day, high economic status and political and social identity. Not so the self-made men or entrepreneurs who originally built these structures. The Garden District, with its lush vegetation was created as a retreat from the hustle and bustle of New Orleans City life. It was meant to simulate the country homes from which its builders originally came.

 

Interview with Susan Talbot HoffmannImage courtesy of Susan Talbot Hoffmann

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L.C. – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
S. T. H. – My background is that of a Louisianian having graduate school training in New Orleans. During my time there, I would often visit the beautiful homes of the Garden District. I wished to preserve their existence as best as I could.

L.C. – What is art for you?
S. T. H. – Art is my survival mechanism. I exist today because art therapy was included among my many therapies during my four year recuperation from removal of a brain tumor with subsequent epidural hematoma and stroke. It was the only therapy I could do.My artwork is my life.

L.C. – What do you think about the whole organization of the event,the selection of the artists, the communication management and opening ceremony?
S. T. H. – I was not involved in any of these activities so I have no comment.

L.C. – Do you think that this experience could be useful for artists and can contribute to increase personal background?
S. T. H. – Participation was useful for me as an artist personally and
professionally.

L.C. – Are you interested in future collaborations with our organization?
S. T. H. – Yes, according to what is financially possible.

 

Interview with Susan Talbot HoffmannImage courtesy of Susan Talbot Hoffmann

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Interview with Susan Talbot HoffmannImage courtesy of Susan Talbot Hoffmann

 

more. susantalbothoffmann.com 

 

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