ARTIST BRADLEY HOFFER DISCUSSES THE BACKSTORY OF “CROBORAB #8” MURAL COLORING THE WATERFRONT
Bradley Hoffer has been a part of the Asbury Park art scene since the late 1990’s. After graduating with a bachelor of fine arts degree in sculpture from Rutgers University he moved to the city, thanks to his dad’s advice, where he saw beauty in everything including the boarded-up buildings that at the time comprised most of Cookman Avenue.
Hoffer’s latest installation is part of the 2016 Wooden Walls Art Project, a series of murals coloring the waterfront.
“Bradley is a huge part of the street art world in Asbury Park,” said Jenn Hampton, curator of the program and co-owner of Parlor Gallery. “This mural project would not be complete without a contribution from him and his installation is perfect for the Sunset Pavilion.”
I spoke to the artist- whose modesty compels him to rarely give interviews and avoid talking about his work at all costs – last week.
TBP: Most people know you from your previous projects featuring birds or nature. Hard-handed lines literally define your style and paintings, which I think comes from your background in sculpture.
Hoffer: I draw constantly. It’s all free-flow sketches of whatever is influencing me or on my mind at the moment. I have thousands of drawings. Some turn into something and most don’t. When I want to actually paint, I sift through my sketches to find one or three that are worthy of painting. This mural, “CroboRab #8” for the waterfront is the editing together of two sketches.
Where I used to focus on birds, I’ve moved on to an intersection of nature and technology which has recently taken the form of interpretive digital patterns or robots.
TBP: You are one of my top favorite local artists and this waterfront installation did not disappoint. To me, your work has a joyous, curious energy that is like a chapter in a longer story, but that’s not the way you see it.
Hoffer: Ever since the movie “Blade Runner” I have been obsessed with artificial intelligence; one thing becomes another becomes another. My work has a whimsical quality to it but there is also a dark science component – have my hands become tools, like a robot, after years of work? From a cellular level, I am painting something deep, deep inside me to share. A painting of mine may not make sense to anyone but it is a physical release of energy and it’s fully complete in my brain. I start moving and go with it or ditch it.
The blocking in every piece is important to me. Another objective is that there is no beginning or end to the lines. My criteria of success is if the viewer stops and doesn’t know where to begin. “CroboRab #8” is not an immediate story. Is it one line or a few lines that make up what they are looking at? It’s interesting that children usually understand my work faster than adults.
I like the way the colors for “CroboRab #8” balance each other out. The 11 shades of blue and grey along with the citrine yellow bounce off each other and change as the sun moves. In some lighting, the mural has depth; in the evening the mural is more flat.
This Wooden Walls project has been great. Madison Marquette and Jenn have been extremely supportive of me as well as the other artists and let us just go. I’m excited that people are seeing another side of my work and responding to it.
Follow Hoffer on Instagram here, the Wooden Walls Art Project here and TheBPlot here. For articles about the 2015 project, including Porkchop’s Octo ladies, click here. And here for articles about Parlor Gallery.