The Artist’s Studio | Michele Hofherr

Avalanche 1

Certain moments in life deliver a concentrated dose of mojo, and the pursuit of those moments is a major human motivator. The feeling lives in the brief transition experienced when departing a chair lift on a crisp, blue-sky ski day, in the tiny fraction of time before skis touch snow, when anything could happen, but the odds are in favor of a long, thrilling ride down the mountain.  

While the Romans may not have put it exactly this way, mojo happens when talent and opportunity meet preparation. We’ve all felt it in our own way, whether it is something big, like nailing an important job interview or something small, like noticing that we’re having a good hair day. There is a thrill in successfully maneuvering the gap between success and failure.

From Michelangelo–think God’s finger creating Adam on the Sistine Chapel ceiling–to Mad Men style advertising–think Clairol’s ‘does she or doesn’t she’ hair color ads, artists have always known how to use the tension created by contrast to juice the energy level in their art.  

Michele Hofherr, a photographer, entrepreneur and artist, is a master at deploying this energy in her photographs, paintings and business ventures.

Hofherr, a native of Moraga, California, now based in the SF East Bay Hills, earned a Communications degree at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and has put her “jump in and get started” attitude to work. She has held gigs as a talent agent, a photographer handling casting, production and behind the scenes details on big commercial shoots, an e-commerce entrepreneur, and lately an interior designer.

Swirling all the knowledge gained through her various professional capacities together, Hofherr began a fine art photography practice about 10 years ago. Finding success with this practice led Hofherr to the medium of painting in order to further develop her artistic vision.

Hofherr’s large scale black and white photography clearly illustrates her grasp of the use of contrast to create visual interest. Close-up images of white flower petals unfurling against velvety black backgrounds are intimate and revealing.  Lean, muscular mustangs balanced on improbably delicate shins and knobby knees look ready to bolt out of the picture frame. Silhouetted winter trees make striking black lines across white fields of untrammeled new snow.

Hofherr’s paintings, similar to her photographs, give the viewer plenty of options for both active and restful viewing.  The energetic brush work in the painting titled ‘Avalanche’ (featured image at top) is balanced by rich, dark areas that due to their interesting shapes contribute a quiet power. The relationship between Hofherr’s photography and her painting is all about energy–whether implied, bursting, or on a slow burn.

To learn more about Hofherr’s work, visit her website at  Hofherr’s original paintings are on view at The Ritz-Carlton Tahoe, and she is represented by Slate Contemporary Gallery.

Photographs of Hofherr’s studio by Katie Korotzer

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