Aimee Hofmann (b. 1976, New York)
Aimee Hofmann is an abstract artist who has been painting for 16 years.
Hofmann is a New York native, born in Long Island and raised in the suburbs of Queens. Throughout her childhood, she was always drawn to the arts. She played the piano and practiced dance. Along with her love of the stage, she sketched portraits. Aside from seeing the details of the human face as fascinating, she found drawing to be cathartic and an escape from the pressures of adolescent life.
In '98, Hofmann earned a BS degree from the Stern School of Business at New York University. After graduating, she landed positions in marketing and public relations, but did not feel fulfilled. After a year of living overseas, in Switzerland, she gained a new perspective-- to be more present and connected to nature.
In search for an artistic outlet, she became involved in creative industries, i.e., make-up artistry and acting. Suddenly, in 2006, she suffered from the neurological condition, Transverse Myelitis, an inflammation in the spinal cord that caused permanent paralysis from level T10 of the spine. The hospital, where she was a patient, offered a therapeutic art program which prompted Hofmann to start painting in her hospital bed during her two-month stay. After learning she would never walk again, it was art that, ultimately, gave her peace during the difficult stages of loss, grief, self-reflection and self-discovery. Art helped her emotionally heal, as well as find joy again. Throughout the years that followed, while facing life with a disability, she created a number of collections. Her earlier work featured landscapes, florals or swirl patterns which have continued to evolve into more abstract work.
In 2019, as a permanent resident of Westchester County (for 11 years), Hofmann began a more disciplined art practice. During the peak of the pandemic, she started to market, sell her paintings online and work on commissions. She considers herself mainly a self-taught artist, but constantly has the desire to learn, grow and evolve. Various workshops educated her about color, technique and composition. In addition, she has been practicing to “let go” and be freer while creating her latest collection. Her work has been exhibited at Carriage Barn Arts Center, Jamestown Arts Center, Blue Door Arts Center and Rye Arts Center. Hofmann is a wife, mother of two, hand-cyclist marathoner, swimmer and an occasional school speaker. As a disabilities advocate, she has raised funds for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, in effort to find cures for paralysis.
"After floods of emotions came with acquiring a sudden disability, I started to re-evaluate concepts of time: the past, present and future and how we must embrace all three time periods. Nostalgia of the past, specifically, the 80’s and the era of my youth, greatly inspires me. Not only am I attracted to the bright colors and energy from the Golden Age of pop culture, but it is the memories of little moments of time during my childhood that have left vivid imprints in my mind. It brings up a playful and joyful energy that is evident in my work.
My latest collection entitled, “Verve: Unfiltered,” (Merriam Webster definition of verve: a. the spirit and enthusiasm animating artistic composition b. energy, vitality) features multiple layers of paint in different textures. The freely poured, splattered paints are an expression of letting go and the recovery of my lifelong battle with perfectionism. The experimentation of allowing different consistencies of paint to organically interact and react with one another reflects my acceptance of all events that are happening in the present (that we cannot control). I have a new appreciation for the beauty of imperfections, mishaps, chaos and brokenness. As layers are built upon one another, certain parts of each underlayer are always revealed to show every stage of the piece’s history. Just as art imitates life, our past experiences, history and evolution are important elements that make up who we are.
There is a newfound courage expressed in “Verve” after I came to the realization that there is nothing to fear because the future will always be uncertain, regardless. Recently, I’ve had more trust to let go of control over future outcomes. My process is no longer result-driven, but rather initiated by intuition, allowing the piece to naturally evolve. However, more conscious decisions are made regarding the composition as a piece is being finalized. I always like a certain amount of balance and symmetry, albeit ‘imperfect’ and never too structured.
I am constantly fascinated by the shape of the swirl which I have been doodling since childhood. The evolution of these swirls reflect both my personal and artistic growth. The designs began as structured and defined, and then have evolved into looser, more deconstructed patterns, once again, indicating my letting go of control. The swirls, to me, are a symbol of life’s continuity or the idea that everything eventually comes full circle. They lead the viewer’s eyes on a journey around the painting and then back to where they started -- similar to the twists, turns, ups and downs of life.
Courage has also led me to use an array of techniques and unconventional tools, i.e, brushes of different widths and lengths (an 8” wide house-paint brush or a 28” long home-made brush), the wheels from my wheelchair or a pouring bucket. As a result, there is a juxtaposition of contrasts within one piece. Graceful, round brushstrokes may be painted near straight grid-like drip patterns or track marks. Freely splattered paint may be layered over defined swirls. My work challenges the co-existence of perfectionism vs. imperfection, control vs. release, intentional vs. incidental, grit vs. grace and light vs. dark, which may also be the various states that we struggle with during our lives.
There are recurring themes which show up repeatedly in my work. I’m drawn to all the characteristics of water, an element that is constantly flowing and soothing, yet powerful. Paralysis, in many ways, has made me feel physically trapped and water is a place where I feel free. I express this physical freedom on canvas as wild, gestural marks in hues of blue. Since I’m physically on the artwork when I create, completely immersed, there are always details in the final piece which are a result of my physical condition. The track marks and smeared paints are inevitable from constant run-overs by the wheelchair. Loose brushstroke patterns are the result of using a 28” long brush- both an adaptive and an artistic tool.
Another recurring theme in my work is inclusivity. Recently, I’ve been incorporating bright neon colors, larger brushstrokes and unique marks. This is a reaction to my own personal experience of not always being heard or included, as an Asian female with a disability, in this society. Making bold artistic choices are my ways of taking up space, being loud and being seen this world.
‘We cannot change the past, we cannot control the future, but we can embrace and have gratitude for right now. Or rather, we must embrace the evolution of it all -- the past history, the events occurring all around us now and the unforeseeable future, both in life and in art.’” – Aimee Hofmann
Associates Degree: College of Art and Science, New York University, 1996
Bachelor of Science Degree: Stern School of Business, New York University, 1998
Rye Arts Center: Rye’s Above, June 2021
Blue Door Arts Center: My Super Power (juried), June 2021
Carriage Barn Arts Center: Art in Windows (juried), June 2021
Carriage Barn Arts Center: Annual Members Show, September 2021
Carriage Barn Arts Center: Deck the Walls, November 2021
Rye Arts Center: Annual Members Show, December 2021
Jamestown Arts Center: Reassessment and Wonder (juried), March 2022
Serendipity Labs: Solo Show, June 2022
Westchester Magazine: "The Art of Healing," December 2020
Westchester Home Magazine: "The State of the Artists," Spring 2022
Atelier Modern Boutique