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Visionary Artist Martina Hoffmann: ‘Portals to Inner Landscapes’

by • November 30, 2011 • Art, InterviewsComments (6)2529

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Visionary art is contemplative and spiritual—a gateway to the soul. Visionary artist Martina Hoffmann offers those who view her work the opportunity to behold the universal force of Spirit through imagery inspired by expanded states of consciousness: the realms of the imagination, meditation, shamanic journeys and the dream state. By accessing these portals, we are encouraged to experience universal interconnectedness and realize our potential to create and transform.

 

“Martina Hoffman: ‘Portals to Inner Landscapes’” will be on display at Knew Conscious Gallery {2700 Walnut Street/Denver, CO} from now until December 9, 2011.  Gallery hours are Monday—Friday, 11am—5pm and weekends by appointment only. The exhibit will also be open for viewing during Denver’s First Friday as part of the River North (RiNo) Art District on Friday, December 2.

 

 

Martina, when did you begin painting?

 

I became a painter after I met my husband, my late husband Robert Venosa—absolute master of fantastic realism—and he was my first huge inspiration to become a painter. I was a student at the time, a student of art; and I studied sculpting, that was my major. And when I saw his work I was just so blown away that I couldn’t help myself, so that’s how I started painting.

 

Were you studying in a public forum?

 

Yes, I studied at the University, at the Frankfurt Johann Wolfgang von Goethe University, and it was a really big art department.

 

What do you feel is the importance of arts in a public setting?

 

First of all, any culture is based on the arts—anything and everything in our environment is initially being created by an artist, or somebody who had a creative impulse, so everything that surrounds us is grounded and rooted in art and creativity—it beautifies our environment, it can be uplifting, it makes us think, it confronts us with deeper issues, hopefully. And I like to say that it also elevates us, if it’s spiritually focused art, the kind of art that Robert and I do.

 

Aside from Robert, who or what would you say have been the major influences of your work?

 

I was really inspired in my early work, before I knew Robert, I knew Ernst Fuchs, I was familiar with his work, but it was really through Robert that I discovered his work, and the larger family of fantastics, visionaries. And one of my absolute, all-time favorites and first inspirations, besides Robert, is Mati Klarwein. In my early works, I did a lot of photo-realisticportraits that were sort of mixed in with fantasy backgrounds, and Mati was such an incredible genius when it came to portraiture. He was quite impressive. He was the quintessential psychedelic artist of the 60’s and 70’s.

 

 

I would also like to take the opportunity to mention the super beautiful, and talented artists Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo (also see her Artsy.net page) and Dorthea Tanning: one of the last living founders of the surrealist realm.

 

Boulder, Colorado, has been celebrated for attracting artists and forward-thinkers throughout the decades. What led to your decision-making process to reside in the area?

 

It was largely based on being in relationship with Robert, and Robert had been here in the late 60’s and early 70’s. He was close friends with the people who founded Celestial Seasonings Tea Company. And when I met him, we met in Cadaques, Spain—north of Barcelona, a beautiful little fishing village and hometown of Salvador Dali—and when I met him, we spent several years there, lived there for about six, seven, eight years. And then we slowly moved back to the states, and Boulder seemed—first of all there was a big connection to Celestial Seasonings and the work Robert was doing, he was still doing design work, and just helping his friends with certain creative aspects of the company—and Boulder seemed reasonably healthy and conscientious, and it was a good happy-medium between being in the states and not being in an area like New York or LA, where people were just too edgy, maybe. It was a healthy lifestyle, and I enjoyed being in a town with a good heart of consciousness.

 

Your artwork has been describe as ‘Transpersonal Realism.’ Would you be so kind as to expand upon that definition for our readers?

 

Yeah, basically there is a great amount of realism in my work, but it’s definitely beyond the personal. Also, my work is largely inspired by elevated or expanded states of consciousness, so I derive a lot of information and imagery and impulses from the dream state. I do love meditating, and I feel and see a lot there. And then there’s also the shamanic work that I’ve done in South America, and that’s been a big inspiration for me. So it is transpersonal in the sense that it goes way beyond, and it goes more to the archetypes and into the transcendent realms.

 

Could you tell me a little more about the shamanic work you’ve done?

 

 

Yes, I’ve worked with shamans in the Amazonian region of South America in Brazil and Peru with the jungle medicine plant entheogen teacher called ayahuasca, and it’s an ancient medicine that the Indians have used for millennia to celebrate Spirit and to connect with the Source, and it’s a very powerful medicine and it’s not a path to be taken lightly. It takes a lot of preparation and it’s not for everybody, but I think it’s one of the great ways of connecting deeply with the Mother Spirit, which is so inherent in that medicine.

 

I understand you are debuting a new piece this evening. What inspired this recent creation?

 

It is a piece that was inspired by a night I spent in the Amazon, and I was in the middle of this beautiful forest clearing and I sat with the medicine and I was so triggered by the way the forest was so alive. Often times I’ve seen the Mother-huasca in different guises, but often times I see her certainly as a female: I’ve seen her as a young Indian woman, I’ve seen her as a crone. I call this piece “Curandera,” which means ‘female healer,’ so it’s basically a female spirit, and she’s transformed—she’s sort of a therianthrope: half-human/half-animal, she’s got a human head and a snake body—and often times the shamans also shape-shift, and they can appear like that. And certainly in ayahuasca, the snake energy—the transformative DNA energy of the medicine—is the snakes coming in and doing the work. That’s how I feel, whenever I’ve done journey work there, I’ve always felt that seeing the snakes arrive was a good sign, because they were coming in to help me really clean out my system and transform myself.

 

Much of your work depicts a deep connection to the Devine Feminine. What importance do you place upon raising up the Sacred within the evolution of humanity?

 

The Sacred, or the Sacred Feminine?

 

Both.

 

Both! Well, first of all I feel like this is an important time to bring balance into all levels of our lives. There should be balance between us and nature, and certainly balance between the male and the female. I think we have made a lot of progress, but there are still some areas, I mean we’re still working it. Let’s put it this way: there are pockets of consciousness that I’m very happy to say are spreading globally, sort of a wildfire of global consciousness right now and we can all feel it, but there are still parts of the world that are not catching on. They’re still a little hesitant, and so I feel that by portraying the Sacred Feminine it will help women have greater self-esteem.

 

These are portals, so when you look at these paintings I feel that the energy that I’ve planted in there will affect the viewer, whether the viewer wants it or not. This is a very powerful energy and it’s sort of infectious, and since everything is vibrational the energy that I put into my pieces definitely touches the viewer and transforms them whether they do any kind of spiritual work or not. So I feel it’s really important to pay attention to creating work that portrays the Sacred to help us all elevate and become a more conscientious world, and global community; so we can finally overcome these obstacles that we’re still dealing with.

 

Honestly, I haven’t listened to the news for three weeks now, and all of the sudden tonight I did, and it’s really disconcerting because all we ever hear about is how many people got killed where, and there’s another war, and we would think this is finally dwindling down, but there is still a lot of work to be done. So I find that visionary art—this type of work that really touches on the spiritual, and that gives us a feeling that we are all connected, interrelated, interdependent—this is very important information to be portrayed and anchored and manifested through the work.

 

Touching on the importance of this work and spreading such knowledge, I know in the past that you have led workshops with Robert, and other visionaries. Are there any plans for such forums in the future?

 

Possibly, maybe. Right now I’m still healing from the recent passing of my husband, and so I’m taking it very slow when it comes to large groups because I don’t have as much strength right now, as I usually have. But I’m thinking right now of maybe doing smaller events, or maybe also taking on private students, and I think I can see myself in a one-on-one. Right now everything reminds me of him…and I think I just need time to recover. But I’m always talking to my visionary friends and colleagues, so we will be doing things. There are great symposiums that we’re thinking about, right now, in Europe; where we can finally bring the European visionaries together with the American visionaries. Because there’s still a little bit, it’s not a disconnect, but it’s not a complete communication happening—some of us are talking to each other all the time—but we are trying to bridge that. And I’ll be out in the San Francisco area to be part of some tributes for Robert. I’ll be with MAPS {Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies} for the 25th anniversary, and we’ll do a benefit on Sunday night for Robert, because I’m trying to raise some funds for an idea that Robert had while he was still alive. His idea was to create a museum collection called “Viva Venosa Collective for Visionary Art,” and it could potentially be here in this area; and what we’re thinking about, or what we were thinking about was to create a museum space. Not a museum in the traditional sense, but a space that will allow people to enjoy the art and appreciate it and be with the art. And maybe a space that could be off the grid, and that could educate people about sustainability. I’m envisioning a sustainable museum that would be a complete, incredible masterpiece and educational forum in itself, just based on how it would run itself. So I have big dreams, and I’m going to start with this benefit in San Francisco. And I’m also trying to bring back a couple of classic Venosa paintings that have been offered to me for sale, lately, and I’d like to keep the collection and bring it back.

 

Speaking on the point of giving back to the community, throughout the years you and Robert have always been steadfast supporters of the non-profit Conscious Alliance. Can you tell me more about your relationship with the organization?

 

I remember Justin Baker {Co-Founder of Conscious Alliance} walking into my house…and he said, ‘Robert and Martina, I have this idea. I would like to create this organization and people like you would be really important because you would be creating art and donating it, and I want to feed the homeless.’ So I’ve known Justin pretty much from the beginning of the Conscious Alliance, and we’re really close friends. And I think it’s such an incredible organization, because it’s brilliant in its simplicity: how it cuts out the middleman, how it cuts down overhead, and just delivers! I mean, to have a place where the money and the food goes directly to its destination—pretty much that same night after the venue has closed—it’s so simple, but it’s kind of revolutionary. I don’t know of any other organizations like that, but I though it was really brilliant. And I will continue to support them as we move forward, and we go through the years. And Justin Levy {Conscious Alliance Operations Director} has stepped in so nicely, and it’s an amazing operation. So much heart, so much sincerity and great intention. It’s wonderful.

 

Finally, what words of wisdom do you have for aspiring artists?

 

The first thing that comes to mind is: never hesitate. Just really go for it if there is an impulse to be creative, and to become an artist. It’s not always an easy step to take’ because there are always a lot of interesting logistics that come with wanting to work and be an artist in all its fullness. It’s certainly not an easy way to run a life. But, I think that as long as long as we trust ourselves with our process—and put it out to our guardians and angels—and once the intention is placed and sent out into the universe, then the answers come and we’re supported every step of the way. But the intention has to be right there, and it has to be clear. And if it’s clear: no problem. And, also, I think it’s good to really study technique. It’s important to really learn, and to dedicate. It take a lot of time and dedication to become a great artist, so that would be something I would encourage any young, aspiring artist to do, is to just really focus. Don’t get deterred. Just trust yourself, trust yourself.

**Be sure to follow Martina Hoffman Art on Facebook.   For more information on the gallery visit  knewconsciousgallery.com/ or visit their Facebook page.  Photo Credit:  Tim D’Antonio of  D’Antonio Photography.

Click on the images twice to see full size.

 

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