Ep 69 Featured Image Podcast

Art, Hope, and Pleasure – Insa Hoffmann – Ep 69

February 15, 2023


Art-making is a world of endless possibilities. It’s a door that anyone has the eligibility to walk through. And when we surrender ourselves to that journey, the impact is felt even beyond the things we create. Meet Insa Hoffman, a talented painter of abstracted landscapes from Basel, Germany. She first crossed my path as an attendee of our Creative Visionary Program in 2016, and has since become a friend whose personal art journey has become a great source of shared learning. Join us as we share some of that learning around the ideas of playfulness, process, and the spirit of possibility and hope that comes from creation.

Listen if you are interested in…

  • The importance of playfulness and creating a vision for your art  [2:45]
  • How Insa chases freedom in her work [16:25]
  • Exploring the concept of contrast and finding ourselves through art-making [20:15]
  • Trusting the process and the power of doing [30:11]
  • The spirit of possibility and hope in art-making and the impact of the Creative Visionary Program [37:32]

Work hard, play harder

An underrated and essential part of art-making is this idea of playfulness. Being an artist is serious business, but it doesn’t mean we have to take everything so seriously. When I say playfulness, I mean having the freedom to truly be ourselves on the canvas. We’re not trying to impress anyone. Nor are we looking over our shoulders to compare our work with that of others. When we can tap into our identity, the crux of who we are, the work becomes stronger and more authentic with every attempt. This is exactly why Insa came to the Creative Visionary Program in 2016! She needed to give herself permission to play and access that childlike force that propels us all forward.

The tiny worlds we create 

At its core, art-making is about making decisions. With every decision made, we are building tiny worlds that ultimately represent a piece of who we are. For example, value contrast. We need to decide what is light and dark in our paintings to structure the surface. Value contrast was a huge struggle for Insa because she couldn’t decide. She was adopting too many things into her work, and the results felt mushy and confused. Insa realized that just like life, we have to decide what does and does not work for us in our art. Our yes and no need to be exactly that. When we understand that each painting is a little world we create with our decisions, we see the opportunity to invent ourselves through our art. We can be reserved in the real world and wild on the canvas. We can explore seemingly forgotten aspects of ourselves. We can do whatever we want. But we have to choose something.  

Process over product

At the beginning of an artist’s journey, it’s easy to focus too much on the finished product. In fact, much of our energy can be spent trying to find the magic recipe that will give us the kind of work we want to create. The problem with this mentality is we forget one of the most important aspects of art-making: the process. There are a million great tips and tricks you can learn. But your process is the only thing that can yield the kind of results you’re looking for. Leaning into the process means continually figuring out what works best for you. For Insa, that looks like showing up to her studio everyday without expecting immediate results. It’s about the practice and not wasting all of her energy trying to create a masterpiece every time she picks up a brush. Trusting the process means allowing the art to come from the depths of who you are instead of planning everything in advance.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Insa Hoffmann

Connect with Nicholas Wilton and Art2Life

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Nicholas Wilton

Hi! I’m
Nicholas Wilton
the founder of Art2Life.

With over 20 years experience as a working artist and educator, I’ve developed a systematic approach that brings authenticity, spontaneity and joy back into the creative process.

Join me and artists from all over the world in our Free Art2Life Artists Facebook Group or learn more here about Art2Life.

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