While Ryan Hoffmann is young, he is a fast mark maker. At the age of 24 he has gallery representation and his first solo show at Liverpool Street Gallery. He has been a finalist in the Chippendale Art Prize two years running and in 2012 won the Mark Henry Cain Memorial Prize, which enabled him to undertake a residency in Scotland. Ryan has recently graduated from the National Art School, Sydney with a Masters in Fine Arts. His exhibition Third Person is showing at Liverpool Street Gallery until 5 September.
Which five words best describe you? -
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? You know how everyone’s mum has a box that’s full of merits from when they were a child? Well, I have seen this box recently and it’s full of drawings of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Biker Mice from Mars, Street sharks and made-up characters, so somewhere between here and my painting degree at the National Art School I knew painting was going to play a big role in my life and with the help of my supervisors - Dr Stephen Little and Dr David Serisier - you get pushed out of the art school and into the real world fairly well prepared.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Painting is tantalising; in today’s society there are many limitations, and an extreme amount of possibilities. There was an interview I read recently that talked about being a contemporary artist fresh out of art school and likened it to being the captain of a ship that is sinking. You are surrounded by islands, each island, intrinsically is no better or worse than any other, but to survive you must choose one. So the lesson is to understand the parameters and continue to make the paintings you want to make. You have to please yourself before anyone else.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Being represented by Liverpool Street Gallery at 24 - I don’t know how that happened! They have really good artists. Don’t tell them I said that.
What’s been your best decision? I was going to quit my Masters at one point because of frustration with painting but I decided to stick with it - you know what they say!
Who inspires you? Sterling Ruby and Grupa Ładnie - they are good! But it’s always changing. Most recently I saw a Rothko and Matisse at the National Gallery - I learnt a lot from the surface of both and how you penetrate the work as a viewer, which will fuel the ideas for some new works I want to make.
What are you passionate about? Setting up a life revolving around painting.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I don’t think I would like to meet the artists I really admire in case they don’t live up to my expectations. My sister and I have been following Shia Labeouf’s spiral to insanity so I think he would be interesting to meet.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? Ride around Australia on a motorcycle.
What are you reading? My friend leant me Hells angels by Hunter S Thompson about five years ago and I have been reading it ever since.