Richard Chandler Hoff
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My drawings provide a pictorial narrative of life in America during the 40’s and 50’s. In capturing the essence of life on the “homefront”, I depict popular architectural and social icons of the era to create scenes of places where Americans gathered to pursue the art of having fun. Architecture and light play key roles in my work and two major influences have had a profound effect on the use of these elements in my drawings. The first was Edward Hopper, an artist in whose work architecture played a prominent role. Hopper used buildings as well as light to distill the essence of what was then America, and the success of his work showed me the legitimacy of portraying the urban landscape. The second influence was Life Magazine, especially issues from the 40’s. The light in their photos seems ethereal and yet ready to burst off the page with a great warmth which I have come to associate with the time period. Born too late to have truly experienced the 1940’s, I rely on stories and on imagery from an extensive photo file. I then create visual folktales to illustrate the style, romance, and innocence that withstood the brutality of WWII to influence us even today in music, literature, fashion and theater. I prefer to work in graphite simply because it is appropriate for a period of time that was the first to be so prominently recorded in photos and on film and the last to be almost entirely shown in black and white. Also, the wonderful tactile relationship between pencil and paper enables me to intimately connect with the creative process.
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“Are Shadows Not Substantial Things? I draw my artwork in graphite pencil so that it can match up to a black and white photograph. I believe it is appropriate because a lot of photographs in the ’40s were black and white due to the fact that color photography was still in its infancy.”
Richard’s lifelong love of drawing is revealed in meticulously designed drawings of life in America during the 1940s and 50s. He creates his artwork from the inspiration of written, verbal, and filmed stories as well as photographs.
“When my research is complete, I make preliminary sketches from the selected photos. It is at this point a character’s facial expressions, hairstyles and clothing are altered to support my concept. Every element, large and small, fuses together with light and shadow in a seamless composition that convinces the viewer he is a witness to an actual moment in time.”
These are “visual folktales” created to illustrate the style and romance of a period which withstood the brutality of world wars. Hoff’s work has been featured in ‘American Artist’ and ‘Drawing’ magazines and included in the prestigious Pennsylvania Art of the State competition for four consecutive years. His artwork is also featured in his book, “Inventing History — Cherished Memories of Good Times that Never Happened.”
Richard Chandler Hoff presenting his lecture “Are Not Shadows Substantial Things?” Richard gives lectures on drawing as well as his process and vision