Local artist Brandi Hofer said she remembers painting when she was young, sometimes listening to the music of Jann Arden. She considers herself a big fan and at the age of 12 even saw Arden perform for the first time at the Folk Festival in Edmonton.
So how did she feel when Arden recently purchased a portrait of her own likeness from Hofer’s collection?
“I never expected that to happen so… surprised?”
Hofer had finished the painting months ago and everyone she showed was impressed. They said things like, “Oh, Jann would love it.”
To which Hofer would reply, “‘That’s great but she’ll probably never see it.’ You know? Like what are the chances?” she said with a laugh.
But the painting turned out well and one of the reasons Hofer attributes to this is the impact of Arden’s inspiration on her and her work as a fellow Canadian artist.
“And I just love her music. I’m still a little shocked, I’d have to say,” she said.
Hofer, who works full-time at the Vic Juba Community Theatre, created the work for a flyer, promoting an upcoming Arden performance next February.
The painting in question was brought to Arden’s attention when Hofer reached out to her on Twitter. Hofer was at home one afternoon, because she was on maternity leave at the time and happened to be watching The Social. The hosts on the show were talking about a recent Arden concert and mentioned the musician was, at that very moment, on the social networking site.
Hofer thought, “Oh wow, what great timing. Maybe she would like this painting…”
She contacted the singer and as luck would have it, Arden responded and loved the work. Now they’ve arranged to meet when she comes to Lloydminster to do her show.
“So that’s how it happened,” explained Hofer. “She’s just a huge influence as a Canadian female artist and she’s so strong and funny and passionate and it show’s through her music. She’s such a great example and as a fellow Canadian artist I really admire her.”
Hofer went to the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) in Halifax and has been vigorously pursuing her art career since returning home to Lloydminster after graduation. She said she’s been painting her whole life, “Since someone first put paint in my hands,” and luckily for her, she had patient parents.
“My parents were definitely really supportive. I had a craft corner and I made huge messes. Like, paint-on-carpet messes (laughs).”
That support seems to be paying off. Aside from her sale to Arden, Hofer has had her work displayed at galleries in New York, London and Montreal. She even received a travel grant from Arts Without Borders, so she could venture to France to show off her paintings.
So in the end, who cares about a little paint on the carpet?
Hofer strives to keep growing as an artist with hopes that one day, people all around the world will see her work. She tempers this big hope with the modest and down-to-earth approach of setting “small goals” and taking “baby steps” to get there.
As for advice to other aspiring artists, she recommends working hard and working at it every day.
“Stay positive and keep painting and paint because you love it. Don’t paint because you think other people will like something about it,” said Hofer. “I’m lucky enough that I’ve gotten a bit of success, but it’s all through hard work.”