Over the Long Run


Peter Hoffer: You know the Simon and Garfunkel tune “Still Crazy After All These Years,” right? Well, you might have to be a little crazy to be an artist, but I prefer to think of it as “still running after all these years,” —or in my case at least putting one foot in front of the other!

No one, including Mom, ever said being an artist would be easy. At times, sustaining passion and commitment for the creative quest is difficult and challenging. In the words of Milton Glaser, “Art is work.” One of the keys to success is to simply stay in the game, that is, to continue running.


There are times when the hills and headwinds are formidable, and at other times the wind is at your back and you can breeze along the flats. Over the past two years I’ve enjoyed a good run. During this month I have new work on view at AFA Gallery in downtown Scranton in a two-person exhibit with sculptor Ty Welles, titled Diverse Dimensions. The exhibit opened Sept. 4, 2015 as part of First Friday and remains on view for First Friday October 2. For some insights into the show, listen to an interview with Erika Funke at WVIA’s ArtScene: https://soundcloud.com/wvia-public-media/peter-hoffer-charles-welles-august-20-2015. Listening to ArtScene on the radio is a good way to stay informed about regional arts, cultural events, and topics of interest.

The recent acceptance of my entries into The Northeastern Biennial Twenty Fifteen Exhibit provided a needed “second wind.” This show’s opening reception takes place at various venues including Marywood’s Mahady Gallery on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015. Knowing that both the AFA and Regional exhibits were on the horizon provided me with an incentive to do new work and to explore new ground.

A few teaching moments:

First, I’ll start with the obvious. Over your career producing new work is essential. It’s not always easy—in fact, rarely is—but it goes with the territory. Persistence pays.

Second, a lesson more difficult to practice is “keeping the faith.” It was gratifying to have my work accepted into this year’s Biennial considering that two years ago I had no entries accepted. I have learned over the years to be encouraged by jurors’ affirmations, but not too discouraged by rejections. What is important is to continue embracing what first attracted you to being an artist and to accept the “run” for what it is, an ongoing practice requiring training and discipline for both sprints and marathons.

Third, finding rewards and success in the process of producing art—no matter how you define them—should always be what is most important. In itself, making and showing art puts you in the race!

Following is an image showing the AFA Gallery Installation and some of my pieces on display plus the five images accepted into this year’s Northeastern Biennial. Hope to see you there!

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