Although she only recently began showing her work publicly, Jessica Hoffman has been creating collages for as long as she can remember.
In her most recent collection entitled Inevitable Coalescence, Jessica explores the relationship between who she sees herself to be and how the influence of others can so easily change that perception. How does one remain confident in who they are while still letting other people into their lives? She feels that although this personality shift is a completely natural occurrence, there are times when it not only feels unnatural, but an unnerving loss of believed control.
Throughout my life, I have always relished the power of constructing whole narratives out of bits of paper, a fresh glue stick and an X-acto knife. In fact, when I found out as an adult that there was an entire genre of art called “collage”, I was reluctant to box myself into such a suspect niche. After all, wasn’t collage the favorite pastime of bored teenage girls? Luckily, I outgrew that perception and came to embrace collage as a true art form that is just as capable as painting at telling my story and just as qualified as sculpture to speak on the agency of my present.
As an artist, I am drawn to using magazines in my collages from a time when I was not even a thought in my parent’s minds. The pictures may be outdated but the denotata are steadfast and can speak to anyone from any time when refracted through the lens of collage. Metaphors, too, are my savior, pliable enough to form them to my own particular situation, yet always manifesting in a way that is easily understood by others. Yes, my work is deeply personal; but the joy in collage (in fact, in all art) is how cathartic it can be to view a piece of art and extract from it your own meaning.
Working with the materials in my immediate environment has allowed me to immerse myself in the world around me. Instead of an old picture in a magazine, I see a story. Instead of a meaningless block of text, I see immediately how I might be able to alter it. Sometimes, I take items that do not seem to share a common ground and put them together in a harmonious way. At times, I have to push past the frustration of not finding the “perfect” picture by exploring how I might change an image by situating myself squarely in it. I hope to carry this insight into my future career as an art therapist and encourage others to put the seemingly discordant elements of their lives together in a harmonious way.