Between two worlds: In one, there is freedom of thought, movement, dress. The other is regimented, military, and censored. I dine between both. Since 2004 I’ve been a policeman. I was a beat cop, narc, homicide detective, sniper and commanded a platoon. But WHO I am is an artist – living with one foot on each side; it makes for a cynical view of society.
I need you to get uncomfortable and pissed off at my work. A train wreck. All of it is commentary on people. When you see an oil painting of a murder scene, it SHOULD bother you. We are often moved by anger. It rips us out of complacency and forces us to do something other than simply post memes and bitch about how “inappropriate that painting was”. It is inappropriate that it is HAPPENING. It is real, it is raw, and it is only a few blocks away.
I want you to think about your emotions toward my work. Ultimately, what you get from it is yours alone, but I do have intent. Violence is so common that I have an almost humorous view of it. You knock on enough doors in the middle of the night; see enough toddler’s parents overdose; and hold men’s blood soaked hands, praying with them to a god you do not believe in until the light fades, and it all becomes boring. There is nothing sacred.
An artist’s job is to document his or her time and place. Culture, sex, race, violence, celebration, entitlement. This is New Orleans, and it is now.
Questions & Answers
Describe your art in three words.
Confrontational, Provocative, unorthodox.
Describe yourself in one word.
Charles Fuckin’ Hoffacker
What do you love the most about creating art in your community? What particular part of your immediate environment, in your neighborhood specifically influences your work?
My art greatly influences my community in challenging the status quo & traditional thinking. It offends & it helps. My paintings always involve social issues that are largely disregarded. I am lucky & cursed to have an internal view of the celebrated & despised aspects of New Orleans.
Describe your creative process. Are there any rituals or rites of passage you exercise before you begin a new piece?
As a police officer in New Orleans, there are things that I have seen that nobody should see. My painting is an outlet for witnessing those horrors. At the end of a shift, I can let it all go into a canvass; the brush the release but without the emotions that come from shootings, robberies, rape & murder, I might not have inspiration. It is a vicious cycle that gushes filth. Perhaps I will be cleansed one day but until then, I will create.
Where do you draw inspiration?
My inspiration is spawned from tragedy. Inspiration is the thought that my work might make even one person question the system, priorities, concerns. I am inspired by the celebration & tragedy seamlessly merged here. They are yin & yang. It is a symbiotic relationship.
Who are your artistic influences or gurus?
My favorite artist lately is Reederone (Michael Reeder). His work is graphic. His work replays the same images drawn from urban environments. I love his process. His work is much like my own in that it requires fabrication beyond simple painting.
Another favorite artist is Charles Beau Hoffacker. At the expense of sounding prideful, I am pleased with how much my work has grown as an artist. I am proud of how it influences thought locally and internationally. I am pleased with the direction it is going. I am excited to see its evolution. My work has become an investment for clients but also myself.
Where can we find you when you are not creating art?
While not in the studio, I am at my other job- employment with the NOPD- currently assigned to the homicide division. Those two worlds are oppositional but synonymous. Standing over a soulless body is no different that overlooking a blank canvass. It’s eyes are blank without emotion or life. There is potential to bring closure to a family. There is the potential that another murderer can be locked down & unable to continue. There is the potential that after days & weeks of creating work, an audience might be offended enough to confront their priorities. Perhaps they will care more about the murder epidemic right here at home.
What is something people don’t know about you? A fun fact.
Despite my career in the police department- a firearms instructor, sniper/Overwatch & the subject matter of my work, I hate guns.
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Where You Can Find My Work
All works listed online are available to be viewed at Where y’Art Works Gallery by appointment.