Brady Walker: Can you please introduce yourself to our readers?
Hafftka: I have been an artist for 50 years. I would say the subject matter of my work is the human condition. I express myself in visuals that are not illustrative or realistic, yet they create the basis for people to relate emotionally.
BW: Tell me about the piece you’re bringing to Miami with MakersPlace & Transient Labs.
H: This is a piece that I can’t describe in words (like many of my works), I can tell you what I see, which is two humans, one inside the other, like Russian nesting dolls. But what the meaning is depends on each viewer, and as more interpretations are given the greater the work is in my eyes.
BW: Is there anything special about this piece in the context of your body of work?
H: This work was a breakthrough for me in some respects. In the overall picture of all my work I have many such breakthroughs so this is not unique to just this work. But many times after a period of working in the same vein for a while, I have a breakthrough that gets me to the next stage. Before painting this painting I have done digital works, watercolors and some oil paintings from models or photos. This painting was me merging realism with color and form to express myself.
BW: Can you share any specific rituals or practices that help you maintain your creative momentum?
H: I wouldn’t describe myself as having rituals, unless of course two cups of coffee upon waking can be considered a ritual. I am mostly a spontaneous person who gets uncomfortable with advance plans. But I insist on working every day and if ever I have a day in which I can’t work it makes me feel bad. I am committed to working. If I lose myself and don’t know what to create, I might change the medium to get me going. New mediums bring with them excitement and challenges that I love and which help me stay creative.
BW: How much planning or preliminary thought goes into each painting?
H: None. That doesn’t mean there is nothing before a painting. I do not think or plan before painting. It’s more like meditation, getting in the mood. So to the outside onlooker it might look like I do nothing at all before I paint, just sit, or walk, but really, it is a mental preparation without clear images or ideas. That period of meditative state is extremely important and I couldn’t paint without it.
BW: How would you describe how your work is currently evolving?
H: It is easy for me to look back and see how much my work developed over the years, I can even break it up into periods, although those overlap a lot. But it is very hard for me to tell where I am going. It is as much a surprise to me as to anyone. My goal is to be just as creative as I get older as I was as a young man. As a young artist you might be louder, more extreme, maybe provocative, and as an older artist the creativity takes a more subtle form and can have greater depth.
BW: What do you hope people feel when they look at your art?
H: I feel rewarded when my work talks to people. They can see different things in it and I always find it interesting to find out what it is they see or feel. I don’t have specific expectations of what I want people to feel or see, what matters to me most is that a painting talks to them. I have many collectors who fall in love with a work, obviously they like that one more than all the others, and the connection they feel to that work is my reward.
BW: What role does physical art play in the broader web3 art ecosystem?
H: This question is very much of the time, where separation between web3 and physical art is so dramatic. This separation is artificial and it is the result of financial interests and manipulation. There is no real difference between art of this kind or art of another kind. The difference is in the markets. Those markets are now separate for the most part, but that is temporary.
BW: Who or what else excites you in the art world (web3 or trad) right now?
I see a lot more diversity in web3 than in the trad art which I find very exciting. There are great artists in both worlds but on the whole, the diversity in web3 allows for more discovery and variety.