Hoffman-HeadshotAt Benefit v.15, Win Back Your Weekend with an art-all-weekend party that includes Young Professionals Night on Friday, February 6, the VIP Preview and Main Event on Saturday, February 7, and an art pickup party on Sunday, February 8. Art collectors, experienced and fledgling alike, can immerse themselves in this Philadelphia art-world in miniature, where pieces in every medium and at every price point are just a smartphone click away.

We talk to collector and Benefit Committee member Bryan Hoffman. In the cacophony of a busy coffee shop on a rainy day we discuss his company Hoffman Design Group, collecting artwork, Philadelphia’s cultural relationship, and curating his own timeline.

Tell me about Hoffman Design?

We are a horticultural display design company. Our clients are mostly commercial accounts, we provide aesthetics for offices, hotels, retail centers – including plants, flowers, display items, and corporate art both interior and exterior. We also do big holiday displays. We started as a plant business and it just grew up into this whole design concept. I think it’s important to interrupt the day to day in an office space and make the people working there aware of their surroundings, whether it’s a new flower arrangement, or a new painting or piece of decoration. I think putting that interruption in front of people causes them to think more creatively.

What work are you doing with InLiquid?

I got on the committee for the Benefit last year and I stayed on this year to help introduce InLiquid to more corporate clients. If companies are looking for local Philadelphia artists I’ll point them in Rachel [Zimmerman, the Executive Director]’s direction. A lot of corporate clients aren’t even aware of Crane Arts. It’s not in their realm of consciousness. That’s what I wanted to bring to the table

What do you think about Philadelphia in terms of its corporate world and its communication or lack thereof with Philadelphia’s art community?

I think it’s right there for someone to make happen. It’s a great opportunity to bridge the gap. It’s like the displays we do for the [Philadelphia] Flower Show. We started doing displays in the lobby of large commercial buildings and thousand of tenants see these displays and become engaged with the Flower Show. I can take advantage of the gap between the city and its culture.

Can you tell me a little about the work you collect? What kind of work are you interested in?

I have an office, a beach house, and my house, and I have a lot of art I’ve been collecting over the years. I’m not just interested in fine art. It’s objects, things salvaged from the industrial and agricultural past. I like to create vignettes and tell stories of how these pieces work together. We have old iron gates and a painting working together. Things can go together really well and it’s self-expression. We have a horticultural design center / holiday showroom and some of the work gets featured there. I like being able to have a collection of things that inspire other people to think it doesn’t just have to be a thing on the wall.

Your collection acts as an introduction to your style and design perspective to clients?

To me the collection and the work I put on the walls is all about personal expression and everything I have has a sentimental value to me. It tells a story about a place I was in in the world or a place I was mentally.

Do you have any advice for people looking to start a collection of their own?

I think if it’s something you’re interested in doing it’s important to think of it as something you are collecting over time. You can get started by making one purchase a year of something that has an impact on you. I think then over time you can look back and say, “Wow, this is my collection.” And that’s when it’s really going to mean something, when it’s a personal statement about a time in your life. Also I think if you see something and you can get it you should do it. I learned a long time ago that if I see something and it speaks to me, get it. I still think of pieces I didn’t buy, that I could’ve bought but I didn’t. So if it’s in your power to get it, do it.

Join us at Benefit v.15 on Saturday, February 7. Click here to purchase tickets at the advance price. Or join us for Young Professionals Night on Friday, February 6.

Eli Smith

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