Artist illustrates life in 1940s America


Meagan Falcon

Web editor

Meagan Falcon/Foghorn
Richard Chandler Hoff shows off one of his drawings from his lecture “Are Shadows Not Substantial Things?” on April 22.

Nationally recognized guest artist Richard Chandler Hoff visited Del Mar College on April 22 to introduce students to his beautiful illustrations of life in America during the 1940s.

The lecture covered his artistic work, “Are Shadows Not Substantial Things?” Hoff displayed dozens of images of his artwork on a slideshow and explained to students the backstories of each drawing. Each drawing was done in graphite pencil on paper.

“I draw my artwork in graphite pencil so that it can match up to a black and white photograph,” Hoff said. “I believe it is appropriate because a lot of photographs in the ’40s were black and white due to the fact that color photography was still in its infancy.”

His lifelong love of drawing is revealed in meticulously designed drawings of life in America during the 1940s. Hoff captures the essence of life on the “home front,” and depicts popular architectural and social icons of that particular era to create scenes of places where Americans gathered to pursue the fine art of having fun.

What many find fascinating about Hoff is that he creates his artwork from the inspiration of written and verbal stories as well as photographs given to him by others.

“When my research is complete, I make preliminary sketches from the selected photos,” Hoff said. “It is at this point a character’s facial expressions, hairstyles and clothing are altered to support my concept. Every element, large and small, fuses together with light and shadow in a seamless composition that convinces the viewer he is a witness to an actual moment in time.”

The drawings are visual folktales he creates to illustrate the style and romance, which withstood the brutality of a world war. Hoff’s work has been featured in American Artist and Drawing magazines and included in the prestigious Pennsylvania Art of the State competition for four consecutive years. His artwork is also featured in his new book, “Inventing History — Cherished Memories of Good Times that Never Happened.”

Individuals can view Hoff’s and other artists’ entries selected for this year’s National Drawing and Small Sculpture Show in the Cain Gallery from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 9 a.m. to noon on Fridays through May 8.

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