Monday, October 4, 2010

Perry Hoffman and Mayah Martin

One wall in the Tile House.
Perry Hoffman

An early morning drive east into the rising sun led me to the Tile House in Wonder Valley and the wizard of “AHHHHH’s”, Perry Hoffman.   Perry Hoffman is number 2 on the Hwy 62 Art Tours.  You will find Wonder Valley a perfect starting place for your first weekend of art adventures.  From the entry chain link fence adorned with desert finds,  past the trail of broken pottery and tile,  and through the multicolored gate,  visual stimulation never stops in this eclectic studio/home/retreat.  A work in progress, The Tile House is a never ending story that Perry and his husband, Doug Smith, keep adorning, augmenting, and embellishing.
A mosaic artist, Perry began his art directions in 1st grade with a crayon drawing of a female nude  and after getting in trouble for this he never looked back and has been exploring artistic directions ever since.  A student at Cal Arts in the 70’s, he and fellow classmates created a graffiti wall in the dormitory which resulted in admonishment from the administration ~ today Cal Arts has an entire wing dedicated to the art of graffiti.

Living part time in Santa Barbara and part time in Wonder Valley, Hoffman has established a well worn path of inspiration and draws on the wonder of nature from the desert to the sea.  He collects Mexican hand made tiles, smalti (Italian small tile), broken pottery, ceramic figures  and other “treasures” at yard sales, thrift stores, the beach, and desert back roads.  From these finds he creates mosaic shrines and wall art that also incorporate his own handmade ceramic tiles and sculptural pieces.  Each work draws from daily meditation and then without the hindrance of sketches or plans he allows the pieces at hand to influence his designs.

When he is not creating he is teaching (two or three times a year Perry gives Mosaic Workshops in Wonder Valley and Santa Barbara) or learning (he recently returned from a trip to Utila, Honduras where he studied  glass fusion under Neil Keller of Jade Seahorse).  Glowing from a recent 1st place garnered at “Lantination” , a show at the Metro Galleries in Bakersfield,  Perry Hoffman  feels that he is the recipient of an incredible amount of good fortune and takes this as a constant reminder that he is going in the right direction.  This is his 9th year on the HWY62 ART  TOURS and this year he shares his space with fellow mosaic artist and sculptor Mayah Martin.
Perry Hoffman. Paper weights.

Mayah Martin moved to the desert from Maine where she was a rustic furniture craftsman.  Trained at the Omega Institute by Daniel Mack, she used birch bark, bent willow and other materials culled from nature to repurpose antique furniture.  After moving to the desert she began working at The Pottery in Yucca Valley and turned her focus to ceramics. An attendee at one of  Perry Hoffman’s mosaic workshops she then began incorporating tile into her work.
Mayah Martin, At Prayers
Mayah Martin inspecting greenware.
Inspired by her spiritual path Mayah’s pieces are all deity related, drawing from all religions.  In shrines, mosaics, incense burners, and small sculptures her attention to detail is evident in the faces of the deities and the placement of the tile.   She works on several pieces at a time, and surrounds herself in a circle of  work;  mosaic, sculpture, or combinations of both.  She enjoys the fun of working in clay and likens it to sandbox therapy.   Mayah has had shows at the Glass Outhouse Gallery in Wonder Valley and at Crossroads in Joshua Tree.  This year, her third on the Art Tours, she will show  the first weekend with Perry Hoffman and the second weekend  at the  studio of Eric Muller in Pioneer Town (number 57).

 written by Mita Barter

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