Interview with Vivi Hoffmanns – The 3rd Place Winner


Title: John Petrucci from Dream Theater

Dimensions: 40 x 60cm

Base: Schoellershammer 4G

(Reference photo by Bert Treep)

Vivi Hoffmanns, The Netherlands DSCN4668 (2)

This was a very expressive and fascinating portrait of musician, John Petrucci. The emotions were transferred very well onto the canvas with delicate airbrushing skills; earning it the 3rd place prize from our judges. In our interview with the creator, Vivi Hoffmanns from The Netherlands, we learn about her background, inspiration and experience.

Sparmax: Tell us about your artwork.

Vivi: I tried to capture musician John Petrucci’s passion and soul in this portrait. When I choose a photo, It has to be a photo which tells me about the person’s character on stage or how I see this person. The reference photo was taken by Bert Treep during a concert.

Sparmax: Tell us about your background. When was your first time to know airbrushing? When did you start learning and where?

Vivi: In 2012 I went to Henk van den Hooven to try if airbrush would be my cup of tea after seeing a photo of an airbrush work from a friend on social media. Once a  week during a three hours group course with a long coffee break (due to having lots of fun), Henk taught me the airbrush basics. I didn’t attend a lot of classes because of my company’s activities (I give floral workshops, workshops how to make sculptures, create bridal flowers and mourning pieces etc.) and soon I had to quit the course due to lack of time. I bought my first Harder&Steenbeck airbrush and used my husband’s compressor. In our garage I spent some hours of airbrushing and from January 2013 on I’ve been airbrushing on a regular basis. I started airbrushing portraits because  I wanted to really understand the airbrush art (sort out what happens if you put layers on layers, mix colours in the cup or on the board, how to create effects etc). In September 2013 I attended Marissa’s portrait class and I learned a lot and I bought an Iwata airbrush! In September 2014 I attended Marissa’s Fantasy class and that’s it, I haven’t attended more courses yet. I like to think that you control and understand airbrush if you are capable of painting a realistic portrait and if you are able to capture a character. I see these portraits as my studies to learn all about airbrushing.

Sparmax: What inspires you for your airbrushing works?

Vivi: In the first place: Music! I love to catch a musicians’ soul and passion in my portraits with my passion for the (airbrush) art. I had banned music out of my life for twelve years due to circumstances but since 4 years (progressive rock) music has been a significant part of my life. Marillion brought music back into my life and was the first band I listened to. “Beautiful” was the song that made me crack. Dream Theater was the second band I started listening to. “Vivi meets prog” was my theme for the exhibitions I attended in Rosmalen and Grefrath and it was to honour the bands who’s music helped me to give things that happened in my life a place.

Sparmax: What’s your dream/target/goal for airbrushing? What do you try to achieve?


-Create from within myself (and I have started already), inspired by life in its biggest meaning and stop being a copy machine

-I would love to touch people with my artwork

-It would be a dream come true if artists/writers etc. would come to me and want my art on their albums/books or merchandise etc.

-I would love to have my own exhibition in a gallery!!!

Sparmax: What does Airbrushing mean to you?

Vivi: Airbrush means everything to me. Creating art in general is very important to me. It helps me put things in the right perspective and keeps me focussed on what is really important to me in life.

Sparmax: How do you know “when” you finished an airbrushing artwork?

Vivi: I don’t know when an airbrush artwork is finished… I think when I’ve captured what I intended to capture… but it is never perfect because I ALWAYS see what could have been done better! So still loads and loads to learn!

Sparmax: Please give some advice to the beginners who just enter the airbrushing world.

Vivi: Don’t rush, airbrush thin layers and add LOADS of layers.

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