Born in New Orleans, Stephan Hoffpauir received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Louisiana State University and has worked as a licensed architect, freelance illustrator, educator and painter. For the last decade the artist’s work has focused on 20th century vernacular New Orleans architecture, a building genre unfamiliar to outsiders but instantly recognizable to locals. His photorealistic watercolors invite the viewer to contemplate spaces that, while familiar, are largely ignored by those who fleetingly pass through them.
Among his subjects are the area’s suburban parking lots, quasi-urban and quintessentially American spaces with an inherently surreal quality. Drawing on the tradition of 16th century Dutch landscapes, he focuses on environments whose overriding topographical feature is an expansive flatness, where buildings seem divorced from their immediate surroundings yet maintain an intense relationship to the sky, like objects caught between heaven and earth. These paintings also allow the artist to explore the ways in which retail commerce and the automobile have reshaped the area’s landscape.