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Meet Sherman Oaks California Artist: Miranda Hoffs

Today we’d like to introduce you to Miranda Hoffs.

Miranda, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was raised in Nashville, where I grew my roots in the world of hospitality, cooking for friends and family, hosting dinner parties, and helping to plan weddings and social events of all shapes and sizes, all while working toward a degree in Art from Vanderbilt University. In 2010, I was the grant recipient of the Margaret Stonewall Wooldridge Hamblet Award for my thesis exhibition, which allowed me the opportunity to move to Los Angeles.

Upon landing in LA, I began working as an Assistant and Personal Chef and embarked on my MFA at the California Institute of the Arts. During my time at CalArts, I focused my art practice on my interest in hospitality, creating works centered on food and the body, including a performative endurance baking piece, a text-based cupcake sculpture, and the construction and operation of a working Bed & Breakfast in an art gallery on campus. I also curated and hosted a series of art + music “salons”, and played an integral role in the organization and planning of several CalArts exhibitions.

Upon graduating, I had the realization that my interest and experience in art, cuisine + hospitality were truly one in the same, which led to the development of my all-inclusive hospitality + social planning venture, Miranda Hoffs Events.

Today, I treat my business and my art practice as one–carefully considering the aesthetics and fine details in order to create artfully curated finished pieces and events.

Has it been a smooth road?
Because I treat my business in the same way that I treat my artwork, I find that I want to see the projects through all the way from beginning to end. By working this way, I can ensure that the product has a certain level of artistry and professionalism, however, it means that with larger events, the work can be quite time-consuming.

As a result, I have brought in a few talented and trusted employees who make up my core creative team. Together, we are able to take on weddings, bar mitzvahs, dinners, and receptions large and small.

Have you ever felt like giving up?
For me, those moments where it seems like everything is about to fall apart, literally and emotionally, are the moments that actually keep me going. Every time I have an event I go through the same exact cycle–every time.

Here is what the stages of my inner monologue sound like as I move through the process:

1. This will be a lot of work, but I feel confident it will be great as long as I plan my time well.
2. This is going to be a breeze! I have plenty of time. I don’t know what I was worried about. Maybe I’ll even make three or four extra pieces/dishes!
3. Oh My God, what have I done? There is no way that I can pull this off, and I have no more time and I’ve just ruined this person’s wedding/bar mitzvah/fancy dinner, and they are going to hate me and I’m going to be so embarrassed I’ll never work again.

Then, everything ends up working beautifully–every time. It always works out, and the end result is always as good or better than I had imagined it would be. The adrenaline, or fear, that I feel during that last step always coincides with crunch time, and it is that moment that pushes me into fight mode. After having been through this emotional cycle so many times now, I’ve tried to work out strategies to avoid it–allowing extra time for prep and setup, bringing assistants in as needed, and that has definitely helped in diminishing that third part. That being said, no matter what I do, I still always end up going through some version of the same cycle. While I would prefer for it to be less stressful (and trust me, it has gotten easier!), I know that that final wave of anxiety in the 11th hour provides the motivation and push that I need in order to really kick ass and do a great job.

What would you tell someone who is just starting out?
As an artist working in a city with so many wonderfully creative people, most likely, you will need more than one source of income to make a living. When I was first getting my business going, I was also working full time as an assistant and took on other contracted creative jobs here and there. I should also mention that I was simultaneously earning my MFA in Art at CalArts, and as I write this, I am on a business trip to Miami as I am now the Admissions Counselor for the School of Art. For me, my company is part and parcel of my art practice, and it provides me with income as well as a regular creative outlet.

Secondly, as much as I hate to say it, when everyone says that networking is key, they are correct, especially when referring to being an entrepreneur with a new business. The reality is that no matter how amazing you and your artisanal cupcakes or perfectly curated vintage finds or [insert product/service] are, if people don’t know that you exist, then, well, you won’t. What this means is that in the early stages, you need to let your friends, family and anyone else who will listen know exactly what you are up to. In my experience, this also meant that in the beginning, I offered my services for friends and family at cost, making little to no profit, and in a couple cases, I found myself at a financial loss. While I certainly wouldn’t recommend losing money on your venture, the exposure, experience and documentation that I gained from these dinner parties, housewarmings, art openings and wedding receptions was invaluable and allowed me to get to a place where I can be choosier about which jobs I take on.

Additionally, while this advice may also be a bit trite, it is also true.

1. Don’t do it because you think you’re going to get rich–only do it if you genuinely love the work.
2. Be patient. It takes time to get where you want to be, and in LA, it takes a lot of time.
3. Learn to ask for help and learn to say no.

Is there something you are particularly excited about or working towards?
I really enjoy the kind of work that I do, so truthfully, I always look forward to the next event. Recently, I created comic themed decor for a bar mitzvah at the Skirball Center, which was really fun and new for me. I love that every job comes with a totally different set of challenges and each time, it’s so exciting and magical to see the final event come together.

On a personal note, I am going to Mexico City over the holidays this year, where I will also be celebrating my 30th (!) birthday with my partner and a couple close friends. I’m super excited about going, as I’ve wanted to visit DF forever. I can’t wait to see all the pyramids, and all the amazing art and history, and mostly, of course, eat absolutely everything in sight. Feliz Navidad y cumpleanos a mi!

Contact Info:

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