Burien artist uses Italian monuments and manuscripts as inspiration for monoprints


by Eric Mathison

Maureen Hoffmann is well known around Burien.

Maybe it’s because she’s led Walk-n-Talks around town every month for many years as part of her activities with WABI (Walk/Bike) Burien.

Maybe it’s her countless hours helping her hometown become a better place. Her volunteer work led the Burien City Council to name her 2013’s Citizen of the Year.

Some people know her through her 45-year-long day job as a graphic designer. Since 2001, Maureen’s been working from her sound-view home. She worked from home before working from home was cool.

Some people are fascinated that she’s lived in Italy for a month or two every year since 2008. While there, Maureen still serves her graphic design clients despite the nine-hour time difference between Italy and the United States.

A few are aware that her educational paper models of Northwest Coast Basketry and Southwest Pueblo Pottery have been sold in Smithsonian Museum gift shops since way back in 1988.

But most people don’t know her as an artist.

Beginning Thursday, May 4, Maureen’s talent as an artist will be on display at the Highline Heritage Museum, 819 SW 152nd Street, Burien. Her exhibit titled “Italian Stone: Artist’s Muse” will run through June 30.

The museum is open Thursday-Sunday, 1-5 p.m. The exhibit is hosted by the Burien Arts Association.

Admission to Maureen’s exhibit is free. Her one-of-a-kind monoprints are available for purchase throughout the show.

On Friday, May 5, from 5-6 PM, there will be an opening reception for Maureen at the Museum .

Explains Maureen, “Merging my multiple loves for expression, I have pulled my 15 years of travel and 60,000 photos in Italy and combined them in graphic overlays for one-of-a-kind monoprints. Milan, Florence, Venice… Monuments and cobblestones… Manuscripts and textiles. These are a few of the lush details that I have combined in the 27 pieces on display.”

Maureen uses acrylic paint and a gel plate in her basement studio to overlay the photos and other imagery with graphic elements. She is especially excited about writings from a book she discovered in an Italian flea market. The book was stitched together of various documents written between 1570 and 1626.