Photograph by Jussi Puikkonen

Studio Visit: Artist Florentijn Hofman and His Giant Rubber Duckie

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    Hofman, 36, is a Dutch artist who specializes in urban installations. Recent projects include a 30-meter-long aardvark (called The Party Aardvark) in Arnhem, Netherlands, and a 15-meter-long wooden rabbit (known as The Sunbathing Hare) in St. Petersburg, Russia.

    Photograph by Jussi Puikkonen
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    My work is about creating joy. I think places change by putting in a work of mine. People start laughing, stop cycling, get out of their cars.

    The first thing that’s really important in designing or making a concept or sculpture is time. I always say to my commissioners that I need at least three months. Sometimes the idea comes within one minute or an hour or on a toilet in 10 seconds. And sometimes it takes two months to come up with a good idea.

    Photograph by Jussi Puikkonen
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    We brought the duck to Hong Kong, and we had to test it before the actual exhibition. The people in Hong Kong found out where we did the testing—it was in this shipyard, like 20 minutes outside the city. People were queuing up with Taylor [Hobson] lenses shooting this rubber duck.

    Photograph by Jussi Puikkonen
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    I am working on a project in Shenzhen, opposite Hong Kong. It’s a great park, but the ocean view is this old Russian battleship. So I came up with a concept to make a sculpture with the ropes they use with boats, so I’m having some women who are good with crochet make the prototypes.

    Photograph by Jussi Puikkonen
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    By making huge sculptures, you downsize the human. It doesn’t matter if you’re 180 or 170 centimeters or 2 meters; you’re all small compared to my sculptures. That takes away our ego and makes us communicate easier with each other.

    Photograph by Jussi Puikkonen