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Viva Hoffmann

In the 60s I spent some time at the Art Students' League in New York, worked as a model, and acted in a couple of Warhol movies before being told by Paul Morrissey that painting was dead and anyway, I was a "performing genius" — the irony that Andy himself was painting up a storm apparently not occurring to me. At a Tim Leary book signing party the Vice President of Putnam Brothers asked me to write a book, so in Gore Vidal's spare bedroom in Rome I wrote the first couple of chapters of "Superstar." Meanwhile I'd acted in a few European films, gotten married, gave birth to Alexandra, and met Christopher Isherwood who told me anybody can write a first book, the trick is to write a second. Accordingly, I wrote "The Baby," published by Knopf.

I acted in a few more movies, obtained a divorce and had another baby, in that order. I put my children to work as actresses while I practiced journalism and then one day I bought some canvases and headed for the park, propping the stretcher against Gaby's stroller. I was unable to use her as a ballast because she insisted on getting down on the grass and painting on the spare canvas so I had to buy an easel. In 1998 an architect I knew began buying my paintings. When his wife advised that I quit writing and paint full time, always eager to drop one thing and pick up another on the merest suggestion, I plunged ahead.

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