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‘Dueling Artists’ compete at Cleveland WorkSpace

CLAUDIA HOFFER, right, won the “Dueling Artists” competition at the Cleveland WorkSpace’s open studio night. Hoffer went up against Carie Varner, left, in the studio’s first competition event.

The Cleveland WorkSpace hosted a rather unique Open Studio Night Friday, as community members were treated to the studio’s first “Dueling Artists” event.

Resident artists Carie Varner and Claudia Hoffman went head-to-head in an art battle, where their subject stuck with the open studio theme of “Full Circle.”

For both Varner and Hoffman, Friday marked the first time they had ever competed in a live art duel.

“It’s because Claudia and I are bitter enemies,” joked Varner.

HOFFER’S ABSTRACT take on the “Dueling Artists” challenge earned her bragging rights for the night.

“Claudia and I are very good friends . She actually came up with the idea to do some kind of a live demo. Then we decided it would be more fun to do it together and decided that battling was more fun than just doing a demo.”

Varner stuck close to her roots during the art duel, and went the oil painting route.

“Some of these oil paints were my mom’s. The tradition has been passed along and my daughter actually (had) art hanging in the show – so art is very important. It’s a family thing,” she explained.

Hoffman, who has been at the WorkSpace for over a year now, felt Varner had an edge as far as experience went, but was confident with her abstract style.

“I’m experimenting with a lot of different styles, but right now I’m into abstract — that’s what I’ve been focusing on a lot with my painting,” she said.

THIS WAS CARIE Varner’s completed “Dueling Artists” painting.

For Hoffman, getting the community more involved with the Cleveland WorkSpace and art scene is especially important.

“The arts are just a foundation of any community,” Hoffman stated.

The Cleveland WorkSpace opened in June 2016 and features five studios, two public galleries and a community room.

“This space is really by artists for artists. Everything you see is what they’ve created and decided on — they put a lot into this space,” Joy Key said.

Open Studio Nights are held on the second Friday of each month, with the next one Oct. 13, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. The theme is “Gothic.”

For more information visit

Artists interested in submitting work may contact

This article was originally published at Cleveland Daily Banner.

Carie Varner

Carie Varner has been art-ing for most of her life, including oil painting since high school. She graduated from the American Academy of Art in Chicago, IL with a BFA in Life Drawing and a minor in Sculpture.

Varner and art have a on again, off again love affair, but this latest roump has been 7 + years and she has not wanted to put down the paint brush yet.

“Everything changed after having my daughter, as such things do,” says Varner. “And I want to bring as much creativity and joy into the world as I can. To do that, I make art.”

Her main focus is oil, although she has started venturing into the “scary” world of water color. Art is about bravery sometimes she states. Varner enjoys working in oil paint to create unique images of pop culture icons and popular science-fiction creatures.

To contact her about any of her work or commissions, email her at or send a FB message to

If you would like to support her as a patron, visit her Patreon account at