T here are few things more powerful than an individual who finds their inner strength. It is this strength that enables one to navigate the
outside world and the vicissitudes of life.
At 20 years old and homeless, it was the gift of a paint set and easel that presented Patrick Hofmeister with a path to find his inner strength. Through art, the San Jose native discovered a compulsion to create, thus giving himself a sense of purpose and determination. Patrick immersed himself in the many different styles that came his way, first absorbing the likes of painter Mars-1 and pop surrealist Greg Simkins, among many others. Like Simkins, Patrick dabbled in graffiti at an early age. While he didn’t commit to developing his skills in this style, elements of graffiti gradients still influence his work.
The overwhelming variety of artistic expression in the world filled Patrick with awe. Though it would be many years before he developed his own stylistic niche, he knew he had discovered the vehicle for self-expression and his purpose in life: “I didn’t have shit going on for me, and I was so engrossed with advancing my skill set, I made the decision that there was no plan B. I was going to be a successful artist or die broke trying.” Now 37, he continues to create within this mindset. In 2010, Patrick developed the personal mantra: “Dream Daringly, Execute Fearlessly.” In turn, this gave birth to DDEF, a seven-artist-strong collective he founded in 2013, with a working studio space in the Heritage Millworks warehouse in downtown San Jose.
Nothing else matters. I’m full. That level of accomplishment for me lets me know this is where I need to stay. It’s pure.
Patrick’s body of work mirrors the mad intake of influences in his early years. While his style definitely falls within surrealist parameters, he can adapt his skills to a variety of mediums, calling upon many techniques, styles, and influences. His geometric pattern and motif design work has been used on everything from custom shoes, furniture, cars, and murals, to large paintings on wood and canvas. The deeper surrealism work, which often marries his pattern work and free-flowing lines, is usually done in acrylic, oil, or spray paint.
Patrick pours himself into his work. Even with commissioned items, he becomes absorbed in self-reflection and can only work on one piece at a time. “These pieces tend to be more emotionally driven than concept driven. They consume me,” he says. One commissioned piece, Time, shows off Patrick’s surrealist style with a bell reverberating over water, sending ripples to the shore where different creatures gather and forests come in from all corners. An antelope dressed as a monk sits cross-legged at the edge as orbs of light float above his outstretched palms, and large snails whose heads have been replaced with human hands in the apana mudra posture occupy the foreground. Patrick’s brush strokes and lines are alive with movement and energetic intention, producing a feeling of movement toward the center, all while a
galaxy swirls in the background.
It is one thing to find and hone your inner voice, it is another to do so along a path that is neither straight nor easy. Patrick has found it imperative to keep true to himself and accept rejection, to grow and blaze his own path in San Jose’s burgeoning art scene. With over 300 pieces, including 30 murals and a spectacular renovation of Tandoori Fusion Grill on Santa Clara Street, it is evident his dedication has paid off. In December of last year, Patrick won a commission in conjunction with the nonprofit Local Color to adorn the Third Street parking garage with a 3,500-square-foot mural. This win was a moment that validated all the hard work he has put into his art career and confirmed that the path he blazed for himself was the right path. At the end of the day, however, it is the pure relationship he has with his work that speaks to him deeply. “The times that I feel most like I’m on the right path are when I’m alone and just about finished with a project I’m proud of,” he shares. “Nothing else matters. I’m full. That level of accomplishment for me lets me know this is where I need to stay. It’s pure.”