Updated: Aug 26, 2020
Interview by Josh Walker
Inspired by the past, built in the present, and made for the future. This is Kurt Hofer, an inspiring young adult who curates surf and ceramic goods. Recently, we were able to ask Kurt a few questions about his different crafts.
Who are you and what do you do?
Kurt Hofer, 20 years old. I am an aspiring artists and craftsman from Southern California.
What exactly are you doing? How did you get started and who inspires who?
Since I was young, I guess I showed some artistic ability just when I was in art classes when I was very young but it wasn’t until middle school when I was going down to the beach with some friends boogie boarding body surfing I started getting into the craftsmanship aspect of using your hands and started off by making hand planes out of old skateboard decks and then making old retro style skateboards. It just went from there. I started making surfboards when I started surfing. I got into pottery when I got into high school and it just went from there. The biggest influence and inspiration through it all were my grandfather he is a carpenter by trade and he taught me everything I know about what it means to make everything with your hands. He kind of instilled that idea in me make it before you buy it. And the reward that comes through and from all that. So, when I was young and started making things, he was the perfect mentor. He had every tool I could ever imagine or need. The man is just a pure encyclopedia of any sort of craft. he is a jack of all trades and a pure handy man.
When it comes to crafting surfboards and throwing ceramics, is there an influence you take off of or certain people you look up to? What has inspired you?”
When it comes to ceramics and surfboard making I kind of always drive most inspiration from the past. Historic figures but more importantly those who were perusing and creating ideas that were unknown previously. Sharpers like Bob McTavish creating the V Bottom and all sorts of other wild mid lengths. Potters like Toshiko Takaezu with her really enclosed openings and cool earthen ware pottery. Those people to me are the most inspiring because they were pursuing things no one else had ever seen before. And I guess that is what is most influential and doing things that people have never seen and trying new things and I try to do that through all of my artwork and surfboards.
What advice would you give the next up and coming? And yourself?
To anyone aspiring to do anything or pursuing some sort of field I would say be unique. Do things that make you uncomfortable and do things that you never have seen before. Now if I was talking to myself years ago, I would tell myself to be a little bit more careful and have a bit cleaner of a workspace.
Mavericks or Cloud Break?
Wedge… Wedge at 10 am
Any final thoughts?
When you’re making things for any sort of people or any sort of target audience it’s really easy to get caught up in other people’s opinions and I think that is important to take into account but as an artist or craftsman or whatever you’re doing but some of the most important advice I received pretty recently from my Ceramics mentor Dio’nel, I was kind of tripping over this recent piece I had made thinking that it wasn’t what people would want or that it was too small, it wouldn’t hold enough fluid or whatever and he started laughing and was saying ‘you got it all wrong bro’ he says ‘you should make for yourself and just hope other people like it’ and I think that is the ultimate thing you live by…. As an artist make things for yourself and hope that other people enjoy it because ultimately, you’re the one making it.