five senses from my world: steph hoff, creative director

Five senses from New York-based creative director Steph Hoff's world. 

Steph Hoff is a multidisciplinary creative and commercial artist as well as the creative director for Moose Knuckles Canada, an 'irreverent, anti-fashion, luxury brand specialising in outerwear.' Currently based in New York, her expansive knowledge and experience of marketing, new media, creative production, branding and trend forecasting has been sought by numerous brands far and wide throughout Canada and the US. Steph's utilizing and authentic approach is evident in all that she does: from her handmade quilts that have been a creative outlet since childhood, to her inspiration reference points that stem from anti-establishment mentalities, 1960's sci-fi movies and everything in between. Here she shares five definitive senses from her world.

1

Blankets were probably one of my earliest mediums as an artist. 

My mom grew up in a small town outside of Toronto that borders a Mennonite and Amish community. She used to love going to the quilt auctions out there, and as a result we had a pretty big collection of handmade quilts at my home when I was growing up – my sister and I used to make these massive forts in the living room out of couch cushions and quilts. It was super informative. 

2

The Mennonite way of life is an extreme contrast to modern society - bold minimalism in a noisy, fast-paced and vapid world.

Last summer I went to live on a farm in Waterloo County, Ontario, for four months and was drawn to their uniqueness and insular way of living. It was inspiring, and quilts became our common ground - a shared love and familiarity that allowed us to collaborate as artists despite our many differences. All the fabrics were locally sourced, and feature both modern and traditional Mennonite designs. Each piece took roughly 80 hours to produce and was made without the aid of any machinery.

3

I love the labor of listening to a cassette. 

I'd rather put on a cassette tape than an MP3 -  popping it into the player, pressing down a button, and fast forwarding or rewinding to a song. It creates a deeper more sensory connection to the music. It’s for this reason that hand sketches, curation of found items, and collage are a part of my creative process. I hope to achieve a sensory relationship to my art or idea to create depth, even if the end product is a computer graphic on a website.

4

1960’s science fiction movies, Hate Comics, sarcasm, Patti Smith’s literature, Ennio Morricone, beautiful faces, Tokyo, car rides with my mom, David Lynch, clean sheets, 16-year old skateboarders, punk fashion all feed my mind.

My upbringing was shaped by rich multiculturalism, blue collar angst, lack of supervision, and my mom’s infectious ridiculousness. I grew up in a very blue collar household, with a single mother in and around the greater Toronto area. My mom is one of the most juvenile, playful and unconventional people I’ve ever known. 

5

I was and continue to be innately drawn to the unusual and unruly, to counter-culture and rebellion.

I can remember when I was a really little kid seeing punks with mohawks, hand painted leather jackets and facial piercings and thinking, 'man that’s so cool'. It started out with simply wanting to look and act different than my peers, and has evolved into an atypical creative process, a constant quest for revolutionary ideas. Mennonites are kind of punk. They might cringe to read that, but at a very base level their belief system is based on antiestablishment attitudes, and their way of dressing it pretty awesome and out there.

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