Stefan Hofmann : SPACECRAFT

Todd Heath / Bomb Snow Magazine

BS:  You moved to Bali on a college grant and basically turned an art project into a profitable business. Do you remember a specific time when you realized, WOW, this is actually going to work out! On the contrary, has there been a time when you wanted to give up because things weren’t working?

Stefan: Making it happen has been an act of willpower and continues to be. I have always imagined Spacecraft to be a Trans Am with bald tires going 102 mph around the corner in icy conditions with a damn good driver. Anything could happen and usually does. There are moments when it comes together and moments I would like to walk away – it’s a ton of work but I love it at the end of the day. Sarah O’Brien my Business partner is a dragon slayer without her we would not be here.

BS:  Can you explain the process you have going in Bali? From what I’ve read, most of your clothing has been made there, and you have a great working relationship with the people.

Stefan: Presently we make all our handmade hats in Bali and our accessories like belts and wallets; we also build a lot of art there. Bali has been an amazing spot to grow from, they allow for small orders and work hard to get them right, most shops are truly cottage industry; orders go straight to the families and make a big difference in their lives. They have become like family to me over the years.  It’s an amazing set up—the hats are made in the mountains, spread over 21 villages and 6000 knitters, many villages connected only by single track trails. It is a much different pace of life here. It really is a magical spot and an amazing place to interact in and support.  Think mystical kung fu village nestled next to a volcano high atop misty mountains in the middle of the jungle.

BS: Can you tell us a little about the Bali School Fund Project?

Stefan: We take a portion of the proceeds from the sticker sheets and similar projects to give back to the communities we make things in. The money goes directly to families to pay for tuition for their kids. Very cool to see how excited they get about this opportunity.

BS: Lets focus on what’s happening with Spacecraft in the present. We’ve heard of a traveling art show that focuses not only on your famous “sticker-packs” but also some original prints and artwork for sale. What’s going on?

Stefan: We are building it now, the imagery is from the last year or so, and the images are applied to wooden boxes through various methods: Silk screen, print, paint, drawing etc. All the work will be for sale, the show looks like it will stop in about 6 or 7 cities. It’s looking good. We can’t wait to get it out.

BS: I’ve seen a recent art show where you focus on typography, as well as screen-printed art. What are you working with now, and what are some mediums/processes you’ve experimented with in the pas

Stefan: I studied sculpture and art history in school. I never have thought of myself as a specific kind of artist, whatever medium is most effective in communicating a particular idea is the one I use. Metal fabrication is where I started. I’ve moved on to photography and lots of computer time these days. I have been working with the small studios in Bali to make things for quite a while as well.

BS: Spacecraft has grown exponentially over the last couple of years. How have you dealt with this massive expansion?

Stefan: It really has been a ton of work. It’s been insane, but fun. We’re trying to focus on getting systems in place to handle the growth; ghetto teching it to make the most of the money and resources. There are no short cuts I have come by yet.

BS:  Is it true that as your company expands, you actually have more free time to pursue your goals?

Stefan: I’m pushing for that, and it seems more possible than ever before, but we are still in the concept phase.

BS:  Now that you’re expanding operations all over the world, what new products should we expect from Spacecraft in the near future? Are you still re-using materials for your products?

Stefan: New products?… We’re really just perfecting what we do, and working to refine our process with product and art. Making the best hats on the planet and dialing out the clothing. Definitely into the recycle program out of Bali, lots of used materials like bike inner tubes and washed trash, rice bags etc. I’m headed to Bali soon for the summer I will be scouting new materials, so I’ll be scouting out new materials then.

BS: When is the best time for you to create? Do you keep a sketchbook handy? Do you have an art-specific studio?

Stefan: Being creative these days is a challenge with business pounding on the door, but I tend to retreat to loud music in ‘head phone land’ on the computer. It starts from a seed idea and I develop through quick sketches into refined images. I am getting a studio together in Bali; the plan is to rent one of the old clothing factories, build a loft for living at one end and use the prior factory floor for the studio. We have one floor of our offices here in Seattle devoted to projects at the moment. I long to have a space devoted to the creative process and am working to get it in place now.

BS:  Do you have an ultimate goal as an artist and visionary for your company?

Stefan: The goal of the work has always been to communicate with the viewer—the company came about from this impulse to move images on to stickers and clothing as a way to mobilize design and idea.  I will paste my artist statement up from our web site. . .it’s under the art tab there. –

“The visual annunciation of ideas represents the most ubiquitous form of communication. We are confronted with over 100,000 images a day containing information. This kind of saturation has created a visually astute culture; capable of “seeing” complete ideas at a glance.

My work is a distillation of meaning. Confronted with the irreconcilability of life its divine implications and its violence; I work to build a bridge constructed from archetypal iconography clad in a pop sensibility. I enjoy creating these narrative structures with multiple levels of meaning. Each image a vignette from a larger unfolding story; I work to capture the concise moment of transition in these stories capable of translating insight and change into this space.”

The ultimate goal would be to gain a larger audience and effect change in the world as well as insight into those moments when intense curiosity or imagination is sparked.

BS: Do you feel like Guerilla tactics are still the best form of advertising your brand?

Stefan: Guerilla tactics are a part of who we are. I have always appreciated street art and its ability to confront the general public outside the confines of the gallery scene. I love being out late in the city when everything is quite and still. Seeing stickers on the train in Bangkok that I didn’t put up is always awesome. That said I would be hyped on a national billboard program.

BS: What else Should we know about you?

Stefan: I grew up skating everyday for half my life, then moved to the mountains and was a ski bum riding on most days, for about 10 yrs. Now I’ve spent the last 8 seasons in Bali, so surfing has my attention to say the least; there are over 15 thousand islands in the chain. I just want a 4×4 in indo with a good sleeper on it and a stove, a dialed studio to work on art in, and I’m done.

Or maybe just starting. . .

BS:  Do you watch television? Is print dead?

Stefan: I watch movies and lots of documentaries I hate commercial television and have not watched it for years. Print is not dead and painting will never be digital.

Make it happen.


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