I was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan and moved to Denver at the age of 5. I grew up, met a girl and went through pretty much all of life’s ups and downs with her. We currently reside in the suburbs with our daughter and dogs. We frequent the Denver Zoo, Botanic Gardens and our local Trader Joe’s for some Cookie Butter. It’s a typical Leave it to Beaver life.
The entirety of my life has been a swirling love affair with my last name. Others’ approach to pronouncing my name has become a metaphor for my design perspective. My professional career outside of education has molded and forged my work ethic. Balancing work, school and family has not always been easy. It is however, always exciting and new.
It is, after all, your last name. I have never had any issues with it. Simple enough. However, since I have been in the education system, everyone seems to get hung up on the scary last name with nine letters. I developed an easy solution to this problem. Listen for the teacher to get to the ‘h’ section during roll call. Then, wait for the inevitable abrupt halt… That is me.
Usually this has been followed by,
“how do you pronounce that?”
My immediate response is simply “hof-mock-el”. The audible awareness of the name elicits the inevitable,
“ahhhh, that is easier than it looks!”
The sheer berth of all those letterforms together was enough to make most brains turn off and forget what was taught in first grade. Break a word down and sound it out. Like many of the projects presented to me on my quest for a degree in design, the overall scope was quite overwhelming. I need to stop, break the design down and build it back into a functional and unique solution.
Looking through my life’s worth of work, I am humbled to see it was easier than it looks.
My father is a civil engineer, my grandfather an electrical engineer, my cousin is a mechanical engineer! It’s a Hofmockel thing. I’ve always had a passion for how things come together to function. However, I never had a passion for trigonometry and calculus. For a while I felt I was letting the family down in some way. That somehow I was not living up to my potential.
I have always loved LEGOs, even as an adult. Constructing and deconstructing something has always been a part of me. During high school I taught myself HTML by viewing the source code to websites and comparing it to items I could pick out visually from the page. This interest in technology and passion for dismantling things to rebuild them, led me to designing my own websites. I had no training and no direction. It was just because I wanted to see what I could do. This, in turn, led me to a community college program in web design. I quickly figured out I was much more interested in the visual elements around me than the code behind it. The intrisic qualities of the visual communication intrigued my mind, which finally brought me to a communication design program.
Education has taught me why things work and the historical context behind them. I love design because it involves everything that I am passionate about. Psychology, human nature, history, engineering, architecture and social responsibility are all a part of design. I have found a discipline where I can break down concepts to rebuild them visually and emotionally in an effort to help an individual or group. I am able to utilize my interest in the psychology of human nature and combine it with a passion for dismantling things. If I can take something apart, I can usually figure out how as well as why it works.