The sudden loss of my friend has prompted reflection on life’s inherent transitory nature. I hope this brief account of his passing, and encomium to his memory, will provide me (and those who read it) with a measure of catharsis and acts as an anodyne for the soul.
Late this winter, as Hades delayed Persephone’s annual return to her mother, and the land longed for the arrival of spring, Christopher was unlucky enough to catch a cold. Like most young men his age, he considered this a mere inconvenience and while Thanatos laid in wait for Christopher. My friend continued to work diligently, through Seattle’s well-known chilly, gray, rainy days.
It is grossly unfair to lose a friend of such talent, intellect, persistence, and skill. Whose very presence sparked discourse, motivation, and the most wonderful creative chaos. You see, Christopher Hoff was more than a neighbor, friend, and occasional artistic cohort. He was a personal inspiration to persevere in the art practice, despite doubt, rejection, and even outright failure. In the long slog of true creativity, successful work and the accolades that come with it can be all too elusive. Christopher was an inspiration to keep up the work, a point he demonstrated so eloquently in his daily art practice.
I keep reading posts online from people that have seen Christopher working around town over the years. While some see an unequivocal plein air painter, I see a man of charm and kindness easily disarming many in his humble manner, while challenging the spectator to consider the unseen, through the framing device that was his canvas. His proclivity for art surpassed the mere mastery of the material and subject, he raised the work past that of painting, to that of an urban performance. I greatly miss the daily review of updates in the drying canvases hung in the hallway as I come and go from the studio, as with the wonderful conversations with Christopher I had come to love.
As I wrestle with the existential crisis this loss has sparked, I strive to take comfort in what Christopher has taught me. I stand in awe of his life and the work he leaves for posterity. We have lost a talented and thoughtful artist, but our memories of him live alongside his artistic legacy. I find great solace in those memories, and in the community of artists and friends I have come to call family. It is wonderful to see us come together and support each other in the wake of losing such an amazing artist and person. May this spirit of togetherness and support persist, long after the pain of our shared grief dulls with time.
Rest in peace my friend, and thank you.
Christopher Martin Hoff
1976 – 2012