As I sit in my living room, I gaze at a portrait painted of Maya Angelo by artist Jeremy Hoffeld. As Angelo’s eyes gaze deeply into my soul, her presence is known here in my home. Art has a way of speaking to us in many forms: music, poetry, photography, paintings, sculptures, wall art, sketches. Art speaks on an emotional level which encompasses a different meaning of vitality for everyone.
Hoffeld, a native New Yorker now living in Maui, Hawaii, studied art history at Columbia University. He grew up in a family surrounded by the presence of art. He and his brother Noah, a Juilliard cellist, released a devotional music album together called Invoke under the band name The Mantra Brothers. Hoffeld has always been inspired by music, often listening to his favorite live jazz album while panting.
“For me, paintings — abstract and figurative — have always been linked with music and literature,” he says. “The Artist Way by Julia Cameron [is] a book that guides the reader on a spiritual path to higher creativity. Writing is a really good place to get honest with yourself and explore the things that interest you.”
How do we begin to connect into the creative source of art? Whether you are the artist or the observer, Hoffeld suggests, exploration is the first step in the process of opening up to the vitality and gifts in which art brings.
“If you are in a stationary store and feel the call to create,” he says, “allow yourself to explore with those materials.”
Hoffeld defines creative energy flow as light.
“Someone may have said something about your art in your early childhood and you repressed the urge to explore your creativity, and now that door is closed, not letting the light in,” he explains. “It takes courage to open up and flow with creative energy. Each time you find it, it may look or feel different than before.”
When we open ourselves to possibility, the light begins to peek in — shining through as a ball of energy lending a hand and leading us into what’s next. Hoffeld says he experienced this first hand when he was asked to fly to Maui and paint a portrait of Ram Dass in 2018.
When we open ourselves to possibility, the light begins to peek in …
For over a month of visiting Ram Dass in his home, he sat to paint one of his heroes, expressing how special this time was for the both of them. When Hoffeld was in school he studied the art of panting live portraits. He says that sitting live is his favorite way of painting.
When I met Hoffeld, we were in Rishikesh India. I had known of his inspiring portraits of Indian saints. As he stepped barefoot into Ma Anandamayi’s temple in Haridwar, India — an eminent spiritual teacher — he was inspired to paint her. This was a step on the journey for Hoffeld as he began to paint inspiring portraits of iconic heroes and spiritual teachers featured on his Instagram page @jeremyhoffeld. Lifelike paintings of John Lennon, Nina Simone, Michelle Obama, MLK, Nelson Mandela, Helen Keller, Sri Anandamayi Ma, Sri Rama Maharshi, Neem Karoli Baba Maharaji and Sri Siddhi Ma cover his page.
“The frequency of energy encapsulated within the painting or song is what may pull you towards it, capturing the essence of an inspired time and moment, which then begins a cycle of inspiration for the listener or viewer,” says Hoffeld. “The cycle is a spiral which connects us all as humans.”
I experienced this first hand when he posted this portrait of Maya Angelou (featured here). I instantly felt her energy and gravitated toward purchasing this painting. I agree with Hoffeld that the frequency of energy is encapsulated within the painting. She is here in my home, inspiring me to write every day.
Photos courtesy Jeremy Hoffeld