I have the honor of meeting so many spectacular artists through my work and my love of seeking out beautiful things. I want to share with you what I see and who I meet, so I’m going to start an Artist Focus. I will interview them so you can learn a little about the person behind their pieces. It takes the art to a whole new level when you know a story behind it. I will showcase their art online and at our studio, so come in and see what you fall in love with on Instagram. Then be sure to check out our on-line store so you can own a piece of beauty yourself.
We are starting with one of my all time favorite artists whom I have been stalking for years: Cali Hobgood. I found her at our Brookside Art Fair probably 15 years ago, maybe longer. She hand paints photography pieces and the effect is something that is different than anything I had seen. Her pieces are unique and timeless and I love them all, so much so that I already own two and have my eye set on a third piece. Vince got this blue dress piece I’d been pining after as a house welcoming gift, and it is one of the most valuable things I own. I was gifted the Smith Corona for my first studio. And it now hangs in my current studio. I have introduced several of my clients to her art and they too now own their very own. You can find her at www.photographsbycali.com/
So without further ado, here’s our Artist Focus!
Where are you from?
“I was born in Ithaca, NY though [I] am an absolute Midwesterner now! I live in Illinois, in Champaign-Urbana, at the edge of the University of Illinois campus.”
When did you start working as an artist?
“I began my career as an artist in 1991.”
Have you always focused on this medium of art?
“I’ve always been a photographer. I began my first body of work of hand-colored, black and white images in 1993.”
How do you choose your objects that are going to be featured?
“My subject matter practically chooses itself – one minute I can be walking down the stairs thinking random thoughts, and the next I get an overwhelming urge to photograph … a typewriter for instance! All of my subjects are objects in my life, usually very literally, as in they’re literally my own or my friend’s or family’s belongings. I believe they’re recollections, metaphors for my life. Satisfaction, language, humor, happiness, beauty and process are some of the words I’d use to describe the feelings that my images evoke in the viewer.”
How long does it take you to complete a large piece?
“It can take a very long time, in the scope of the medium of photography, for me to make an image. Setting it up, lighting and shooting the film is typically a day-long process (I stand on top of a scaffold to photograph my large objects, for instance, to achieve the perspective I see in my mind’s eye, which is always an adventure). Developing the film (the lower level of my house is my darkroom), proofing the image, preparing the chemistry and paper all happen before my favorite part of the process, printing the image, which in itself can be exposures up to an hour long. Hand-coloring each photograph varies – my larger, more involved pieces can take several days to complete.”
When did you start going to the Kansas City art fairs?
“I first went to Kansas City in 2001 I believe. My sweet father loved KC and thought it would be a great place to show my work.”
Who inspires you?
“I’ve always been inspired by my older brother, Laurence Hobgood, a jazz pianist and composer/arranger, and my father, Burnet Hobgood, a theatre man, because of their vision, their belief that you must always tell a story. Even the smallest moment is a story … a gesture, a scent, a single note. Reading poetry and literature that embodies that idea, spare and concise writers whose words often trigger the visuals that become my images, is very important to my work. Robert Pinsky, E. E. Cummings, Gertrude Stein, John Steinbeck … and visually, I love the brilliance of Robert Therrien, Andrew Wyeth, Rene Magritte, Claes Oldenberg, just to name a few. My favorite painter is Thomas Hart Benton (a lovely Kansas City coincidence)!”
Where is your favorite place to shop?
“Oh, so many choices … for photo, B&H Photo, for clothing, there’s a new boutique in Denver called “Covered,” and a great place in Ann Arbor called “Mix,” any museum store (love the MCA in Chicago) and of course the Plaza Art Fair, the Brookside Art Fair (and many others) for the things in my life that make my house a home.”
What is your home decor style?
“My living areas are very mid-century modern (I’ve inherited wonderful pieces from my parents), very minimal. My studio and darkroom style is all practicality, large long tables and room to move around.”
What is your advice to other creatives and them creating a business?
“The making of a thing is its own reward, and the business of doing business is another thing entirely! Whether I’m making work, money, friends or big decisions I try to live by four words – honesty, loyalty, diplomacy, discretion. My daily touchstone words, words I want to be reflected in my actions and state of mind every day, are happy, love, working and joy. Being able to combine those into consistent results, doing what I love as a profession, is a challenge and, I think, a wonderful way to live.”
Where can people find you?
My website with my images and information is http://www.photographsbycali.com/
My Instagram is @calihobggod