ARTIST SPOTLIGHT PAT HOBAUGH

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By Dio Anthony

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Contemporary Artist Pat Hobaugh uses actions figures, food, and scenes from pop culture to create work that will leave you staring at his paintings, wondering how he came to such an idea. His work is both mesmerizing and modern. Hobaugh recently wrapped up an exhibit this November at Atlanta, Georgia’s R Alexander Fine Art Gallery, presenting his collection “Not Your Granny’s Still Lifes.”

Keep a lookout for future exhibitions from this one of a kind master at pathobaugh.com, and read on for and interview with this visionary.

I’m obsessed with your work, and all the elements found in it. How would you even begin to describe it?
First, thank you for being obsessed, I really appreciate it. One way I describe my work is calling it ‘Contemporary Pop Culture Still life.’ My goal is to be an artist of our time, which means describing, documenting, and commenting on what’s going on. That can be a big task, so one of the reasons I’ve been limiting myself to the still life genre is to make that task manageable – so I’m only going to paint things that I can place in front of myself.

What inspired you to go down this route as an artist?
I first got into still lifes after a trip to Amsterdam where I was blown away by the 17th Century Dutch still life painters, and I thought that the still life genre would be a good place to improve my painting technique and at the same time I felt there was a lot of untapped potential there as far as subject matter. Still lifes have generally gotten a bad rap in the history of art. It’s the first thing you learn to paint in school, so people think you should move on from it to ‘better things’. But with the amount of ‘stuff’ that is out there now, you can have compositions that are as complex with meaning and drama as any other kind of painting. So, that’s part of what I’m trying to do – be a champion for still lifes – it’s probably because I’ve always liked the underdog. I’ve been a cubs fan all my life, so there’s the proof.

Your paintings are very meticulous and the colors, very specific and unique at times. What tools do you use?
There are different approaches to painting method, like some painters will paint from ‘general to specific’ where they start with larger brushes, block in forms and shapes and then they start to refine. I describe my painting style as ‘specific to specific’. I use mostly brushes whose size labels say ‘0’ and ‘000’. I’ve tried every other method I could think of while I was in school and this gets me the results I want. I often use a magnifying visor to, hopefully, save my eyes in the long term.

What is your philosophy as an artist?
Well that’s a big question that could probably take a book to answer completely. I try to make work that is interesting to me, you know, that I would want to come across in a gallery somewhere and think, ‘I’ve got to have that – it speaks to me.’ I think when an artist does that then the work will be generally always good and genuine. I’ve been lucky so far that galleries haven’t tried too much to guide me in what I’m making, so I don’t have to do work that’s not me, but I think they realize that’s not a great idea if they want good work. It’s also important to keep challenging yourself. I’m still trying new approaches and techniques to my painting as well as trying different mediums, so that helps keep you fresh.

What’s your work process like?
I like to have several paintings going at the same time because I work in layers that need to dry, so I can always have something to work on. I have a back log of ideas for paintings, but I like stay flexible, so if I come across a news story or an object in a shop, I can move that new idea to the front of the line. I’ll often also have to then buy/acquire all of the stuff for the still life and that can take a little while to find the right object. Then I’ll set the still life up in my studio and take the reference photos that I mostly work from. I work from the photos because I don’t really have the space to have 4-5 still lifes set up at the same time and some of the food I use in my work goes bad quickly. I set up a salad for a recent painting and it lasted about half a day.

Is there a particular meaning behind the little cakes often seen in your work?
It depends on the work, but besides representing excess and things you shouldn’t eat very much of, they also have that nostalgia association with childhood, better times, etc.

Any shows, exhibitions or projects your particularly excited about at the moment?
I had two great shows within the past five months at my galleries in Santa FE and Atlanta, so I’m getting a little bit of a breather now. I never seem to have time for it, but one thing I’ve been wanting to do for awhile is to make some sculpture to compliment the paintings. Just like my paintings are an updated version of the centuries old tradition of Dutch still lifes, my sculpture would also have that old but new connection as well. If I got up earlier in the mornings I’d probably find time for it.

Is it possible for you to name a current favorite piece of yours? If so, why?
There are a lot. I just finished a politically-themed painting that has Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders playing the game, ‘Rock ‘em, Sock ‘em Robots’ against each other. I had to get creative for the Bernie Sanders and Ben Carson action figures since they don’t make those.
I also just had one in my Atlanta show that was a commentary on how much money has been made on Star Wars toys and how Disney is cashing in on that now. I like when I can make a painting say something that is about what is going on ‘right now’, and that uses objects/ideas from the past to do it.

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About The Author

Stephane Marquet
Creative Director

First of all, excuse my French! … I was born in the South of France. Lived in Paris for 10 years and travelled the world until I moved to Los Angeles in 2008, because obviously recession was a great time to move to a new country! I also arrived around Halloween and was greeted at the Social Security offices by a nurse who directed to the window Number 6 so a witch could hand me my social security number. Welcome to America. I am a painter, a photographer and the creative director of BELLO mag.

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