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Life & Work with Alicia Hobbs

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alicia Hobbs.

Hi Alicia, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I always knew I wanted to be an artist, but I even more-so knew being an artist was not a feasible nor stable option. So I was going to be a doctor instead. I majored in biology in college and picked up a few art courses here and there to keep my sanity. Picking up those art courses here and there turned into earning my art degree before I could even finish my biology degree.

At this point, I knew it was clear what I wanted to do in life, and without seeking confirmation from anyone, I withdrew my medical school application completely on my own terms. Ya girl felt LIBERATED. I graduated, packed up my apartment, and moved to Jackson, MS where I nannied and only kept painting as my side hustle. Long hours were spent in my bedroom where I made a little makeshift studio and took on all the commission work I could. This is where my business was created, almost exactly two years ago. I moved into a new house and upgraded to having a whole room as a studio. I was able to (regretfully) move on from my nannying job and take on my art business full time. This was when things got crazy. I sold out my first series of 30 paintings in less than 24 hours, could not keep up with commission work (I had to learn the word “no”), and began painting for my upcoming first solo art show. But wait! Let’s throw Covid in and shake things up a bit. Postpone, postpone, postpone. That word gives me anxiety now.

Between Covid and hurricanes, my show was postponed four times. Nothing was certain at this point other than my Jackson lease ending in July and my ever-growing desire to move to Los Angeles. Fast forward and this little Mississippi gal is driving herself cross country to California. I still smile when I think about it. Initially, I really was only looking for a cheap studio area to paint in (I literally would have accepted someone’s garage). But in true 2020 fashion with the unexpected always happening, after two days I found a storefront studio with my name written all over it. In Beverly Hills. On Covid sale. I signed my lease that day and haven’t looked back. Now you can find me almost everyday sitting in my swanky white studio chair (that I found on the side of the road) with my pup Ritzy, painting away and truly living out our dream life.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Oh lawd. The obstacles and challenges have been never-ending. Initially, I had to overcome the fear of pursuing art as a career. Not only was I terrified of instability, but I also knew nothing about business, marketing, accounting, or even how to start a business to begin with. I began reading all the books I could, basically lived on Reddit forums, and took the process day by day. Between painting, launching my business, and nannying 9-12 hours everyday, I really didn’t sleep much. I also lived extremely frugally in order to save up and make my big move to Los Angeles. This meant minimal eating out, having to turn down fun things with friends, and only spending money on necessities. It was hard, but after saving for two years, I was able to make my dream a reality and move to LA. Although I still feel like I’m living in a dream, I have had to overcome obstacles here as well.

Finding the work-life balance has always been difficult for me. I don’t have set hours or someone to tell me when to go home, which leads to me painting 10-12 hours per day and not stopping to take time to enjoy life and my friends. Christmas was one of the only days I fully stepped away from work last year. This year I made a resolution to allocate my time better in order to nourish my relationships and be more present in life itself. Although my career comes along with many challenges, I will say that my support system has been rock solid since day one. My friends, family, and supporters are the reason I had the confidence to make such a big move and motivate me every single day to get up and take on these challenges. I really would not be here without my support system.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar, what can you tell them about your work?
My work walks a fine line between abstract and realism and consists of playful color palettes. Color makes me so happy and my goal is to make my viewers happy as well through the use of color. I grew up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, so it is no surprise that my work consists mainly of coastal subject matter. Although I do have an affinity for painting female figures (I call them nudies) and cocktail happy hour drinks, which are a fun break from my usual coastal scenery. I also have this love affair with shadows, reflections, and any type of fun light that allows me to paint it in full saturation. Traveling has helped me gain inspiration for future work subject matter, so I am really excited to branch out this year and paint new things.

As for sizes, I work really on every size canvas depending on the subject. I’ve noticed my collectors like to decorate their bathrooms with my “nudies,” so I keep those on a smaller scale. But for scenery and pieces that would go in living rooms or bedrooms, I am able to take those to a larger scale. My work is unique in that it can fit in with colorful homes or be the one colored piece in an all white home. I love to browse interiors on Instagram and Pinterest and choose color palettes that I think would fit in with some of the interiors. I do take on commission work on a case by case basis as well. In the past couple of months, I have had a surge in pet commission pieces, which have been so fun to do as I am a huge animal lover. I actually giggle the whole time I work on these pieces and am able to just imagine their personalities. I love making my collectors happy and am always open to chatting about potential pieces to match and decorate their homes.

So maybe we end on discussing what matters most to you and why?
My Mississippi roots are so important to me. It will always be my home, and the support I receive from there is what helped pave my way and continues to help me grow. However, moving to Los Angeles has provided me with the opportunities and connections I was seeking and has allowed me to grow more than I thought possible. And it has only been five months! I am so excited to see what else will happen during my time here. Once I become more established, I do plan on splitting my time evenly between Los Angeles and the South in order to stay more connected with my new and old roots.

Also of importance is keeping my work affordable and accessible while also making enough profit to pay the bills. I actually allow collectors to bring their piece home with a 20% deposit, then they are able to pay the remainder in monthly installments for up to 12 months.

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