It’s in the humid-filled days of a Baltimore summer, when most people want to do as little as possible, that LaToya M. Hobbs’ creative process begins to take shape—with “intense production,” she admits.
For Hobbs, a professor at the Maryland Institute College of Art, the work often starts with journaling about her life and then pulling together imagery for the multimedia portraitures she creates with oil, acrylic and collage. While her canvases feature people, there is also pattern. Some of Hobbs’ recent paintings, which have been on display this year at MAXgallery in Butchers Hill and Rush Corridor Gallery in Brooklyn, feature Adinkra symbols to celebrate a connection with the African diaspora.
Once Hobbs has a loose sketch of her subject, she starts collaging areas of the painting with patterns from the relief prints she makes, adding more layers and complexity, all the while working on more than one piece to a time to “keep up the energy in the work.”
Hobbs creates her prints from wood or linoleum blocks, and the process of cutting away the surface of each is symbolic of her message to cut away the negative stereotypes, particularly for black women. Hobbs’ subject matter is almost always women she knows. “I’m really inspired by the women around me,” she says. In fact, the broad-shouldered, bespectacled woman represented in “To stand a little taller” is Sharbreon Plummer, who curated the show at the Rush Corridor Gallery.
Upcoming? Hobbs’ woodcuts will be featured in “Contemporary Connections: Woodcuts,” an exhibition at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art in Laurel, Mississippi. And, of course, she returns to the classroom after a summer of inspiration.
See more of LaToya Hobbs’ multilayered portraits at latoyamhobbs.com.