What does it take for culture to be preserved through generations? How are women instrumental in this preservation and how do their contributions continue to go unnoticed? How does the art of a mother and professor from Baltimore, MD provide thoughts for these questions? Check out our episode with the incredible artist, LaToya Hobbs to hear more!
LaToya’s process is based in print-making, but she is increasingly combining these elements with painting and collage, Raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, LaToya knew she always wanted to be some type of artist – whether it be visual art, dancing, or music (she sang in choirs AND was on the dance team). It wasn’t until college, though, that art moved to the forefront – spurred on by her growing disinterest in biology, her chosen major at the time.
Very involved in Black Women of Print, LaToya talks about what an integral part this community plays in the support, encouragement, and creation of her work. Another important support for her work are the women who are the actual models in her pieces – most of the time women in her physical community where she lives and works. The common woman, who performs mundane tasks, is elevated and strengthened – strong lights and darks, and multifaceted patterns pointing to her complexity and depth of mind and spirit.
In LaToya’s recent work, her “Salt of the Earth” series, she demonstrates how these individual portraits of women are the preservers, just like salt is to food, of life itself. Some figures are actively posing (praying, for instance), yet others simply sit – undaunted and unafraid… ready to face whatever challenge lies ahead. She claims that the matriarchs are the preservers of life, and, with much of their labor unseen, go unnoticed much of the time. Her recent larger-than-life installation – “Carving Out Time” – brings these women and their labor to the forefront, impossible to ignore.
As we closed our interview together, I asked LaToya how she balances her time being an artist, a Professor, and a mother (who home-schools her children!). Her husband, also an artist, understands the need for studio time, and is able to swap off a couple of days a week to help her reach her art-making goals. In this balance she also finds time for self-care – which she is quick to differentiate from studio time! She also talks about the “Modern Matriarch”, and how this looks different than it did a few generations ago. Women today are being bolder in their professional careers and personal needs, two of the very things that help preserve the people whose saltiness we cannot live without.
Biggest Art Crush: Kerry James Marshall, Elizabeth Khalid
Dream Trip: anywhere tropical – Costa Rica
Film or book: Get Good With Money by Tiffany Aliche
Favorite meal: Talenti ice cream
Shout-out: husband Ariston Jacks
To see more of LaToya’s work please visit her website and follow her on IG @latoyahobbs
The Artist/Mother podcast is created and hosted by Kaylan Buteyn. You can see more of Kaylan’s work on her website or connect with her on Instagram @kaylanbuteyn
All photos below credited to Ariston Jacks