Monday, December 10, 2012

Sarah Hobbs

Sarah Hobbs' installation piece, Overpacked opens December 16 - 19, 2012 at the W Hotel in Midtown Atlanta.  "Hobbs's site-specific sculptural installation in three hotel rooms continues the artist’s empathetic examination of the obsessive side of human nature. The artist creates a personal aura for each room, evoking the psychological baggage people carry with them when they travel." 

Artist's reception is Sunday, December 16th, 10am - 12pm

Learn more about Sarah here:
Her monograph can be purchased here:

Items used in installation 

Ashley Kauschinger: How did the conception of the idea for Overpacked begin and evovle? What do you think this piece says differently as an installation vs. a photograph? 

Sarah Hobbs: When I finished the work for my last show of photographs (which was in 2009), I took a little time off to regroup. I felt like, after three series, I had mined the concept of psychology in the domestic space as much as I could, using the process I used. I started thinking about different kinds of spaces and what kinds of places are public and private at the same time. A hotel was the perfect choice. There is public space in a hotel, which is unlike a home, but it is a private space that you use as a home base for a short amount of time. One is out of one's element, yet attempting to feel comfortable and settled. So I began to think about the fact that we can leave home, but our issues travel with us. Then I worked on a list of issues that would very easily come out in a hotel room. 

Until I See Something Good

With the photographs, I constructed the installations specifically to be photographed. It was the whole of the experience with a particular neurosis; all I wanted the viewer to see. I have been thinking for a long time about making actual installations, but always ended up being stumped by the fact of the gallery or museum space, which cannot be separated from the experience. While this is not an issue or distraction for other artists, my concepts are tied to the place. So I thought, what if I could use a space that is in everyone's general experience, a place that is accessible, where the entire space is the installation? A hotel room was perfect. The viewer now has a 360ยบ version. It expands the implied person's (i.e. the person occupying the room) process of living with a certain issue. 

Untitled (paranoia) 

AK: What started your interest in human behavior? How did that interest manifest into constructed sets? Do you create each set alone? How long does each one take you, and do you feel each set effects your personal human behavior? 

SH: My interest in human behavior began in graduate school. In my last year I moved into an apartment by myself, the first time I had ever lived alone. I thought, how great to have everything exactly as I want it and it was quiet. It didn't take long to realize that I was faced with all my issues. They had room to grow in that quiet. I have always been interested in interior spaces and how they can carry psychological weight. So I put those two elements together and began creating spaces that represented the building up of various issues. With a few exceptions, I do work alone. I have used an assistant on a few occasions when the volume of work called for it, but mostly it's easiest for me to be alone so I can really focus and try to feel the issue with which I am working. They take different amounts of time, especially depending on the degree to which I have to create the elements. Some take a day while others take months. Creating the sets is really satisfying to me in that I am obsessed with spatial relationships. I have a compulsion to organize things and this is the perfect outlet. Of course, I don't have all of the issues I have worked with (I would hardly be able to get out of bed if I did!), but there are times when I am working on an image when I really connect with the neurosis. It can be a bit startling.

Untitled (insomnia) 

AK: Earlier this year Charta published a book of your photographs, Small Problems in Living. What was the process of getting a book published like and how do you feel about the final product? 

SH: It was quite a long process. I researched publishers and submitted a pdf of a book layout for about two years.  I went to Photo-eye's Publisher's Showcase page again and again. I submitted to Charta and received an email about a week later saying they were interested in publishing my book. They are in Milan, Italy so all of the work was done by email. There are so many details that go into putting a book together, even one as straightforward as mine. I loved every bit of it - sequencing the images, choosing fonts, working with the amazing writers, etc. When all was finalized and approved, I went to Milan for the press run. I was happy to meet in person the people responsible for taking on my book and bringing it to fruition. It was such a thrill to see the final product coming together. I was so pleased with the printing. The quality of the images exceeded my expectations and the writers, Winifred Gallagher and Lisa Kurzner, blew me away with their words. I could not be happier.

Untitled (fate compulsion) 

AK: What is your process of self-promotion? How have you gone about weaving through the maze of your artistic career to be where you are now? 

SH: I was a bit late in starting, but I finally made a website a few years ago. I have been vigilant about keeping it current. I have a blog on which I post as often as possible. The book has been a terrific tool for getting my work seen. I have sent copies to curators, galleries, writers, etc. There are a number of great blogs devoted to photography books and I have connected with some of them. Self-promotion does not come naturally to me, so I have had to work very hard on this.


As far as my career goes, there are amazing people who have helped me along the way, who have believed in my work. I would be nowhere without them. I have tried very hard to learn about the business side of art and to make good decisions. It is so important to know that making the work is only part of it. Mostly I just keep at it, I put the work out there. I don’t want to let myself down and I don’t want to let down people who believe in me and have supported me along the way.


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