2020 Emerging Artist: Lynne Hobaica

Lynne Hobaica, Bakersville, North Carolina

Ceramics Monthly: How do you come up with the forms and narratives that are prevalent in your work?

Lynne Hobaica: I am inspired by the beauty and struggle of the stories we experience, often finding humor in moments that were once painful or embarrassing. 

Hands are the place I often start as I think about and build my work. Our hands are powerful instruments for communicating with one another. I make sculptural hands with painted layers built up on a ceramic surface that tell intimate stories similar to the way scars and wrinkles might on our own hands.

My work is fueled by an awareness of death, and how that awareness propels the way we live and navigate relationships. Our stories take root through shared moments, and those shared stories are carried on past our end. I process, hold onto, and find meaning in life by cherishing and memorializing shared moments.

1 Lynne Hobaica’s Maybe now is a good time to leave, 6 in. (15 cm) in height, earthenware, fired to cone 5 in oxidation, china paint, Astroturf, 2019.

A good story builds up from small details, revealing surprises as it’s told. I approach making art similarly, painting narrative images onto the surface that reveal characters pulled from personal and historical mythologies and fairy tales. The characters hold an emotion or gesture that the viewer might connect with, perhaps recognizing an old friend, a past lover, or themself.

CM: What do you think is the role of a maker within our current culture and how do you think you contribute to it?

LH: There is beauty in the diversity of what it is to be a maker and value in the many reasons we choose to make. I can speak on my own role and how I hope that my work impacts others.

2 Lynne Hobaica’s You very nearly fed us all, 17¾ in. (45 cm) in height, earthenware, fired to cone 5 in oxidation, china paint, luster, Astroturf, 2018.

Sharing stories is how we connect with one another, learning each other’s histories, fears, and passions. I consider myself a visual storyteller, and share my stories and deepest emotions in the language I speak most fluently—clay. I paint images with the hope that the viewers will find a connecting point, a way to see themselves in the narrative. These somewhat surreal images can be familiar but jarring, causing the audience to pause and question the direction that the story might go. Through sharing stories or emotion, we build empathy. Through challenging reality, introducing a sense of magic, we slow down, reflect on what we are seeing, and try to make sense of it. I make work to celebrate or process the challenges and discomforts we endure in our lives as moments of growth—inviting understanding, compassion, and patience for moments shared with others.

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