Key West artist Pam Hobbs’ work is as colorful and fun as her bubbly personality. Imagine the most whimsical of poems by Shel Silverstein mixed into an illustrative world from the mind of Dr. Seuss himself. Now add a splash of the most vibrant colors and patterns you can imagine with the chroma (vivid) oil paints.
Personally, I cannot even talk to Hobbs without smiling and I can’t look at a single one of her paintings without this same level of joy. I find myself wanting to jump inside one of her paintings for a little nap on the beach or perhaps just for a tropical mixed drink.
Hobbs is a fixture around Key West, and her paintings are found on almost every corner. As unbelievable as it seems, she is not a born-and-raised Conch. Hobbs is originally from New Jersey, later moving to Kansas before making a “short visit to Key West.” Four decades later, her little visit to the island continues but now she is as much a local as anyone in Old Town.
Hobbs began her artistic career studying crafts, fabrics and weaving, but later drew on the colors of the tropics to evolve into painting. Her subjects range from landscapes to local architecture, a common choice for artists here in the Keys.
What is unusual, however, is the way she depicts everything from the sky to palm trees, old-town shotgun-houses to even recognizable Key West mansions and landmarks. Her style is bold, free and radiates happiness.
Hobbs’ work is on display in Key West at Guild Hall Gallery on Duval Street, Art on Duval, Key West Art Center on Front Street, and 7 Artists Gallery on Simonton. Hobbs works her magic in her studio in The Studios of Key West Building on Eaton Street, where she regularly welcomes guests.
The cost of her artwork ranges from very reasonably priced prints ($50 or less) to originals that sell for several hundred dollars and larger originals fetching thousands. Most of Hobbs’ art (both canvas prints and originals) is accentuated by her one-of-a-kind, hand-painted frames.
Here’s my recommendation: If you’re in Key West, grab that slice of Key lime pie, soak up a sunset at Mallory Square and then take home a painting by Pam Hobbs as the perfect souvenir.