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Pam Hobbs: The Quintessential Key West Artist

By Dawn Dubriel

Recently, on a weekend adventure in Key West, I walked down Duval Street in Key West’s historic district, and came across 7 Artists and Friends in Wet Paint Gallery. I halted my tracks when Pam Hobb's colorful, whimsical depictions of quintessential Key Quest came into view. After buying three prints: My Favorite Place, Bon Appetite, and Pie Shop, I could not wait to decorate my office with her joy-inducing artwork. Pam Hobbs' work is a reflection of her vibrant and happy personality. She lives in Key West, and is a full-time, full-fledged artist painting with oil based enamel and acrylics, knows her audience and how they love of her effervescent vision of Key West.

She grew up in New Jersey and relocated to Kansas with her family when she was 13 years old. Luckily, her high school teachers encouraged her imagination, and she later attended the Kansas City Art Institute. 40 years ago, in 1976, she moved to Key West and never left. Living in Key West and riding her bicycle to and fro, she is inspired everyday by life's pleasures such as the intensely vibrant colors of a magenta bougainvillea against a sapphire sky. Immersed in constantly stimulating muses of "colors, architecture, people, freedom to be who you want to be, one human family where everyone is always smiling," she wishes to impress this lifestyle through her work.

Thousands of people see her work everyday while perambulating Duval street, an optimally prime location she earned over the course of thirty years. It started when she was pregnant with her first child; her husband advised her to do some cottage-work such as selling her painted, wooden fish. She setout and stumbled upon a shop where the owner sold local artwork. There weren't galleries then as there is today, more like co-operatives where 7-12 artists got together, sold their work, and all contributed to pay the rent. The name of this gallery was Island Arts, which moved to Gallery Key West (now closed). Out of all the artists, the 7 hardest workers stayed focused and started 7 Artists Gallery, a true co-op. After artist egos caused a falling-out, jewelry-maker artist Jennifer Badry continued on, opened her own gallery and kept the name: 7 Artists Gallery. As a friend of Hobbs, Badry brought her along and represents her to this day.

Yes, Pam Hobbs earned every step of her whimsical, artistic, joyful, and colorful journey. When asked what advice she would give to us dreamers, who want to make a living doing solely original art work, she advises "Do it everyday, know your customer, know what your voice is. What are you trying to say, who are you trying to reach, who are you painting and creating for?" She also emphasizes the importance of making time to do your art. While her kids were in the bathtub or in between cooking food, she would paint within squeezed moments, and each piece would be better than the previous. With hard work, dedication, joy, and persistence, one can achieve their dream life of living in Key West and being part of the local fabric by creating original art from the heart.

To add one of her pieces to your collection, or to commission an original, contact Pam Hobbs via her website:
7 Artists Gallery: