“Knitting and drawing monsters and cats has helped me create an alternate universe that feels very safe and secure. In the universe I created, there is no conflict and everyone comes as they are and are loved for it. I hope this Love radiates from my images because it is why I create and share it. To light a candle of light hearted love in this terrifying world.”
I first met the super-talented and compassionate Hobart when we both worked at Bideawee, the Manhattan- and Long Island-based animal welfare organization (I was the communications manager and Hobart did the much more important job of caring for the adoptable animals in the shelter). In the many years since, we’ve both moved on, but have stayed connected on social media. I have followed Hobart’s career and have quickly become a huge fan of their artwork and overall creative spirit.
Hobart’s style is odd in the very best, punk rock way. From their “Monsters Holding Kittens” and #Danzigtober drawing series to knit fiber-art creations of stuffed animals, sculpture, and finger puppets, Hobart’s creative style is so appealingly and delightfully strange—I can’t get enough!
I’ve been lucky to have had Hobart work with me on a few custom projects (scroll down for pics!) and I’m always looking for more opportunities to collaborate. Until I get my next idea, I wanted to share Hobart’s talents with ya’ll!
Looking for a custom costume for your kiddo? A set of finger puppets? A stuffed animal or coloring book featuring your pet? Hobart couldn’t be more pleasant to work with, budget-friendly, and super-quick on the turn-around. Read on to get to know them a bit and then reach out/connect for your custom project today!
Hi, Hobart! Please introduce yourself:
“My name is Hobart and my pronouns are they/them.”
Where are you from?
“I am based in Philadelphia and am originally from New York.”
What kind of work do you do (what’s your “day job”)?
“I worked in animal welfare for the past 15 years, but recently a combination of compassion fatigue and management issues inspired me to take a break and recharge my batteries. I am currently washing dishes at a vegan bakery and focusing on my art and trying to start an in-home cat nail clipping service.”
Would you consider your artwork/creative pursuits your “side-hustle”?
“I guess at the moment all of my employment is a side hustle!”
I’ve been a big fan of your work for a long time. Tell me a bit about how you got into knitting/illustrating/etc. and why it’s an important part of your life:
“When I was a very young child, I hung out with my cat and teddy bear (who were my best friends) and drew what my mother calls my “little men.” These drawings usually ended up becoming stories. Over the years I continued drawing monsters and creatures and absorbing artistic influences. ’90s NYC graffiti was a huge influence on my art because of how drippy and textured and immediate it was. ’90s underground punk record covers were a big influence as well.
“As far as knitting, I don’t really know how I learned to knit. Pretty soon after learning though, I realized I had no interest in making garments, so I focused on learning shaping and texture techniques. From a technical standpoint, I don’t know much I figured out enough to knit my characters directly from sketches and do free hand intarsia which serves me well enough. I have had a diverse range of influences on my knitting, from Claes Oldenburg and Louise Bourgeois’s soft sculptures to Hans Bellmer’s dolls to antique stuffed animals to cartoons to carnival punks and psychedelic puppets.
“I have always been a loner and have gone through some tough stuff in my life. I not only feel very alienated from other people but also as a nonbinary person I have always felt like I live in a space that a lot of people either can’t or don’t want to understand and it can be lonely in that space. Knitting and drawing monsters and cats has helped me create an alternate universe that feels very safe and secure. In the universe I created, there is no conflict and everyone comes as they are and are loved for it. I hope this love radiates from my images because it is why I create and share it. To light a candle of light hearted love in this terrifying world.”
What are some of your creative inspirations?
“I answered this above, but basically everywhere I have been and all the books I have read and all of my life experiences shape what I make. As far as artists: Hans Bellmer, Louise Bourgeois, Duchamp, Claus Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, Maya Derin, de Kooning, Francis Bacon, Heironymous Bosch, Basquiat, Henry Darger, Julie Doucet, Frank Kozik etc..”
What are your favorite podcasts/music/media to play while you’re creating?
“Usually for knitting I’ll watch SVU or something else on TV that I don’t need to pay attention to. For drawing I usually put on something like Black Moth Super Rainbow or Tobacco or a trip hop mix (Hooverphonic, Sneaker Pimps, Massive Attack, Portishead).”
Describe the types of artwork you create for people and the kinds of commission projects you’re available to do:
“I primarily do knit dolls or finger/hand puppets of people’s pets for knitting commissions and similarly pet drawings for my drawing commissions. I stay away from anything that isn’t original content for the most part and don’t usually draw people. But if after checking out my art you want to discuss a different idea with me, I will gladly take it if I feel I can give you a piece of art that I feel good selling. I am very upfront about my limitations.”
Can you share some basic pricing/price ranges for your custom commissions?
“I haven’t done many large scale pieces and pricing is very individual but most of my prices are under $50 for knitting and most of my drawing commissions are $30 or under.”
Is there anything you haven’t yet been asked to do that you’d love the opportunity to do?
“I’d definitely like to do more hand puppets!”
If someone wants to order a custom commission from you, how should they reach out to you and what information should they provide?
“They can either message me through Instagram or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and include their idea, dimensions, their timeline, and reference photos (if applicable).”
Where can people follow you and see your work?
Last Halloween I had the fox sweater, mask, and tail from Oeuf—Hobart completed our costume made the four “foxy paws” and they have become a dress-up staple in our house!
And here’s Waylon with the custom hand-puppets Hobart knit for him. Since we lost our sweet Lorelei (the black cat) last week, the puppets have been a great comfort.