Meet the Artist – Michele Hoben

Meet the Artist – Michele Hoben

The following interview was with Michele a member of the amazing Torpedo Factory Arts Center which is situated in Alexandria VA USA. This old munitions plant was founded into an arts center in 1974 and houses the USA’s largest collection of working artists under one roof with 82 artists in their open studios. They attracts around 500,000 every year and you can view a wide variety of artwork including painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, stained glass, fiber, ceramics and jewellery.


1Your name? : Michele Hoben
2Where do you live? : Washington, DC
3What is your background? : Before becoming a full-time artist, I was a full-time architect (I still maintain my license) as well as a corporate interior designer, curator and watercolor, drawing and composition instructor. My father was an educator and my mother, before marriage, a social worker. Both encouraged my artistic pursuits.
4How did you learn your craft i.e. college, self-taught and what that entailed? : As a prerequisite to Architecture school, I submitted a portfolio and took University art courses. While obtaining my architectural degree at the University of Michigan, I minored in photography as the School of Art and the College of Architecture and Urban Planning shared a building. As an adult, I continued doing watercolors on my own as well as classes at The Art League and workshops throughout the US and one in Europe. The process of becoming an abstract painter was more self-directed; I wanted to convey more authentic, temporal emotion than pre-planning each painting which tended to be my method with watercolor.
5Which media do you prefer to work with? : Acrylic and graphite; sometimes collage and crayon d’arche
6Do you work in multiple media, say which and why? : See above. Why? : Because my first love is drawing.
7What does your work aim to say? : Currently, my work is less about what I want to say than what I ‘d like the viewer to experience.
8Does your work comment in any way on current social or political issues? : Yes, but now privately. Previously I was more ‘in your face’. See the attached Elan article.
9Who are your biggest influences? : So many artists, I could list dozens. Cy Twombley, Richard Diebenkorn, Agnes Martin, etc.
10How do you navigate the art world? : Still learning; have to incorporate all we’ve been learning through marketing courses.
11How have you developed your career? : After the initial push to qualify to teach and jury into the Torpedo Factory and a few solo shows, I’ve been complacent.
12How do you seek out opportunities?  : I haven’t yet other than those I’ve generated but it has been a while. Exception-teaching at the Art League.
13How do you cultivate a collector base? : It has happened in being housed at the Torpedo Factory. I have two private collectors that each have at least ten of my paintings and one developer who has ten in four of his commercial buildings.
14How do you price your work? : By the square inch. My pricing hasn’t changed in six years. (After NW’s class, I’ll review!)
15Which current art world trends are you following? : For my own work, none. I watch what others do to stay current.
16Do you know where you are heading career-wise? : I think so; do the best work I can and earn a living both painting and teaching. No lofty aims!
17Do you have any tips for young artists just starting out? : See the world and take risks. Wish I had!
18Where can people see your art, do you have any exhibitions coming up? : In my studio, on my website, (soon) on Facebook and Instagram. No exhibitions scheduled.
19Do you have anything else you would like to convey to an audience? : Maybe that I’m not there yet – this is a journey that demands challenging myself to produce work that is an authentic.
20How can readers find out more about you e.g. FB IG Pinterest etc.? : See #18


michele 2

michele 1


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