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Meet the judges: Stephen Hobbs

With over 20 years’ experience in the industry and having travelled and exhibited extensively throughout Africa and abroad, Stephen Hobbs makes a return to the judging panel for the 2016/2017 PPC Imaginarium Awards.

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Tell us a bit about yourself?

I’ve been practicing as a visual artist and urbanist for over two decades. My interest lies in drawing comparisons between Johannesburg and the rest of the world, with a view to influencing creative thinking and urban experiences, in particular, through my company The Trinity Session, where multi-disciplinary events, exhibitions and large-scale urban and public art projects reflect on the dynamic exchange of urban cultural heritage.

Did you study formally, and if so, how did this inform your career

I have a BAFA from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. However, I was raised in a family of artists and the degree was a process of formalising my artistic interests. Since 1994, I have participated in most of the platforms available in any given art world – this is my life.

What key aspets will you be looking at when judging contestants’ work?

Smart design thinking, robustness and durability, intriguing story or narrative and pushing of the relationship between material and concept.

What are your thoughts on art and design in South Africa and Africa as a whole?

This industry, if you will, has only come to realise its real commercial potential in the last 10 years. The impact of the disciplines influencing each other still feels quite premature. But the industry is excited by itself and its ability to influence lifestyle and market trends and choices.

It will be interesting to see how new ownership in these fields is created and managed as the principals of the politics of decolonisation of education, culture and the arts unfolds.

What do you think about the future of art and design in South Africa? 

It can only go from strength to strength.

What advice would you give young and up-and-coming designers and artists?

Working hard and problem-solving on a consistent basis builds a good work ethic. Tolerance for the downtimes in one’s career and an appreciation for one’s own abilities, which in turn leads to a sense of self-worth and emotional intelligence. Be very wary of big promises at the beginning of one’s career, too much momentary success can/will kill young talent.

What has been the highlight of your career?

Living and working in Johannesburg!

 

Image source: David Krut Projects 

 

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