Kentuck Festival showcases 400 artists

Story by Erin Nelson

Photo by Collin R. Curry

NORTHPORT —  Every year, the third weekend in October is dedicated to the Kentuck Festival of the Arts, an original arts festival designed to create a community between artists and art buyers.

This year the festival showcased about 400 artists, 50 of whom were new to the Kentuck Festival.

Featuring live music, artists, kettle corn and kid-friendly activities, there is something for everyone at this festival. 

One of the new artists this year was Cali Hobgood, a photographer from Urbana, Ill. A unique component to Hobgood’s work is the use of oil painting in her photographic prints. In Hobgood’s home studio and darkroom, she spends anywhere from a few hours to weeks on a single image.  She prints in high contrast black and white photos and hand-colors them with paints.

One of Hobgood’s college professors, Barbara DeGenevieve, had a profound influence on her work.

“She had very provocative subject matter and printed huge images and would paint them, so I liked what I learned about mural painting and hand-coloring from her,” Hobgood said. “I was terrified of this disconnected woman artist — I knew I wanted to know things from her but I didn’t want to be her.”

Hobgood described her work as having a “flavor,” and the story behind her images relates back to her family. Anything from an image of her father’s old typewriter to crisp, clean white button-down shirts was part of Hobgood’s work at the Kentuck Festival.

Shweta Gamble, executive director of Kentuck, described Hobgood’s work as “striking, professional and clean.”

“I remember her saying her art shows her need for control, and I can see how that works very well for her,” Gamble said.

Cindy Hunsucker, who attended the Kentuck Festival on Sunday, Oct. 21, said she had never seen anything like it.

“I love the vintage feel of her work and its simplicity,” Hunsucker said.

What brought Hobgood to the festival this year was the reputation of Kentuck.

“I knew this show was about the original and about the art,” Hobgood said.

She said she’s always lived in a university town and “this [Tuscaloosa] is just another town and it’s just my place.”