We had the good fortune of connecting with Kimberly Hocking and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kimberly, what makes you happy? Why?
I find that it is the little things in life that make me happy. I have had a chronic illness for a number of years and because of this I often would spend weeks at a time in bed. Before I got sick I used to run marathons to raise money for causes I believed in. This last year, I was able to start running again. Just to be outside feeling the air and sun on my skin brings so much happiness. In these moments, I remember when I couldn’t even get out of bed and I rejoice that I can run to the top of Signal Hill and look out to the ocean. When I run I take a backpack and plastic bags to look for treasures along the way. I collect feathers, seeds, bottle caps, leaves, and anything else that seems interesting. It makes me happy to find and collect treasures that can later be used in my art. We have a peacock in our neighborhood and seeing the brilliance of his plumage brings me so much joy.
I feel content when I am at work in my art studio creating works of art with my collections and items from my garden like leaves and vines. I also feel happy just to be with my family. The love that I feel for my husband and my children brings much joy. Our lives as creative beings makes for an intentionally beautiful and meaningful life.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As an artist I work with contemplative ideas about life and one’s journey through life. Art for me is an act of contemplation and a way that I work to create beauty out of brokenness. I enjoy using found objects from my walks in my neighborhood, on the beach as well as items from my garden like seed pods, vines, leaves, etc. I think finding items that may be considered by some as useless junk, and transforming them into a work of art says a lot about my philosophy of life.
I enjoy utilizing my camera as a tool for contemplation, creating interesting photos taken in candle light and darkness. I also like exploring the interplay of darkness and light in the world around me. I recently had the opportunity to participate in an online Artist Residency with a group called “Art For Change” which is based in New Dehli, India. In this residency I worked to create art exploring the idea of mental health along with about 50 other artists from India and around the world. This was a wonderful concept to work with. I utilized my own struggles with depression to create a series of three photographs of a sculpture I created. In this work, I transformed a cage-like structure into a seed shape covered with vines, colored string and holding a beautiful peacock feather (found on a walk). The light utilized for each photograph reflected a different stage in the recovery from depression.
I recently started a private practice, meeting with individuals for Art Spiritual Direction and Art as Prayer. In these sessions I utilize my own spiritual journey, degree in art therapy, and my art skills as a means to help others find healing and purpose in their lives. This has been a wonderful business to create during this time of great struggle and I love working with others to explore their spiritual journey though art. This is a unique way that I can “Help the Helpers” during this time of crisis.
There have been many challenges especially with the current Covid-19 crisis. I had a solo exhibition planned for last summer which was canceled. I decided to still work towards this installation even if I don’t have a current date for the exhibition. For this installation I want to explore my journey as an artist through depression and chronic illness to health and joy- something like an artist hero’s journey story. I’ve learned that staying true to one’s calling is what matters the most.
Having mentors and individuals to encourage you along the way is also important. A local artist and dear friend, Slater Barron, was an example of someone with a diligent studio practice and excellence as an artist. Inspired by her life, my goal for this year is to have a regular practice of creating art in my studio.
I want the world to know that I love photography, sculpture, and installation. I see art as a spiritual practice and I am excited to work with people from all walks of life to explore their creative and spiritual journey. I would like to inspire people by the message of hope in my art and encourage them to find their own creative voice.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
One of my favorite spots in my city is the top of Signal Hill. There are beautiful parks, trails, and vistas from snowy mountains (if you are lucky) down to the ocean. This spot is one of the best places to get a beautiful view day or night and I love the walk from the bottom of the hill to the top. If we get lucky, they might get a chance to see a peacock that makes its home in our neighborhood. He often walks along our sidewalks and I have collected some of his feathers for my art. I guess this question is a bit difficult as we haven’t gone out for a long time. I would get take-out from Taqueria La Mexicana #5 and we would go down to the beach to watch the sunset and have a picnic together on the sand. I would also take them out stand up paddle-boarding on Naples bay in the early morning. The quiet light and the soft sounds of the waves are so inspiring. I might take them to some of my favorite thrift stores in the area like Magnolia and Willow as well as Goods On Orange. The search for treasures is an ongoing joy in my life.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The person that I would like to Shoutout to is my husband David. He has always been so supportive of my dreams and goals. He is the one who has given me the hope and courage to follow my dreams. He built my studio behind our garage out of a small dark shed. It is now a beautiful space filled with wonder and light where I can create to my hearts content. He helped me to create a meditation space in my studio where I can sit quietly and think about all the beauty in the world. He is such a supportive and loving person in my life. Without his encouragement, I would probably still be working as a nurse instead of following my heart and working as an artist. Another individual that I would like to acknowledge is my friend Cami Goble. We have been friends for over 30 years and she has helped me to develop into the person that I am today. She and I do art as prayer together on a regular basis and this has helped to shape my practice as an Art Spiritual Director. She is kind, loving, imag
All images by Kimberly Hocking