Her chalkboard art has become ubiquitous on the North Fork, especially in Greenport, where her work adorns the walls of restaurants like First & South, 1943 Pizza Bar and the Little Creek Oyster Farm and Market.
It’s hard to believe that Kara Hoblin got into the medium that launched her artistic career by accident.
“I’ve had a long journey where I had to make a lot of changes and let a lot of stuff go,” Hoblin said. “Some of those when chalk came into my life.”
In 2013 Hoblin was living in Brooklyn and working as a photographer. Not happy with city life, she quit her job, packed up her belongings and prepared to leave for Greenport in the morning.
“My car was broken into and I lost all my camera equipment,” Hoblin explained. “I cried in my car for hours.”
Aside from losing camera gear, clothing and personal items, Hoblin said the hardest loss were the pictures saved on a camera memory card. Photos of a trip to Florence and Barcelona, memories gone forever.
She moved to Greenport with a lot less baggage and no idea what she was going to do for a living.
A random meeting with Sarah Phillips, owner of First & South restaurant, changed everything. Phillips needed someone to decorate a 25-foot wall in the restaurant which was finished with chalkboard paint.
“Kara has this great energy,” Phillips said. “I knew she had a fine arts background, so I said let’s give it a shot, why not? That’s everything in life, if you don’t try, you’ll never know.”
Hoblin’s initial concerns were immediately quieted when Phillips said, “It’s chalk, if it sucks, I’ll erase it.”
The work was a hit and quickly drew her a following. Since then she has created art for many establishments, including Mattituck’s Good Food, Jamesport’s soon-to-open Main Road Biscuit Co. and Greenport’s new Spirited Wine & Liquor store.
“Chalk came to me when I really needed to let go and learn that when one door closes, another door opens,” Hoblin said. “Change is not a bad thing, it’s a very good thing, if you’re willing to see that.”
Around that time the idea of a show about the art of letting go began forming in Hoblin’s mind, but life still had a few more curveballs in store for her. Last year a romantic relationship ended, then she was hospitalized when two cysts on her ovaries burst, one of them rupturing an artery. She was rushed to the emergency room and then straight into surgery.
“I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t get out of bed, it was the worst,” she said. “After that, I felt it was a really important message, the art of letting go is really about seeing the glass as half full, being able to accept those things that happen to you, move forward and build from it.”
Hoblin will hold her show, “The Art of Letting Go” at the Heron Suites at Port of Egypt Marina in Southold. The show will be a collection of her chalkboard art, created on wood boards. The pictures will be on display a few days before the show, then on Sunday, Hoblin will wipe the boards clean with the help of the audience.
She hopes her show will inspire and encourage others to let go of insecurities, pain and loss.
“This is a lot of my time, heart and emotion going into these boards and erasing them, so for me it’s really letting go,” she said. “But the message of letting go, accepting change and moving forward is truly important.”
“The Art of Letting Go” will take place on Sunday, August 28 from 6 to 10 p.m. at Port Egypt Marina, 61600 Main Road in Southold. There will also be refreshments served and music.