The seeds of Maria Lobo’s artistry were planted in Hong Kong, where she grew up. The last of 10 children who were British, Chinese, Timorese, Portuguese, Macanese, Malay and Jewish, she recalls getting paints from her mother. “It was a way to entertain me inexpensively,” she says.
The Atherton resident, whose artworks adorn the walls of the HOME store in downtown Menlo Park, majored in art and art history at the University of Santa Clara but left her creative side behind while pursuing careers on the business side of advertising and as an artists agent. It was kick started when she moved with husband and children back to Hong Kong.
“Art gave me a purpose,” she says. “It allowed me to re-exercise my artistic muscle. I was fortunate to start getting shows and to be signed by a gallery there and in New York.”
Maria works out of her home studio. “For a while I rented space at Cubberly,” she says. “But being at home gives me a lot more flexibility. If I want to work at midnight, I can do it.
“That said, I do have to schedule my work. It’s like being a writer. I have more ideas than I can execute. I work in obsessive spurts for two months and then recover for a month. I’m better when I painting for a purpose — a show or a deadline. I’m not one to go into a studio and play around with paint.”
There will be a reception for Maria at HOME (789 Santa Cruz Avenue) on Thursday, Oct. 3, at 6:00 to 8:00 pm, and the community is invited to attend. Her mixed media works on paper, wood, and canvas, which utilize patterns and symbols from a multicultural perspective, range in price from $350 to $7,000. HOME is open Monday-Friday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm and on Saturday from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm.
Asked how her artwork has evolved over the decades, she replies: “In the 80s, I felt that my work had to say something — and say it loudly. My imagery and colors were louder. I thought I had to explain myself to people.
“It was surreal symbolism. But I tired of the stories and the analysis. When I moved back to Hong Kong, I felt I was reconnecting with my heritage and started doing a lot of figurative work — silhouettes and icons of ancestors. The focus was outside of me.”
“Over the past 10 years, I’ve been working on finding my own place in this world. Work, to me, is about putting order on chaos. I can’t control everything around me, but I have some control over paint. My artwork may look abstract, but I see inner balance and symmetry.”
Maria Lobo photographed at HOME story by Scott R. Kline in front of her artwork, Big Red