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Exclusive Dave Hobrecht Interview

TravisMathew recently teamed up with world-renowned sports artist Dave Hobrecht to create a series of TravisMathew-inspired charcoal paintings. A Laguna Beach resident and University of Southern California graduate, Hobrecht specializes in black and white paintings that are unparalleled in the world of sports art. Hobrecht’s masterful technique in the unique dry brush application method and signature charcoal and pastel medium gives his art an astonishing level of detail, movement and realism.

We were lucky enough to sit down with Hobrecht to find out more about his passion for sports art and details about his TravisMathew collaboration.


Dave, how did you initially get into the world of art?

When I was a kid, right after 8th grade graduation, I was going to the beach to surf and got hit by a car and that laid me up for a long time. I basically had a cast up to my waist. I couldn’t surf or play baseball for a long time, so it was really a blessing in disguise and started me on my art. I’d be stuck in bed with just paper and pencil and I started ripping.


When did your passion for art turn into a career?

After college, I went to business school, and did what people told me to do, like go into business and that kind of stuff, but art was always pulling at me because I did it since I was a kid, I was always drawing. At that time, I was painting about baseball and surf just for my apartment and for fun. Because of my accident, I really missed the surf world and I wanted to get into the industry. I ended calling up Surfer Magazine and becoming their Editorial Cartoonist for a few years and that was my first art job.



Why do you work with only charcoal and pastel?

I’m pretty hardcore colorblind so black and white was always an attraction to me. Growing up I basically did every kind of art – oil, acrylic, wash, sculpt – but for some reason, the dirt and the grind of the charcoal just always kept me going back to it. It’s cool, you take the dust you just ground up and push it around. You get great lighting, because it’s black and white plus it’s classic. Black and white reaches everybody. You can put a picture of Babe Ruth next to [Derek] Jeter and they just go. I just really like the look of it.


Sounds like working in charcoal and pastel can be labor intensive. How long does a typical painting take to complete?

The average is right around 75 hours, so they take a while. I’ve taken months before. The [Floyd] Mayweather piece, because of the size, it took like 650 hours, something nutty. It was huge. It also depends on backgrounds, too. Simple scenes take a lot less, 40-45 hours, but it’s all about the background. If you have the crowd going nuts and the dugout jumping out, it’s pretty cool and that’s when it takes longer.



What’s the hardest part about being an artist when it comes to your work?

[Laughing] Finishing, no joke! There is not one piece that I get to the end and don’t see blemishes in. There’s always blems. You wonder if you can get them all. One day, I’d like to do a piece and hit every single bit from start to finish.


Being such a huge sports fan, I’m sure you have some dream subjects you’d like to paint one day. Can you tell us a few passion projects you hope to one day do?

I’ve done some of my dream paintings already. Willie Mays, that was unbelievable. I got to go to his house and sit with him. When I met him, I went in for a handshake. You know he’s like 80 years old so you want to be gentle and he just absolutely crushed my hand. [Laughing] He was as cool as can be. Another one was Jeter for his retirement. That was unbelievable! I did the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight and got to paint live ringside, just incredible. I’d love to do something for [Michael] Jordan, of course. The one I’m really hoping for is Vin Scully. It would mean the world to me if I could do something cool honoring him because he’s just a legend.


You recently collaborated with TravisMathew on a series of paintings that currently hang at the corporate office. All three are now available in limited-edition prints on canvas, as well as screen printed t-shirts. Can you tell us a little bit about each one, starting with CITY DRIVE?

Sure, absolutely. That one was a blast to paint. The photo was based on a TravisMathew ad campaign that I thought would translate well onto canvas. That was incredible looking but I got myself into some big trouble. That was the hardest painting, I swear. I didn’t think I would ever finish it. I’ve never done so many windows! It was a tough one to do but I knew if I just powered thru, it would be really cool. I stopped counting after about one hundred hours but I love that piece, one of my favorites.



What was your inspiration for THE BUS STOP?

That was awesome. The VW bus with the luggage on top is great and so TravisMathew, and taking road trips, who doesn’t want to do that? The guy in the painting just wanted to pull over and see how far he can hit it into the ocean. That just seemed cool, plus I’m a big Seinfeld guy, so I threw a little nod to the Kramer golfing on the beach episode. That was fun to do.



We have a feeling DAD’S GIRL is a special piece for you?

I have two daughters, and they play lacrosse and tennis. I also have two sons who play baseball but spending time with the girls is different, it’s special. Painting that I wanted to do just the two of them, father and daughter. No one else around, one-on-one…it’s just their day. They are on the course having a great time and spending an amazing day together. I think it’s something all dads would cherish.



Thanks so much, Dave. We appreciate your partnership with us and the exclusive collaboration with Hobrecht Sports Art.

Thank you! As an artist, you look around and you want your art to be next to greatness. I’m not going to show my art with something that doesn’t match, I want it with the best. You look at TravisMathew and the look of the brand and product. It is just so clean and modern, just what I want described in my art. The partnership ended up being perfect, I love the brand. It was a dream job.

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Click HERE to visit the TravisMathew x Hobrecht collaboration online and for more information on Dave and his gallery, be sure to visit www.hobrecht.com.

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