Earlier this month, artist Rue Gobbée was selected as the 2022 winner of the Student Creative Artist Award Scholarship by Sonoma’s Cultural and Fine Arts Commission. Her accomplishment was honored with a reception at the Arts Guild of Sonoma on Aug. 6, where her work is currently displayed.
Gobbée moved to Somona from Brooklyn, New York, a month and a half into her sophomore year after her dad, Martin Gobbée, took the general manager position at Taub Family Outpost on the Plaza. She also works there, as a hostess.
The diversity and bustle of Brooklyn was a source of inspiration for Gobbée growing up. She loved the graffiti that painted her neighborhood, and was encouraged to channel that into her own art at home.
When Gobbée was young, her mother Heather Gobbée collected recyclable materials, which the two of them used to make their own, new creation.
She was described by herself and others at Sonoma Valley High School as “the artsy kid,” but it wasn’t until quarantine in 2020 that Gobbée began channeling that label toward graphic design.
Using the track pad on her computer, Gobbée sketched out doodles that she normally reserved for the margins of notebook paper. With school taking place online, she was using her computer more than ever before, and the digital medium sparked an interest.
“Almost a year later, I’m now certain this is what I want to do for the rest of my life: create and design with everything from a pencil to the latest technology,” said Gobbée in her artist statement submission for the CFAC.
Even though the award-winner has always had an affinity for making art, she’s also driven to be successful financially. Gobbée feels that graphic design is a perfect combination between business and design.
In December of 2020, Gobbée’s parents got her an iPad for Christmas that allowed to dive deeper into her self-taught design journey.
The SVHS graduate didn’t take her first graphic design class until her senior year. She already knew the basics, but was eager to add more complex concepts into her skillset, which helped her when it came to submitting her portfolio to CFAC.
According to Veronica Napoles, CFAC Chair and a judge for the contest, said that every different art medium is scored against a different rubric. All seven of this year’s applicants submitted visual art, which is judged based on six criteria:
An artistic statement of 250 to 500 words, the originality of ideas, technical mastery of the medium, composition and design, presentation and craftsmanship.
Four of the applicants moved onto the interview interview portion which lasts about 15 minutes where each commissioner asks the artist a different question about their work , or about themselves as artist.
Napoles said the competition was fierce this year, but Gobbée got the call that she won just a few hours after her interview.
As the winner of the Student Creative Artist Award Scholarship, Gobbée received a two thousand dollar scholarship, and a two-week feature in the Arts Guild Gallery in downtown Sonoma.
Gobbée was stressed but excited about the show with it being the first time her work would be featured in a gallery, but the reaction from the city of Sonoma has made the experience all the more special for the Brooklyn native.
Even as she walked into Peet’s Coffee for her interview with the Sonoma Index-Tribune, she was stopped and congratulated by the mom of one of her friends. Multiple people around town have expressed interest in commissioning her to do projects before she leaves for school.
Gobbée will be attending Cal Poly in the fall and is majoring in graphic communications.
“I get excited when I learn something new or do something different,” said Gobbée. One of her goals as graphic designer is for her art to evolve with technology.
One piece of advice she’d give to young artist who are starting to experiment with new techniques is to not be afraid to ask questions.
Gobbée knows there’s so much left for her to learn, and the money from the scholarship with go toward helping advance her knowledge around the medium she loves.
Her work will be on display in Sonoma’s Art Guild, 140 E. Napa St., until Aug. 14.
Contact the reporter Rebecca Wolff at [email protected]