By Kathy Eaton
Photos by John Butenschoen
Hobbs Waters admits to being nervous when he first steps out on the stage to dance, but once he starts performing, he enjoys the freedom of communicating with his body.
This ten-year-old works hard to achieve his ambition of becoming a professional dancer. In addition to attending Trillium Charter School, he takes private dance lessons at Rose City Ballet, 125 N.E. Killingsworth, and studies ballet at Classical Ballet Academy, 7970 S.E. Milwaukie Ave. In December, he performed the role of the Rat King in the children’s Nutcracker at Portland State University, describing the character as “menacing and crucial.” He’ll dance the Beast role in “Beauty and the Beast” in May (for more information: see classicalballet.net.) Waters was recently accepted to the Bolshoi Ballet Academy’s summer intensive in New York City for six weeks beginning in June.
In addition to ballet, Waters also performs contemporary dance and hip hop. Although dance is his professional goal, he also enjoys creating art.
Pen and ink artist
Waters said he began scribbling around age two, but later had the opportunity to study art at the Museum of Art in New Orleans where he and his mom, visual artist A.J. McCreary, lived from 2013-15. His dream was to travel the world and be home-schooled, “but it didn’t work out” and they returned to Portland, where his work has since been featured in two shows.
Waters’ first show was a collaboration with Cole Reed, who owns greenHAUS Gallery + Boutique at 18 N. Killingsworth St. His pen and ink animal illustrations complemented Reed’s nature-themed show, “Rooted: New Developments.”
Reed, an artist and designer for the past 20 years, invited “Mr. Hobbs” to join her exhibit when she saw his work posted to Instagram. “Rooted: New Developments” became a metaphor not only for her nature-themed work on reclaimed materials, but also for the importance of nurturing and supporting young artists. All future art shows at the gallery will have an adolescent component.
Reed was impressed by the young man’s authenticity – his poise, grace and experience. “There’s a legion of people behind ‘Mr. Hobbs’ to help him succeed,” said Reed, adding, “He’s part of a new root system in our community.” She and her wife Dayna consider “Mr. Hobbs” a role model for their own child, Phoenix, whether he chooses to pursue science or creative arts. For more information: See greenhausgallery.com or call 503-999-7769.
Last fall, Waters approached Brook Ramirez, owner of Madrona Hill Cafe, 5937 N. Greeley Ave., about displaying his artwork on the walls of her coffee shop. Ramirez rotates local artists’ work every two months, and she was excited to display Waters’ illustrations. “Wild Varieties,” a collection of pen and ink drawings of animals, showcased his talent in art reflecting elegance and the artist’s whimsy. In addition to funding his dance education, Waters also allocated ten per cent of sales to the World Wildlife Fund to save his favorite animal, the tiger.
With his mom’s help, Waters has launched a new enterprise – screen printing t-shirts and notecards with his designs (for more information, see citytroll.com).
As busy as Hobbs-the-Artist is, he still has to be in bed by 8 p.m. every night.