Atlanta interior designer Tim Hobby’s tips for exploring Miami’s famed winter art fairs

Art + warm weather = a perfect December vacay

Artful Miami Tim Hobby

Illustration by Sam Green

Interior designer Tim Hobby of Hobby Astrop Modern is known for his cutting-edge eye. As co-owner of ADAC’s sleek Minotti showroom with Jennifer Astrop, he seeks inspiration and discovers new artists on his annual sojourns to Miami’s art fairs, which draw hundreds of galleries and nearly 80,000 visitors each December to Art Basel, Context, Pulse, Design Miami, and Scope. Now a disciple of the fairs for more than a decade, Hobby shares what’s on his radar this year—and where the stylish set unwinds.

What draws you back to Miami each year?
I think it’s to be a part of the conversation. I love to see artists’ progression, and there are always new artists emerging. I think it’s just part of being in the design industry; you want to eat up art just like you do furniture and objects and everything else.

What have some of your favorite discoveries been?
I’ve been following Massimo Vitali’s career. Ten or 15 years ago, you could’ve picked up a photograph of his for $5,000 to $6,000. Today, his pieces are being auctioned off for more than $30,000. My partner and I came really close to buying a piece by Spanish artist Rafa Macarron at Context—and then the next year, his prices had almost doubled!

What’s a memorable piece you’ve brought back for yourself or a client?
A Lalla Essaydi piece. Her work is photography-based, and it’s bold and provocative and has remained relevant through her entire career. I was instantly drawn to her work years ago at Basel and took photos so I would remember it. Later that visit, my client met me and purchased it. I hope to have a piece of my own one day!

Are there any specific galleries or artists you’re excited to check out?
There are booths I go back to every year: Galeria Cuadrada, Andreas Binder Gallery, Galerie Krinzinger of Austria, and Cube Gallery, where I’m going to see Peter Monaghan. He’s a mixed-media, sort of geometric artist whose work is really cool, very modern. I’m very much looking forward to seeing Atlanta-based Joseph Guay’s solo exhibition at Pulse.

Where do you like to eat and drink and hang out?
I love Juvia. It’s a lovely rooftop restaurant with great views of Miami, delicious ceviches, and always a good scene. Miami weather is usually wonderful in December, and La Cote is oceanside, where you can sit with a caipirinha or a smoky margarita. And then of course there’s Nobu: If you’re into sushi, it’s hard to beat. The new Nobu Hotel is pretty special.

Artful Miami
Danie Gomez-Ortigoza on Love is No Game by Bernadette Despujols at Aqua Art Miami

Photograph by Art Miami LLC

Are there any evening events you wouldn’t miss?
A great experience is Aqua Art Miami on South Beach. They take a midcentury hotel and turn each room into a pop-up art gallery for a particular artist. You meander in and out of all the hotel rooms. It’s designed for more emerging artists, so, really great price points. The courtyard is full of places to get drinks, usually a live band—it’s just great energy.

What about shopping?
The design district is such a cool intersection of furniture, fashion, and galleries, and I always try to make time to walk around there. Nisi B Home curates a beautiful collection of vendors, as well as vintage items. For fashion, I love Dior Homme and Maison Margiela. It’s great to shop these stores without having to go to New York.

What would you tell a first-time Art Basel attendee?
A lot of people just go to the convention center, and they think that’s it. It’s full of blue-chip art: It’s beautiful to see but more like being in a museum. At Art Miami or Context, there are tons of galleries from all over the world. There’s such a variety of prices; you can see a piece of art for $3,000, and you can see a piece for $300,000—or more.

This article appears in our Winter 2018 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.