Phoebe Hoban knows creativity intimately. The daughter of professional writers and illustrators, the bohemian enclave she grew up in provided a strong foundation for a career profiling iconic creatives. As a journalist, she’s interviewed Woody Allen, David Lynch, and J.D. Salinger; as a biographer, she's excavated the lives of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Alice Neel, and Lucien Freud.
Phoebe began her journalism career in the mid-1980s, reporting on the burgeoning technology industry for Newsweek International before becoming a columnist at New York Magazine. She finds technology to be an art form creative in its own right, and she reported on home computers before anyone knew what they were. Her piece on “The Everything Disc" discussed the first CD-ROM before its release.
In Works of Progress, a recent piece for T Magazine, Phoebe profiled eleven female artists in their 70s, 80s, and 90s who've emerged from obscurity, finally receiving recognition in their twilight years. “If you learn anything, it’s that you don’t give up,” she says of the women and on pursuing creativity, that urge which she defines as the desire to do something more than just exist.
After a 39-year detour in journalism, Phoebe intends to write fiction – her plan all along.
Interviewed by Alexis Cheung