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Artist Inbox: Bill Hoppe

Kyla Becker

The Broadside

Pretend for a moment you are a brilliant artist. Your art has depth, emotion, color, and fluidity and you know that anyone who owned a piece of it would be deeply affected by it. You want to share your art with the
world, but you don’t know what to do, where to start, who to talk to. Then you remember, the college is full of art professors who probably know a friend who knows a friend…

For a handful of art students this story is real life. For others the road might not be so clear or so smooth, and hey, we could all use a little help now and then. Artist and professor at Central Oregon Community College William “Bill” Hoppe shared with the Artist Inbox a wealth of information on just that: what an artist can do to develop and contribute to the
world of art.

Currently, Hoppe is a professor in the Fine Arts and Communications Department at COCC and teaches Painting and Basic Design. Formerly of Manhattan, New York, Hoppe set up shop in a studio in SoHo for 10 years. During that time, Hoppe was hired for a commissioned job that placed his paintings in a lobby of one of the World Trade Centers. Advice from an artist who has achieved such success can truly be considered invaluable.

Professor Hoppe’s number one piece of advice to the student artist could be summed up in three words: ‘Pay your dues.’ Doing the leg work of getting involved in the community, devoting time to the studio, and steadily gaining experience are ways for any artist to grow and develop.

“Nobody is going to knock on your door and say ‘Now you get to be an
artist,’” claims Hoppe. “So live life and get experience, and in getting that experience, figure out what are the forms that you can use to express yourself in your art.”

Whether that expression comes in the form of colors and shapes, imagery, or abstraction, Hoppe’s point is to find your voice and tell your story.

“You have to find out what your

vocabulary is and then start getting it to talk,” says Hoppe. “…and as soon as it starts talking,  people will listen. People will pay attention to it.” According to Hoppe, the key is to get your work out.

“It’s not really finished until someone sees it…” states Hoppe. “It’s about communicating, if no one ever sees [the art], it never really lives. You’ve got to get it out there – the shops are always looking, and shops are better than nothing.” Hoppe also expressed his dismay over the fact that Bend has no art center to speak of. This might suggest that were there one, perhaps local artists would have a better platform to show their work and get it out into the community.

You may contact Kyla Becker at kyla.becker@hotmail.com

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