I am proud to shine the spotlight on an old friend (we went to preschool together). A native of Mount Airy, NC, emerging artist Steven Hopkins hits the Winston-Salem arts scene at full force with his self-titled show at Community Arts Cafe, . His show will run for the month of June. Below are just a few paintings from the show followed by our conversation.
"WS52" Acrylic 48"x22"
Artist Steven Jadwin Hopkins with his "Red Tower" a view in the Arts District of Downtown Winston-Salem. Acrylic 24" x32"
I adore this haunting lady surrounded in rich patina.
"Rainy Night" in oil 31" x48"
One of a pair, "What?" follows "Hey!" Acrylic 8"x14"
"Walking Josie" 30"x48" acrylic
Hopkins didn't leave out young artists.
He provided coloring pages of his original drawings for the kids.
This one by Carmen was outstanding!
Q. Kristi: Where are you from and where have you lived?
A. Steven: From Mount Airy. I have lived in San Antonio, Texas; Madrid, Spain (Base Aeria De Torrejon); Boone/Trade, TN; Pilot Mountain, NC; Winston-Salem, NC; King, NC; and now I'm back to Mount Airy.
Q. K: Did you study art?
A. S: Yes, First in Spain with Beryl Kranz. She was a fun lively passionate artist and teacher. I can still remember almost every word she said; then at Appalachian State University (where I actually started to be a music major).
Q. K: Why are you an artist and when did you realize you had become one?
A. S: I decided to be an artist at the age of eleven. I started to seriously teach myself at that time by reading as many "How To" books I could find. At first I only knew how to paint like Bob Ross. He was the only art teacher in my "neighborhood". That got boring after a few months and I sold those pieces when I was thirteen.
I am still an artist because there is stuff inside of me and I need to see what it looks like when it's on the outside. I am fascinated by curves and shapes, their relation to each other, what happens when light touches them and the colors they could be. A lot of the non-objective projects start as a free flow movement of my hand across the canvas to create the shapes that happen naturally. For no particular reason, I prefer the light to come from the top right. Sometimes identifiable shapes accidentally happen, which I enjoy realizing in the undefined environment. This all comes from fun and the desire to see the child-like environments that would be interesting to explore and play on. I believe life imitates art and I wish life to be happy. So, I show beauty and creative happiness in my pieces.
My realistic and impressionistic paintings are done as an appreciation of the beauty I see in nature and manmade things in God's and man's light. I am particularly amazed at the architecture of downtown city buildings, and their infinite compositions. I keep a camera with me at all times, because I always see a new angle that I find beautiful.
I guess the the main point is that I look for beauty and find it in many shapes and forms. What I do find interesting is that I get out paints and a canvas and seem to wake up later and it is done. I work hard to create something I am satisfied with and scrutinize every stroke and color, but it doesn't seem like I did it. It seems to come from a dream or sub-conscience. Some paintings take a few hours some take a few years to get right. A lot of them get painted over several times, but I let parts I like from the original show through.
I tend to have a happy outlook on life, but have always struggled in this life. I fit in everywhere and nowhere at the same time. My life has fallen apart several times and once lived alone in the woods for six months after losing my job, then home, car, wife and kids, in one day due to some corporate executive's desire for more money at the end of the quarter. I came out of the woods with enough paintings to fill my own art gallery.
Q. K: What mediums have you worked with, and what is/are your favorite?
A. S: My favorite mediums now are Acrylic and Pen and Ink. I liked working Oils but I didn't like waiting the weeks for them to dry or the chemicals to manipulate them. I eventually learned to move Acrylics in the same way.
Q. K: Who are your role models in the art world?
A. S: I liked De Chirico, Laslo Maholy-Nagy, and the Flemish painters. I generally tend not to be up on what is going on in the art world. In the same way as seeing live music. I can't wait to get back home and paint or write more songs.
Q. K: Where do you get your inspiration from for your paintings?
A. S: Everywhere. Everything has an interesting angle, some you just have to look for harder.
Q. K: Do you do other work to supplement your art income?
A. S: I repair antique clocks and recently started a gunsmith business called Blackbird Arms. I am able to easily see why a mechanical thing doesn't work. I have worked as a Graphic designer for eleven years, but now the market seems to be flooded with them, without the demand.
Q. K: What other hobbies and loves are you passionate about?
A. S: Love, Disc golf, .22 target shooting, Song Writing, Music Performance, Cinema, Photography, Fixing Things, My Kids, Yo-Yos, ... in no particular order. Other interests are Astronomy, Philosophy, Theology, and Science and how they are intertwined and actually support each other.
Q. K: Where is your art currently and/or soon to be showing?
A. S: Currently, have pieces at Scarlet Begonias and Talley's Picture Shop, both in Mount Airy, NC. I have three paintings in Community Arts Cafe and am planning a large show of my work the first week of June, 2011.
Q. K: What advice would you give to artists just starting out?
A. S: Don't overthink it. Learn to find the beauty and learn to love. If it doesn't look like you planned, then it is your "style." Enjoy the mistakes and imperfections. Thats the good stuff.
Q. K:Would you like to share a story about your passion?
A. S: I remember when I first learned how to "see". I was eleven, my classmates and I would have drawing contest of Smokey and Bandit's Trans-Am. I kept losing to this one kid and it bugged me. One night I was practicing and set out a Hot Wheels Porsche 911 Carrera to draw. I actually looked at it and was able to recreate the curves that I saw in it. That was my light bulb moment and I have been at it ever since.
"Recording Possum Head in the Living Room" Acrylic 26" x 31"
"Tri ii" Acrylic on Panel 24" x 32"