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Check out Angelo Hopson’s Artwork

Today we’d like to introduce you to Angelo Hopson.

Angelo, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I have been creating art since the age of two years old. From the moment my Mother first saw me pick up a pen, she knew that I would be an artist. By the age of five, I started to get really good. I won my first art competition at the age of six and by seven I was enrolled in the TAP Program (Talented Arts Program). As time went on and I began to develop my own style, I knew art would always be my passion.

In Summer of 2006, a year after Katrina, I came to visit my Mother in Long Beach and decided to stay. Even though I loved my hometown of Slidell, Louisiana I knew California would be a better place for a fine artist to get their work out. Since then I have won Best of Show at the Long Beach Artwalk twice in a row, my art has been published in three different magazines, one of which is “Transition” Magazine – Issue 115, A magazine created by Harvard University. I have also had my work displayed at the Hellada Art Gallery, and my latest piece “Kleopatra” is currently on exhibit at the RCAA Gallery in Riverside, California.

I’ve also taught free art classes for the youth at the Sankofa Community center. Art is my passion but making a difference through art is an even bigger passion. Every day I hope and pray that it will be the day that I get discovered so that I can start my own art organization for underprivileged inner-city youth across America. I want to give young artists opportunities that I never had growing up poor and downtrodden.

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
My art reflects real life, real people, in a real world full of joy, pain and mass misconceptions. My style is portrait art. My pieces became more Afrocentric in nature about six years ago when I started studying African history and culture. Growing up I never saw any positive images of Africa and neither was I surrounded by people who appreciated the rich history of the people who lived there or the history of the inhabitants.

So the knowledge I gained independently changed a negative view of Africa into a positive perception of Africa, a new reality. So my goal is to instill pride in the next generation by using artistic imagery of men, women and children from the continent.

Many of Black people, especially the youth, are suffering from a low self-esteem due to a lack of cultural knowledge that was not acquired at home or at school. This dynamic can change through art. I want people to see my portraits, whether Black or White and feel empowered through visual stimuli. I want our children to see my portraits and see the beauty in having a big nose, full lips, dark skin and kinky hair.

Have things improved for artists? What should cities do to empower artists?
The conditions for artists today are the same conditions for artists yesterday, a decade ago or a century ago. The reason why so many artists are starving is because artists are surrounded by people with no taste. The only advantage I see being a fine artist of today versus fine artists of antiquity is social media. It’s easier to get your work out. However, this is the digital age so people are straying from fine art.

So to be an artist in this age is a gift and a curse. Moving forward, what cities can do is create more arts programs and opportunities for gifted children instead of pushing athletics 24/7 to students. Everybody can’t run track, dunk a basketball or throw a pigskin fifty yards but every child can be creative. However that creativity must be extracted, the imagination must be stimulated. Throughout California every year less money is going towards arts programs.

And this effects impoverished communities more than suburban areas because children are more likely to end up in the penal system. This is why my goal is to start a non-profit organization for the youth that can steer them away from societal ills that plague Black and Brown communities.

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
People can see my art on Instagram or on my blog site and they can support my work by buying prints or originals.

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Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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