Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Greatness: Chad Hopper

Chad Hopper is a Dallas native whose free mixed media art has been found on refrigerators and in odd places from here to Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Mr. Hopper sat down for some hard-hitting art questions with DL and RH for this week's Greatness.

Defensive Listening: A lot of your work in the late 90's, or around early 2000 made a lot of reference to the 80's in a way that has become much more prevalent now. Songs with choruses like "...With 'Night Court Bedsheets'/With 'Night Court Bedsheets'." At the time, referencing June Cleaver's career revival in Muppet Babies and other Reagan Era imagery was not nearly as common. Has the increased use of 80's culture in art and music changed the way you feel about your use of it? You were pretty ahead of the curve on that one.

Chad Hopper: The increased use of 80's culture has not had much effect on my work except for the silent alarm that goes off in my head when I may be toying with a particular 80's image that has been too "exposed" or is old hat, as they used to say. There are several filters out there (especially TV shows like Family Guy) that help me gauge and separate the ultra hip 80's lore from the rest. A majority of the new writers for TV grew up in the same TV brain rage that I did and they regurgitate in a different way (mostly quick and zany references). I rarely use an iconic image for shock value; most of my work is laid out in riddle form and these commercial symbols that were shoved into my head when I was younger had to find their way out somehow.

DL: You once had a collage of the Dallas skyline with the words (paraphrasing) "Kingdom Of Nowhere" placed on the image. How sarcastic was that piece, and more importantly, is it for sale?

CH: I'd say on the sarcastic meter it would register a 6 (with 10 being the highest or most sarcastic). Dallas is huge, I mean really large so it seems that it would be nearly impossible to be there and feel like it is nowhere (because it has everything). But there is a sense of loneliness that goes with it. That piece was distributed through free treats many moons ago... I wonder where it is now? I wonder if it is hanging up somewhere in Dallas?

DL: You subscribed to a "Free Art" philosophy and I used to see your piles of artwork and cassettes at Bill's Records or little house-held exhibitions, laying on a counter or table, and up-for-grabs. When I saw your work at And/Or Gallery it was priced, as would be expected. I was really inspired by the giving away of your work, and I in no way fault you for eventually selling it, as it was often meticulous and profound. At what point did you start to sell your work, and what changed about your philosophy, if it changed at all?

CH: I started selling my work via Science Bear Arcade which is a mobile craft unit I established in 2003 (it started out as a gallery in my closet which I opened to the public) after weeks of unemployment. That got me used to the idea of fair pricing but still today I mainly rely on donations. I average about 2 shows a year now and am fine with that... I keep my prices so low that many galleries wouldn't even consider showing my work. I still tend to concentrate on smaller gigs and group shows... there is something enriching to me about maintaining the balance of remaining under the radar and exposing my creations to a certain audience.

Richardson Heights: Use a character or theme from Who's The Boss as a metaphor to describe your work.

I would compare my body of work to Mona
sassy, smart, and on the loose
or perhaps maybe Samantha
seductive, nurturing, and competitive
tough choice

RH: Instincto Records of Austin is going to release a collection of your recordings from the early 2000's... can you tell us a little about your original recording process (way back)?

CH: Yes, 'tis true, there will finally be a Sleuth Science CD. Actually, some of the recording go as far back as 1993 when Paul [Slocum] and I were using multiple tape decks, samplers, guitars with 2 strings...a lot of the recordings are a blur to me now because of all the LSD I was experimenting with at the time. However, starting in the late 90's, we had a more traditional way of recording. I see some of our earlier methods shine through when I see Paul (Treewave) play live. For my solo projects I am still a four track lo-fi rascal.

RH: You're in a large supermarket. You pause for a moment and look down an aisle. Which aisle is it, and how does it relate to the art you make in your studio?

CH: I invest in craft supplies at the market but the aisle I am always most curious about is the aisle with mousetraps and sports soda. A large portion of my World Salad comics have been inspired by trips to the grocery. You can meet some real freaks there and then go home feeling better about yourself and where you are in your life.

RH: Suppose McDonald's approached you and wanted your work for their next big advertising campaign. Would you do it? Why or why not?

CH: It is tempting to think of the possibilities but we both know that they would never accept something I was happy with... but in a parallel universe who knows???

And/Or Gallery will be hosting another show of Hopper's work some time in early 2009. His work and writings can be found at Image courtesy of Chad Hopper.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

is this the same as PALFLOAT?

3:04 PM  
Anonymous richardson heights said...


3:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

more like lameness

4:15 PM  
Anonymous Liles said...

I've got a great interview about Chad Hopper with Bill from Bill's Records that didn't make it to the final edit of "The Last Record Store".

You can see clips of it here:

4:16 PM  
Anonymous Liles said...

One of the clips on the "TLRS" page is titled "Outsider Artist".

I think there might be a couple of other clips on my other YouTube page:

4:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice questions from DL on this one.

4:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

best one yet!

5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have this guy's artwork up in every room of my house. it's really cute.

5:38 PM  
Anonymous zzzzzz(eisklrrro) <<***666**>>>>> said...

zomg LSDDD guiseee

yya want sum lysergik aCid diethylamide guys??????

7:22 PM  
Anonymous foodie said...

About a month ago I went to the Palfloat site and listened to mp3s and stuff, and it said he had CDs available, so I emailed him that I wanted one. And he sent me this big envelope with a cool CD and funny World Salad book, and a photograph of a monkey, a '90 Fleer basketball trading card of Steve Kerr, a book like Where's Waldo called "Have You Seen Mitch?", a little clay Creepture named Gilbert, photographs with poetry typed on the back, and more. I sent him a nice postcard in return. I keep the stuff he sent me on my desk.

9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


11:46 AM  
Anonymous mudd said...

i'm addicted to him. i have 12 pieces.

12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ Exploding House
Kegger/Benifit to help us make some money and replace some speakers we blew that were being borrowed from 1919.
Come throw down a few bucks and get wasted and enjoy a big fire and make thanksgiving memories to cherish for eternity.
711 Page Ave Ft. Worth

3:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

round round get around, i get around.

yeah,get around ooo-ooooo-ooo i get around.

9:39 PM  
Anonymous fuck chad hopper said...

we want chad warden

10:41 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home