• Sue Hoppe

    Sue Hoppe
    • Artist Statement
      • I love expressing my reaction to what I see around me in bold loose brushstrokes and vibrant colours, sometimes abstract, sometimes not! My themes and the way I express them vary widely, but I am preoccupied with the plight of women and children in Africa, and a love for architecture and nature also feature often. I used to work mainly in oils, but also use photography and collage to express ideas. The latest series of work uses encaustic. The melted wax brings a wonderful dimension of transparency and texture to the work.
    • Interview
      • Which new trends or South African artists do you find inspiring at the moment?
        I love Sam Nhlengetwa and Dolla Sapeta’s work. I’m also delighted that some galleries are moving away from only representing “South African Masters” and actively work with fresh new talent. I have been quite closely associated with the Eastern Cape art world as past chair of the community art centre, and am so excited by the quality of work coming out of NMMU art school. It seems to me the boundaries between disciplines are blurring, so graphic design, photography, fine art, illustration, graffitti etc are often integrating and adding a rich new dimension to the art scene. (If I can also mention the trend I LEAST admire, it is Art Speak, the trend of producing artist statements using endless verbosity and convoluted reasoning to justify an idea or artwork. I always wonder why, if the work is good enough to speak for itself, the artist/gallery feels the need to hide behind long obscure statements about it, when a simple description of what inspired and informed the work would be so much more useful.)

        Which South African deceased artist do you most admire and why?
        June Males. I was privileged to be her god-daughter, so despite her reclusive nature, I got to see her new work throughout my life. As she was so sought after overseas, her work was seldom seen here. It went into private collections, mostly in Canada, as it was completed. She worked hard and consistently, well into her eighties, making big woodcarvings that belied her elegant appearance, as well as bronzes. I also like Walter Battiss, and admire his diversity of expression while keeping a unique voice.

        Which exhibition that you have visited made the greatest impact on you and why?
        When I was 14, we went to Spain to visit my grandfather in Mallorca for his birthday, and en route went to El Prado in Madrid. Until then I had only a passing interest in art. The works of Goya just blew me away. I was enraptured and touched by them, and eventually had to be dragged away reluctantly. The power of those paintings made me realize the impact that a visual image can have.

        Where do you get your inspiration for your work?
        I guess in terms of style it is related to personality, I am a larger than life colourful person who can’t stand nit-picking, so this reflects in my work. In terms of subject matter, it is about what I am passionate about… so I cover subjects as diverse as urban decay, the plight of women and children in Africa, and also since I adore travel, especially in wide open spaces, that also features often. I am endlessly captivated by serendipity, that happy occurrence which turns out better than you could ever plan, so dripping turps and transparent layers excite me, I let the process guide the outcome.

        Do you have any rituals or habits involving your art-making that you can tell us about?
        Strangely, although I am a hideously untidy magpie. I have to start a new body of work with a clean and tidy studio. As I progress, it all falls apart again and by the end of a work cycle it is scary, but it must start out orderly. I tend to work in cycles of huge output, one work following another in quick succession and flowing from each other, and then I need to recharge. I never worry about the idle periods because I have learned that all the time, the inspiration for the next work frenzy is building, and when the time is right, out it all comes again.

        What do you like most about being an artist?
        The privilege of being able to freely express the things I am passionate about in a way that can touch the lives of others.

        How do you handle bad days when you experience artist's block?

        I never worry about them because I know it will pass, I just use those days to do admin, or write, or go and take photos. I find it is a waste of time painting on those days as the work reflects the tightness and struggle, so I would rather set the work aside until I know where I need to go with it.

        What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
        Well, if the question  is in terms of fame and fortune, I guess selling a painting to the World Bank for publication on the cover of their World Report was a highlight, but for me it is more about the daily triumphs of trying to make each work better than the one before it. I think the time someone was moved to tears by one of my paintings at an opening was very rewarding.

        Do you feel that you want to make a difference to the world or in people's lives? If yes, how?

        Absolutely, even when I am starting off doing “just a pretty picture’ it almost invariably ends up carrying some sort of message. If my art can make people question issues like how old buildings are left to rot, or how women and children are treated, then I feel I have succeeded.

  • Life Is The Blues - Mixed Media by Sue Hoppe SUE HOPPE
    Life Is The Blues
    Mixed Media / 25 x 25 cm
  • Still Waiting For Change - Mixed Media by Sue Hoppe SUE HOPPE
    Still Waiting For Change
    Mixed Media / 25 x 25 cm
  • Thorny Future III - Mixed Media by Sue Hoppe SUE HOPPE
    Thorny Future III
    Mixed Media / 25 x 25 cm
  • All That Jazz VII - Mixed Media by Sue Hoppe SUE HOPPE
    All That Jazz VII
    Mixed Media / 25 x 25 cm
  • All That Jazz V - Mixed Media by Sue Hoppe SUE HOPPE
    All That Jazz V
    Mixed Media / 25 x 25 cm
  • Land Ownership - Mixed Media by Sue Hoppe SUE HOPPE
    Land Ownership
    Mixed Media / 25 x 25 cm
  • Bo-Kaap II - Mixed Media by Sue Hoppe SUE HOPPE
    Bo-Kaap II
    Mixed Media / 25 x 25 cm