The talented artist is using his story to inspire others
Angelo Hopson had been creating engaging works of art for as long as he could remember, with his subjects often radiating with stories of joy, pain and redemption in everyday life. When talking to the mother of his child about pulling together a hundred dollars to unite with his beloved daughter however, an emotional Hopson was unable to contribute. He is, like so many others like him, a “Struggling artist,” one who’s cerebral talent in the arts does not always translate into a surplus of funds. “I haven’t had a consistent job since July of last year and I have been unemployed the last four months,” He says. “So I’ve been creating art almost non stop, pushing it online, signing up for art shows, networking etc. I’m just at the point now where it seems like it’s hopeless.” Hopson’s lack of financial support and options has brought him almost to the brink of desperation, but it hasn’t stopped him from creating, grinding and giving back to others in his community. His story is the story of so many creatives out there. Hopson knows this, and is hoping that it can reach the right people and help bring the change he wishes to see.
“I’m just at the point now where it seems like it’s hopeless.”
Hopson’s first memory is him creating at the tender age of two years old. At seven, he realized that art was more of a gift than a simple hobby for him when he won his first art competition and was later placed in the Talented Arts Program funded by the Louisiana Board of Education for talented youth. In 2005, his life would change forever though as mass misplacement, hysteria and deaths destroyed Louisiana in the form of Hurricane Katrina. “I couldn’t focus on Art School or anything else,” He recalls. Stricken with grief and PTSD, he would eventually move to California with his mother, where he would encounter new obstacles, as he describes his San Bernardino neighborhood as one of the worst in all of the US.
“To be honest I get the urge all the time to work a 9-5, I’ve worked 9-5’s my whole adult life.”
Hopson has channeled all of his past experiences into his art and seen his work featured in various platforms, including Harvard University’s Transition Magazine. His favorite part about what he does though, has nothing to do with individual accolades. “The most rewarding aspect of art is the ability to give back and to make a difference in the lives of people,” He says. “I taught free art classes for children ages five to nineteen.” Giving back is in his nature and for his 30th birthday, he decided to raise money and give out over 100 plates of food to the homeless. He’s also organized movements such as “Dress 4UR Future”, in which he provided dress clothes to those who otherwise couldn’t afford it, as well as a Stop The Violence rally in his city.
“The most rewarding aspect of art is the ability to give back.”
Being under funded as an artist and having such an ambitious mind often gives Hopson the urge to dive back into the work world. The push and pull of his art and his finances is something he is well aware of, and faces everyday. “To be honest I get the urge all the time to work a 9-5, I’ve worked 9-5’s my whole adult life,” He says. “Art is all I have. Even when I don’t have a paycheck, when I’m struggling to pay bills, when life becomes too overbearing, I have art. Art has always been the most consistent thing in my life. And so I look at art as a good woman. I’d be a fool to leave a consistent woman so likewise I’d be a fool to leave art.”
“I look at art as a good woman. I’d be a fool to leave a consistent woman.”
Hopson still has hopes to hit it big as an artist, and dreams of one day purchasing galleries and hosting showcases to give fellow artist more exposure. He also plans to start a non profit organization for inner city youth, using his own story as an example to be an individual, rather than the product of a tough environment. Despite the daily struggle of trying to align creativity with commerce, he remains optimistic for whats to come, and is hopeful that his story will remind others that they are not in this alone. “It needs to be told because I am a single representation of what thousands, millions of talented young brothers and sisters are going through,” He says. “We are prisoners of experience.” Despite that mental prison that Hopson believes creatives and inner city youths are placed in, he works dillegntly to find ways to freedom. And when he comes across it, expect him to take his community, and his culture with him.