Willow canvas paint oil paint, acrylic paint Winner of the 2019 open call 2019
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Born in Winchester, Hooper studied at the prestigious Westgate School where he enjoyed what he describes as an “art phase”. While his creative flair would remain throughout his education, a career in the arts failed to materialise and instead he went into construction at the age of 16.
As a qualified carpenter, Hooper’s job allowed him to travel, working on building sites around Europe. It was during this time that he nurtured the skills and knowledge that would later help to create his unique art pieces.
During his spare time, Hooper would use leftover paint and remnants from construction sites as his canvas, marking the origin of his signature style painting on wood. His work was noticed by The Discerner magazine, which led to Hooper becoming a featured Saatchi artist—a process which normally takes much longer, and tends to be reserved for more established artists.
However, since making a name for himself as an artist, Hooper has taught himself how to paint on traditional canvas. He described the transition as challenging, but the move was vital for the progression of his career as many collectors were uncomfortable buying art on unorthodox materials, such as wood.
Drawing inspiration from the world surrounding him, Hooper mainly focuses on nature and movement, such as birds in flight or marine creatures in water. With an aim to make people think about their surroundings, Hooper notes most people are alienated by phones and busy lives, however can still be transfixed by nature shows, such as David Attenborough documentaries. “We’re on Planet Earth and nature is all around us, we just don’t see it,” he explains.
When creating his artwork, Hooper calls upon techniques from his construction background. By initially painting in blocks, he is able to slowly build layers up to add movement to the finished product. The end result, and the reaction from his audience, is what drives him to continue creating art.
Because of his background, Hooper admits he gets messages from people from all walks of life. Thriving from the buzz of selling his one-off art pieces to the public, he admits he finds it important to “take the snobbery” away from art, and tries to make it accessible to a more broad audience.
Hooper continues to work on canvas, but occasionally returns to his roots working with timber, and remains dedicated to creating one-off powerful pieces with soul.