Fritz Hoppe Bronze Exhibit
November 2 – December 29, 2020
Fritz Hoppe’s art career began in the mid 1990’s during early childhood. As the son of full-time artists, he had been exposed to the sculpting process at a very young age. This allowed Fritz to develop his talents into skills while learning techniques and processes necessary for creating high quality pieces. Spending time in the studio taught Fritz the engineering aspects of sculpting, such as using accurate measurements, scaling, and building structurally sound armatures. This knowledge gives Fritz an edge in sculpting because applying skills to the processes allows him to produce any project, no matter how complex or large it may be. Now he has developed some of his own creative techniques in the process of creating bronze sculptures.
In 2012, at age 18, Fritz produced his first bronze piece, the quarter size Rocky Mountain Elk. Although he had previously sculpted many small pieces in clay, Rocky Mountain Elk was the first of his works cast in bronze. Later that year, he went on to produce Bison Hunter, having it cast in bronze at age 19. Then in 2013, he had produced two more sculptures, including Primitive Man (a contemporary work) and his best selling piece, Plains Hunter (a realistic work). Pieces from each of these additions have found their way into people’s homes.
Fritz was invited by the Columbus Arts Council to display all four sculptures in their monthly exhibition in the fall of 2015. A reception was held on October 17th, 2015. He and his high school art teacher, Nancy Shadle, brought the largest crowd to ever attend a monthly Columbus Art’s Council reception with their art works.
Putting thought, words, and emotion into a work of art has been my greatest strength. I was very fortunate to be born with an art talent from a long bloodline of gifted artists, from my mother’s and father’s families. I have been even more fortunate as to have instructors who have taught me how to act upon this talent by building skills in drawing, sculpting, and painting. They have assisted me in developing a strength in art making, something I will forever be grateful for. Studying art from the Renaissance to the Western art of America has given me additional skill and knowledge in the field. Putting everything together, old and new, has led to a well-rounded ability to create in different style and mediums.
Constructing the perfect piece is not just about size, space, or color; it involves bringing a vision into reality. Proportions, values, and anatomy may be accurate, but if the result is not what I envisioned, the piece will lack the life I wanted to give it. My best works have been the result of an idea developed within seconds of an inspiration. I may add to a piece or slightly alter it, but changing it altogether never seems to work well, regardless of the medium. In my opinion, my best work to this day, the Plains Hunter, was an impulsive idea. It occurred unexpectedly, at a time when I was not necessarily looking for any creative inspiration.
Envisioning the Plains Hunter was not the result of tediously sifting through sketches or brainstorming ideas, but rather a spontaneous inspiration I experienced while walking through a dark museum. The dim lights revealed a massive mural painted on the wall. It was a sunset scene depicting the silhouette of a Native American man, standing in contrapposto gazing out at the land. Flocks of geese covered a sunset sky as his shadowed figure stood beneath them. His familiar landscape was a riverside marsh, like the one near my home in Nebraska. I immediately saw an opportunity in emulating this man’s silhouette. What was only a shape was sculpted into a physical form. My high school art instructor, Nancy Shadle, stopped by after completion of this piece. She peered into the hunter’s eyes, and gave me a nice compliment by saying, “You captured his soul.”
Passion for history, culture, and nature is what drives my artwork. Hiking across a North American Landscape allows one to imagine who else might have crossed it. The people and animals of an older time may be gone, but their presence and culture lives in the land and in our history. Awareness is the key to preserving what the earth and its inhabitants provide. It is crucial that mankind learn from the past in order to give hope for the future.
Combining my knowledge of history with inspiration from the countryside allows me to develop a connection between myself and that artwork I create. Michelangelo, Russell, and Remington are among the many great storytelling artists one can learn from. Analyzing works of the old masters, the western artists of America, or even a modern sculptor near my home reveals there is an important story to be told, in which words alone cannot describe.