We had the good fortune of connecting with April Hopkins and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi April, where are you from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I am from a small town in central Wisconsin. Growing up, my parents have always been supportive of my art. The Midwest is full of hardworking, salt-of-the Earth people, so I have approached my creative career in a very pragmatic way. I went to an affordable state school and studied Industrial Design. I wanted to make sure that if I was going to be an artist, I would do it in a way that allowed me to have a stable income. Being a product designer first has given me a great set of tools and experience for being a self-employed artist.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a figurative and portrait artist. My chosen media are charcoal and oil painting. I have devoted myself to excellence in draftsmanship and painting. I have a high bar set for myself and others in terms of skill. For figurative artists, the strongest artwork achieves big ideas first and foremost if it is rendered skillfully and beautifully. This only comes with practice and rigorous study. My collectors see my dedication to craft and choose my artwork for that reason. I love to draw figures and faces! Nothing satisfies me more than bringing the beauty of the human form to the page. I love working with different models in the studio. I strive to capture a likeness that is both accurate and expressive. Drawing the figure is incredibly challenging, so if a piece I’m working on turns out okay, I am pleased. I also like to draw children because it is such an honor to capture a memory for a parent. As a mother myself, I know how special it is to see your children through the eyes of an artist or photographer. It’s one way to hold onto those fleeting moments when they are young. The artwork becomes a part of the family history.
I have always had a strong sense of self and followed the path that felt the most “right” to me at the time. I haven’t struggled as some do, and I am grateful for that. The most challenging time has been the past four years because I have a small child. In that way, I chose the worst possible time in my life to make a shift in career focus! (I have very vivid memories of pumping in the bathroom during model breaks at the atelier because my ten-month-old was still nursing.) But, at the same time, few things bring your goals into hyper-focus, quite like having a child. That alone has given me a very “now-or-never” mentality. I want my children to see me thriving as the best version of myself. One of the ways we can be a great parent is by modeling excellence. If they see my dedication—the hours I put into my work—it will help them understand the fulfillment that comes from challenging yourself.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Growing up in a small town, I am so grateful for this city and its art! I am a big fan of the Dallas Museum of Art and the Kimbell in Fort Worth. There are many amazing small galleries, but as someone studying classical art and portraiture, these are the heavy hitters. They each do a great job curating impressive exhibits.
I love coffee (of course), and my favorite coffee shop is Avoca in Fort Worth. I love trying new places but I always come back to Avoca for the amazing roasts. They serve breakfast tacos from Taco Heads in the morning, so that’s a win-win for me!
Pre-pandemic, I loved going to concerts and shows! I have dragged many a friend to various venues around town, like The Granada or the Majestic. There is also a great burlesque scene in Dallas and I love checking that out when I can.
For a special treat, my husband and I love going to Lucia’s in Bishop Arts. It is so charming!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My shoutout goes wholeheartedly to my husband, David Hopkins. He is a writer, so he understands what it is to be a creative person. He is my biggest cheerleader. He encourages me, challenges me, and understands me like no one else. I learn so much from him in every way.
Photography of the artist (both images) courtesy of Carissa Byers