One of the benefits of street art now entering multiple decades of public approval and recognition is that we are seeing artists be influenced directly by the generations previous. Years ago, street artists were often left to their own devices, unable to properly communicate or share their ideas with a larger group. And the idea of teaching the next generation was almost impossible, especially as the craft being taught was, back then, still seen as something illegal. But with time and acceptance came the opportunity for artists to build off one another generation to generation. One such artist is the relatively young yet influential Hopare.
Born in Limours, France to Portuguese parents, Hopare discovered his love of street art early on when he walked past an abandoned local factory that was covered in graffiti. He started doing his own tags and pieces not long after, around the tender age of 12, but it was a chance meeting with a teacher that turned Hopare from a kid with some spray paint to an artist on the verge of greatness.
That chance meeting was with French street art legend Shaka, who was teaching at Hopare’s junior high school. The meeting proved fruitful as Shaka saw Hopare’s potential and mentored him over the next year, culminating in a show that showcased a young artist of considerable talent still in search of his identity. It was in the years that followed that Hopare began learning from other street artists while working in an interior architecture firm, all of which helped him find his now-distinctive personal blend of abstract and figurative.
The Franco-Portuguese urban artist has made a name for himself not simply because of his beautiful work, but because of his inclusion of many different themes in his work, especially a familiarity with architecture that allows his work to expand beyond the canvas. Hopare’s work often leans heavily on precise geometry, creating the illusion of 3-dimensional work by combining sparse colour and effective shadowing. This precision creates pieces that figuratively pop off the canvas and capture the audience’s attention.
What Hopare’s art proves is that there is a tangible and important benefit to the ongoing celebration and expansion of street art. With the increased recognition, artists have been able to more effectively come together and educate each other. The result is a history that artists can draw upon and contribute to, pushing the medium forward as artists can find themselves through the mentorship of others. This sort of process has long been vital to other creative exploits, from the Beat poets’ writing retreats to formal artistic education. Hopare’s distinctive yet cultivated style proves that artist-to-artist encounters can create beauty and forward-thinking pieces that can push an entire medium forward.